The Writing Process

The Writing Process

Becoming a writer takes a great deal of time, effort, focus, energy, and a willingness to fail.  Of course, these attributes are true for every endeavor in which one desires to become successful.

I have been a writer for my entire life.  As a child, I sought to be published in our school’s small newsletter.  My mother still has the two sentence passage I wrote that was printed when I was in the first grade.  It was my first published work!  Throughout my life, I have worked at the craft – earning small accolades over the years: a story printed in a high school literary magazine and a few years later, another story printed in my college’s literary magazine.  People told me I had “talent,” but, if I did, the talent was raw.

Over the years, I have crafted numerous books.  These ranged from a history of the Beatles to a “how to be a better teacher” book.  The educational book was considered for publication many years ago, but it needed a significant level of work and attention that I was unable to invest as an husband and active father of three growing boys.  I was also busy with my profession as a teacher and school administrator and working towards, and eventually receiving, my Doctorate in Education.  Being a published author would have to wait!

Still, I kept writing as a hobby if not a vocation.

When I became a principal, my memos to my staff began becoming longer and longer.  A Weekly Memo that I began publishing for my staff became a place for me to share my thoughts on a plethora of educational subjects.  As teacher interest grew, so did the length of the passages.  I started to become proficient in essay writing.  These essays became the basis for this book – Impossible in an Illusion.

At the same time, I had a novel in my head that was fighting to get out.  I began to invest some of my free time in the novel.  I found that writing in this way came somewhat easily to me.  I thoroughly enjoyed the writing process.  Once the first draft of the novel was complete, I began to try my hand at children’s books – another area where I have a passion.

I, of course, have always been a prolific reader.  I love language.  My reading inspired my writing.  As I wrote more, I read more – one discipline helping the other.  I also searched for ways to build my craft.  I joined an organization for writers and attended conferences and writing craft weekends.  I met some published authors and listened to their advice.  One wonderful author, Rob Skead, gave a great deal of help to me – including sharing the name of an outstanding editor, Britta Eastburg Friesen, with me.  Britta has become my editor.  I cherish her advice, help, kindness, and support.

I have pitched my books to many publishers and literary agents.  I have received great feedback.  Many have also told me the same story – “I like your writing, but I can’t offer you a contract.”  I have learned, many times, what failure feels like.  I faced book rejections for many of my works for many years.

Yet, I kept at it.  I started a blog that has received a great deal of positive feedback.  I submitted my writings to on-line and print publications – and have been published a number of times in those forums.  I began working on other writing projects including a detailed and very unique history of the New York Yankees that has received a good deal of interest.  I recently began writing for a popular New York Yankees blog titled, “It’s About the Money.”

Writing is my hobby.  I love to write.  Yet, I love my profession as the principal of the most wonderful, dynamic, child-centered elementary school in the world.  I also enjoy sharing my passion for education, with a focus on children, by presenting workshops at educational conferences.

The writing process never ends.  I continually improve my craft.  My family and friends who offer critiques help me grow.  My editor, Britta, pushes me a great deal.  I’ll probably never be fully satisfied with my writing, I’ll always feel I can do better, but when I see the smiles in my readers’ eyes, and receive positive feedback from readers, I know I’m making a positive difference one person at a time.

It’s great to be a writer!

by Paul Semendinger

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