March 09, 2015

Eureka! A Writer! - Shirley S. Tye

Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor…I remember going through the list of trades and wondering what I’d be when I grew up.  I even let my fingers “do the walking” through the yellow pages.  When I graduated from high school, I thought a job, any job, would be fine as long as I earned some money to have my own apartment and a car.  Banking gave me that at the age of nineteen but there was no satisfaction; no happiness; no fulfillment. In my early thirties, I began searching and pondering what I should do with my life.  Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor…

Then in 1986, an advertisement caught my eye.  Take this test, it read, and see if you have the potential to become a writer.  Wow!  A writer!  It sounded romantic and exciting.  Maybe I would become a famous writer.  My books would hit the top of the best seller list world wide.  I’d travel first class everywhere, dodging flashing cameras and fans fighting for my attention.  Naturally I signed up for the test.  After all, I had future fans waiting. I scored well on the test.  Apparently I showed some promise. Whether I actually did show talent or not, I did learn much from the correspondence writing course through the Institute of Children’s Literature.  It was my beginning to the world of writing.  I’m glad I enrolled.

I continued learning by taking various courses, attending workshops, reading books about writing and joining writing groups.  I practiced and practiced, and finally one day I had a piece published.  I was excited to see my name and work in print. But it wasn’t the big times.  I wasn’t famous.  Probably only a hand-full of people read my work after which they couldn’t remember my name.  Shirley who? 

Since then, I’ve had numerous pieces published and I’ve won a few awards.  Obviously, someone thinks my writing has some worth or that I show some hint of talent.  But I’m not famous; hardly known.  I’ve enjoyed this learning path and continue to enjoy learning about writing.  Even if, someday, I write the world’s best novel, article, or whatever, will it really be “the best”?  I doubt it.  Someone will find fault with it.  I probably will find fault with it.  Writing is about learning, growing, and improving.  Now that I’m grown up, I’m a …tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor…writer!  Yes, a writer!  I’m not famous but very happy to be a writer. 


  1. I think one's satisfaction is the real measuring stick. Thanks for the post and the reminder.

  2. Anonymous3:29 am GMT-7

    Famously happy to be a writer! Life is really a multitude of learning. Thank you for making writing a focused subject!

  3. Love your content, Shirley. But I especially enjoyed your design in this piece - the running thread of tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor. I was thrilled when you brought it to the final conclusion, adding 'writer'. Design in writing! Powerful!

  4. Sounds like you are content right where you are as far as popularity but not as far as learning and growth. That's a good reminder for me. Thanks for keeping me honest with myself.

  5. I too liked your Tinker, Tailor. . . refrain carried through and adding writer at the end. I too am only a legend in my own lunch box, as a friend of mine would say, but I too have many a mile to go and I have travelled more miles than I have left. That is a reality, but my striving is in God's hands and will have to follow his schedule. Thanks for composing your thoughts for us.

  6. It's not the number of people that read our work that's important. It's the people, however few, that God has prepared to read our work and receive new life from it that matters. To fulfill that call to us is success. I think for most of us, that's all that is required


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