Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

What Is Something You Wrote About That You Never Thought You Would?

(Some of this post originally appeared on WOW! Women On Writing in September 2017)

I know everyone who reads this blog is not a writer, but you have had to write in your life for college entrance essays, papers for school, journal entries, or exercises for professional development days. So, have you ever found yourself writing about a topic that you never thought you would? If you are a writer, I bet this has definitely happened to you because as we change and grow as a person, our writing also changes and grows.

When I decided to pursue writing as more than just a hobby, I was set on writing fiction for kids. Short stories, poetry, novels, picture books–whatever a kid, who loved fiction, would read, I wanted to write. I was naive and didn’t understand how the writing world worked–that nonfiction sells better. If you want a paycheck as a writer, you might have to write something else than your dream manuscript.

One thing I did right was find a critique group of writers who did not just write for children, who wrote essays, articles, adult novels, romance, horror, and more. I began to dabble in nonfiction and short stories for adults, and guess what? I was having fun! I didn’t give up my dream of writing fiction for kids, and I did publish 3 fiction books for kids and teens; but I also expanded my portfolio and wrote about some subjects and for some publishers that I never thought I would.

I wonder what some of  you have written about that you never thought you would. I’m curious what your story is, how you got where you are today, what you thought at the beginning of your writing career if you are a writer, and how it turned out in the end–and how you feel about your writing. Maybe you wrote about a painful time. Maybe you wrote something funny. Maybe you wrote an editorial for the newspaper, and it received a lot of attention!

For example, I worked as a stringer for The News-Gazette in Champaign, IL, and I had a Sunday book review column for over five years. I never dreamed that I would do either one. I wrote about a 90+ year old garage sale volunteer, a reindeer ranch and a baby reindeer who survived only because she was bottle fed by the owners, and a beaver dam that was backing up a creek in a little bitty town–but there was nothing the people could do because the beavers were protected. I wrote a villanelle about the Trail of Tears, and it was published, as well as a funny romance short story for adults that won first place and $250 in a magazine contest.

And my point? I am a much better writer because of these experiences.

Even my personal blogging has changed over the years. When I first started a blog, it was called “Read These Books and Use Them”, and it was only about children’s books. Now, I am writing about being a single parent, practical parenting, self-esteem, writing inspiration, and more on “Look to the Western Sky.”

So…what have you written about that you never thought you would? 

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6 Comments

  1. Wow! You have an impressive resume, Margo. I do think writing (and reading) different genres stretches the writing muscle. I thought of myself solely as an essayist, but discovered I CAN write fiction. Who knew?

    • Thanks, Pat. I think my resume is so varied because of that first critique group that met at the Rec Plex in St. Peters (of all places) and showed me that I could do more than just write for kids! 🙂

  2. Although I have written a lot of fiction and non-fiction, especially flash pieces, several years ago I picked up copywriting to earn a little extra money. I started like I start most things – taking courses so I’d have some idea of what to do. I’ve learned a lot over the past two years – both learning about and writing for businesses. There are several articles I’ve written that I didn’t think would cross my path, including a comparison of garbage disposals. But the one thing that stands out more than anything else was a review of the top ten paintball masks. I never knew the sport was so popular or that there were so many features to consider when purchasing this single piece of protective equipment.

    • I have found myself doing those exact type of articles and thinking–what? Who knew? And then being proud of my work and excited to learn something new. This is great to hear, Holly! Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Gosh, I could probably write a book about all the stuff I’ve written that I thought I’d never write…web content (five articles about the same topic: Fake Owls) for one, dark humor horror stories and/or poetry for another. But the top of the list would have to be books for the Korean education market. I can honestly say that not once in all my writing days did I have the thought, “You know what I want to do? I want to write non-fiction children’s books for the Korean education market!” 🙂

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