I need a new drug, one that won’t make me sick. (Huey Lewis and the News)
What a rush it is writing for the Union Sun and Journal, my hometown newspaper. I discovered my love for writing when I was in my late 60s. I got my first opinion published in The Union Sun on January 29th 2016. Previous to that the only place you could find my rants, raves and writing was on Facebook.
I had a long dry spell after that where I didn’t get published anywhere until I found the Lockport Star. This was a weekly print newspaper and I got my first article with them published on the editorial pages on April 2nd 2016. I continued with the Lockport Star getting published regularly with opinions and also became the food columnist with them. I was still getting an occasional piece in the US&J but by then I had been bitten by the writing bug real bad.
On April 12th, I became a writer for The East Niagara Post, an online, independent news website published by Heather Grimmer. I signed a contract with them as their food columnist and could write whatever I wanted from restaurant reviews to recipes. Unfortunately the ENP shut down just a few short weeks after I signed on. I only managed to get 3 reviews published before they closed.
By July 16th, I had been published 25 times when I got picked up by The Sun, another weekly paper out of North Tonawanda, once again as the food columnist. About a week later, after I got one review published, the Sun was closed down by the parent company.
The Star was owned by the same company as the Sun and at first the Star thought they were going to stay open but they didn’t even stay open long enough for them to publish any more of my work. I was starting to see a pattern here.
I got published 6 more times in the US&J and then I got my first piece published in The Niagara Gazette. I was now getting published occasionally in 3 places. The US&J, the Gazette and in the Sunday Lifestyles supplement. Nothing steady mind you but it was exciting nonetheless.
In September, I was published on the Opinion page of The Buffalo News. Another first for me. This was the fortieth time I saw my work in print. I was now appearing in the US&J on a weekly basis. I also had an occasional appearance on the US&J sports pages. I have been published an additional 2 times in the News since then and I picked up a gig as the restaurant reviewer for the “Night and Day” supplement that is in the Union Sun and the Niagara Gazette on Thursdays. I get a review posted there about once a month.
Many of the pieces I write garner comments, many positive and a few negative. I still post in several groups on Facebook and have attracted quite a following, some from as far away as Oregon and Florida. I don’t save these comments, however the hand written letters that are sent to me I keep in a notebook along with all the articles that get published. I feel if someone takes the time to put pen to paper, it deserves to be archived. A piece I wrote on fruitcake last Christmas resulted in 5 of my readers locating some. They all bought the fruitcake they found and gave it to me. I appreciate that immensely. Next time though I will write about not being able to find gold bars.
By the end of 2016 I had been published 67 times. The 100th time I got published was in a blog called “Sweet Buffalo” by a blogger named Kimberly LaRussa.
I have written over 500 opinions, two of these were three word challenges. The first of these was when a friend said “Timing is everything.” I challenged myself to take these three words and write an opinion, when I was done I had written a 750 word piece that was published in November of 2016. The second one was when an acquaintance challenged me to write an article based on the three words “Attitude is everything”. This resulted in a 755 word piece. I have penned over 90 restaurant reviews and have had my work published over 200 times so far.
I was also asked to write an article advocating the passage of a school budget referendum to get an artificial turf installed in the soccer field at the high school. This piece was published in both the Union Sun and the Gazette, by the way, it passed the referendum.
I am now published in six places three print and three online. I am looking for more regular gigs because I still haven’t run out of things to say. Writing is my new drug.