My senior year of college I took a class called “Professional Writing and the Publishing World.” It was the last class I needed (I’d completed all the required classes) to graduate. I was interested in the subject and thought it would be an easy class.
The professor was incredible. I hung on her every word. She’s earned her living as a writer and decided to quit writing to teach. I thought she was heaven sent.
One day the professor said something that almost mortally wounded my writing ambition. She went around the class and asked each of us whether we were morning people or night people. Each of us shared our preference not knowing why she asked. We soon found out when she said, “Night people are more creative and better writers. Morning people stand little chance of succeeding as writers.”
Huh? What? My heart fell because I had shared how I loved the morning and getting an early start on the day–I was a morning person. And because of that I was doomed?
Since we had writing assignments due in the class, I kept writing. The professor kept giving me harsh critiques. My confidence level inched lower. I couldn’t believe I was going to fail the “easy” class and not graduate.
The last day of class we were to pick up our final graded project. I knew the professor liked to drink tea, so I took her a new cup as a parting gift. She thanked me. After an awkward silence, I asked her if I passed the class. She laughed and said, “Of course you did. Do you know why I was so hard on you?” I replied, No.” She said, as she took my hand, “Because you’re the only one in class I thought could make it as a writer.”
Huh? What? My heart raced because, in spite of my love of morning, I could succeed as a writer! The professor said so!
I hurried home, pulled out my magazine research, and drafted a query letter to Victoria magazine (a Hearst publication). After a few rewrites, I sent it off to New York. A couple of days later the editor called me and told me if I included a particular angle to the article, the assignment was mine.
Huh? What? I sold my very first query letter? I called the professor and she said, “I knew you could do it.”
I went on to sell my first query letter to Woman’s World Weekly, Mpls-St.Paul Magazine (an award-winning magazine), and several more to Victoria.
Who knew a morning writer could do all that?
The point I’m making is be true to yourself. Learn your best writing time and write then, no matter what others tell you. Listen to your writers groups when they critique your writing. Listen to your editors. Listen to your readers. But don’t fall into the trap I did. You can succeed if you write well and are persistent.