July 09, 2016

A Purposeful Stumble - Shirley S. Tye

After writing a humourous vignette in a 2003 Christmas letter to family and friends I wondered if it might be suitable for a magazine.  The summer of 2004, I searched the internet and discovered that a local monthly magazine called Cottage Country accepted short stories occasionally as long as the story related to country or cottage living.  My story fit the guidelines because it is about the woes of relying on an electric sump pump to keep ground water from flooding the basement of a country home.  I submitted the story wondering how long I’d have to wait for a reply and how many months it would be before publication.  I was surprised when a few days later, I received word that not only was the vignette accepted but would be published in the next issue; August 2004.  Wow!          

After that issue was released, the editor called me and asked to see some more of my work.  We met at a coffee shop where she quickly read a few stories.  After perusing my work, she asked if I was interested in writing some articles for Kawartha Life magazine (also a local magazine for the Kawartha Lakes area about life in that area).  Of course, I eagerly answered yes.  It wasn’t until I was driving home that it struck me.  I had just had an interview with a magazine editor.  Yes, sometimes I’m a little slow on the draw.  I had an interview and got a freelance writing job.  Wow!  A dream come true!    

Each month, I had the pleasure of interviewing business people, farmers, artists, entertainers, and hobbyists in the area.  After writing several articles, the editor gave me the feature assignment in a fall issue.  For that task, I interviewed candidates who were running for town mayor. 

I enjoyed that freelance writing job.  It didn’t pay well but I had a regular writing schedule and my articles were published every month.  The editor never asked me to change or rewrite any of my work and those who I interviewed were all pleased with the articles. I’m still amazed how I stumbled into that job with a humourous vignette.  One never knows where the next step will lead.  Isn’t life funny sometimes?  


  1. Awesome story, Shirley! You never know where an opportunity will lead, or where a simple step will take you!

  2. I suspect, Shirley, that your story will encourage all of us, but especially those of us who are timid about stepping out. What does Timothy say about being timid? "God doesn't want us to be shy with his gifts, but bold and loving and sensible." 2 Timothy 1:7


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