Saturday, July 24, 2010

how I got into writing

People sometimes ask how I got into writing and how long I've been doing it. Here's a short answer. I've been writing since I was eight years old. At school I loved any writing assignments we had, and entered whatever writing competitions I could, also speaking competitions. In university I majored in English and psychology— both relevant fields for a writer. Then I became a teacher and sort of lost the writing thing. Mostly I just wrote lesson plans. But after a couple of years teaching, I realized I'd rather be in publishing. So I moved to Toronto, which is more or less the center of publishing in Canada. While working for a magazine as a "go-for," I applied for jobs with book-publishing companies and eventually got one. What a great job. I was officially an editor but most of what I did was write. I loved it so much, I could hardly believe they would pay me to do it. After eight years with that company, writing and editing, I went freelance. I've been doing freelance editing and writing ever since. Some of my writing has been "to order." Like a company might want a series of children's books on various cities, and would contract me to write them. But some of my writing has been "on spec," i.e., I write what I want and try to get it published. I've had a measure of success along that line, e.g. a middle-grade novel, a picture book, stories and articles for adults. What I haven't tried till recent years is writing novels for adults. It's a challenge and a I love challenges.


  1. Hi Elma - it seems that I have known you forever but did not really have the whole scoop until now. Good for you for having followed your aspirations and becoming a successful writer.

  2. Hi Elma,

    I too have been writing since early childhood. Strange how most writers and wanabe writers start so young, as if it is in their genes. Keep up the novel writing. You are good...only the publishers don't know yet!