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!
Dr. Semendinger has been a passionate child-centered educator for almost 30 years. He first enjoyed a successful career as a middle school history earning numerous awards including “Teacher of the Year” and the prestigious “A+For Kids” grant before moving on to administration. Dr. Semendinger has served as a high school vice principal, a middle school principal, and is currently the principal of the most wonderful elementary school in the whole world!