I’m a writer, but I didn’t always believe it

My father encouraged me to write when I was in elementary school. He liked to read my writings and gushed over how talented I was. It flattered me to hear my dad praise me like that, but as I got older, I passed his praise off as just him just doing what dads are supposed to do.

In high school, I signed up for the school newspaper. In our first class meeting the teacher assigned us to write about any current event. The 1984 Grammy Awards were that night, so I decided to write about that. As luck would have it, Michael Jackson took home an unprecedented eight Grammys that year. The teacher loved my article and took a few minutes of class time to read it out loud and praise it. I passed it off as him just doing what teachers are supposed to do.

In my first semester of college, I signed up for Journalism 101, the newspaper-staff-in-training class. The journalism professor had a rule that all first-semester journalism students would not write for the school newspaper. She wanted us to learn the basics and to prove ourselves first. So, instead of real news story assignments, she sent us on fluff assignments that would go no further in the publishing process than her desk.

My first fluff assignment was to write about the school’s new alumni association office. She loved my article and, breaking her own rule, put it into the mix to be published in the next edition of the school newspaper. By the end of the semester, I was a regular member of the newspaper staff and was the football beat writer. I passed her praise off as just her doing what college professors are supposed to do and my quick success as luck.

In spite of these positive early experiences, I shied away from writing. I didn’t stick with the high school or college newspapers beyond a term. I still wrote, but mainly for school assignments and for fun.

In 1992, I landed a part-time job as the sports information director at community college in the Los Angeles area, a job that involved a good amount of writing. The athletic director and coaches loved what I wrote, but I passed it off as just what athletic directors and coaches are supposed to do.

In 1997, I became a freelance writer (known as a “stringer” in the biz) for the Los Angeles Times and covered high school and junior college football. The sports editor loved my writing and gave me increasingly important assignments. I passed it off as just him doing what sports editors are supposed to do.

I continued freelancing for the Times until 2001, and even picked up assignments with other newspapers in the Los Angeles area. By then, I figured writing was in my blood and that I needed to continue putting the words in my head on paper (or Word document).

Since 2001, I’ve written articles for several online and print publications, including USA Today, the Deseret News, Meridian Magazine and AXS.com. In 2009, I contributed an essay to a book titled, “Famous Family Nights,” published by Cedar Fort Publishing & Media.

In 2014, I teamed up with Wain Myers to co-author “From Baptist Preacher to Mormon Teacher,” which Cedar Fort will publish on October 13, 2015.

Somewhere along the way, I’ve realized that instead of trying to belittle my God-given writing talent, I need to embrace it. I’m going to stick with writing. I enjoy it and find it to be therapeutic, enlightening and a great way to let my opinions out. Whether anyone will read my therapy, enlightenment or opinions is something that’s out of my control.

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