A short time ago we (my dearest friend and I) quietly observed an auspicious anniversary – two full decades since I first exchanged the written word for payment. To say the very least it has truly been an adventure.

Red Lake north of Kingman, Arizona

The never ending quest for that big sale, that opportunity that allows me to quit the day job, has proven to be quite elusive. With each passing day I develop a deeper understanding for the old prospector that just knew if he could climb one more hill, cross one more desert, survive one more long winter, he would find the mother lode.
Long ago I lost count of how many feature articles and newspaper columns have been written. The count for published books is now at six and climbing. Still, the grand prize that is the opportunity to make my living as a writer and photography remains just out of reach.
Every time I allow reality to bring me up short, every time I become discouraged enough to throw in the towel, the faintest glimmer of color is found in the bottom of the pain or a nugget is trapped in the sluice and the passion for the quest is reignited.
The nugget or color has taken many forms over the years; a call from Jay Leno, a publisher offering to cover travel expenses, a prestigious award, a glowing review, a lucrative contract. Still, the mother lode remains hidden amongst the barren canyons and desolate sands.
Dependant on mood I see my efforts to promote the books and skills as selling myself or prostitution. In all honesty I suppose that is the essence of life, trading time and skills for money that buys food, keeps gas in the Jeep, and keeps a roof over the head.
One lesson learned in the past twenty years is that promotion is more than half the battle. Lesson two is the importance of contacts starting with the fella upstairs. Last but not least is the importance of having a sense of humor.
Lesson one is a never ending curve. First, I learned to court the editor. Then, I learned to write. Next, I learned to promote. To that end I discovered a wide array of fascinating things and places such as blogging, how to build a website, and a website for book lovers and authors – Goodreads.
Here is a little something from that website, a plug for the books written.
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Jim Hinckley’s books on Goodreads

The gist of today’s post is this – if you want to become a writer read the subheading on this blog. Then learn to smile, to laugh at yourself, and learn to enjoy adventures be they on the back roads, on Route 66, or in seeking the mother lode.

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