As a kid, I loved to pretend I was a newspaper reporter and wrote poetry on index cards. As a teen, I started writing short stories. But for some reason, I never considered becoming a professional writer. Instead, I concentrated on taking secretarial courses and worked at a bank after graduating high school.
When I was in my early 20s, while staying at home with my first child, I started a short story just for the fun of it. Then I signed up for a writing class at the local college. That was when I discovered my true passion for writing.
I took another writing class at the college, checked out every book at the library on writing, signed up for a correspondence course, and attended a writer’s conference. I started working on a young adult novel that had been bouncing around in my head. Still, I told myself that writing was simply a hobby.
In reality, I was scared. It was fun envisioning my novel on the shelves of Barnes and Noble and my first book signing. But I didn’t take any kind of action to make those dreams come true. I was afraid that people would laugh at me because I didn’t have a college degree. That my submissions would sit in a huge pile and be ignored by literary agents and editors since I didn’t know anyone in the publishing business. That I would get discouraged by all the rejections and allow my dreams to fade away. That friends and family would roll their eyeballs if I dared to express my dreams of becoming a writer out loud.
Then, a woman at a writer’s conference asked me a simple but profound question. What are you waiting for? Oh, I had a million excuses why I wasn’t pursing my passion. But she forced me to ask myself some important questions. Did I want to go to my grave with regrets that I never followed my dreams? That I never even tried? Would I wonder what I could have accomplished if only I had mustered up enough courage to break through my self-imposed barriers?
With the woman’s words echoing in my head, I took the first step and began submitting my short story to magazines. Of course, I received the standard rejection letter which stung, but I continued on my journey, taking more writing classes and submitting my work.
Six long years passed before my first short story was published in a literary magazine for a whopping $22. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Later, a piece I had written for a magazine article writing class at the local college was accepted by a regional parenting magazine. I was on my way!
Nonetheless, the road wasn’t easy. Many of my fears came true during that time. I gathered enough rejection letters to wallpaper a room. Plenty of people gave me cynical looks when I dared to share my dreams of becoming an author and a published writer. When I finally started getting published on a regular basis I made the mistake of quitting my day job too soon and had to take a humiliating temp job I hated. Many times, I became discouraged and swore off writing.
But I tenaciously pressed forward. Am I happy that I persevered and finally faced down all those nagging self-doubts and fears?
I’ve been writing professionally for over 25 years now. Over the years, my articles have been published in hundreds of national and regional magazines, I authored three books (one of which was published by the prestigious publisher McGraw Hill), landed an agent, won three journalism awards while working as a newspaper reporter, and have been published on countless websites. And now I’m a blogger as well!
Your blog is filled with an array of fun topics. What is your favorite to write about?
I was inspired to start my blog, Baby Boomer Bliss (http://babyboomerbliss.net/), by recent reports that show younger baby boomers in their 50’s are the most miserable age group. I was curious why this was the case. After all, old people have plenty of problems too, so why are they happier than our generation? I wanted to know how we boomers could maintain happiness through what can be a turbulent time in life. I thought other people my age would be interested in the answer as well and planned to write a future book on the subject.
Originally, all my blogs were centered on this subject. Ironically, shortly after I started writing a blog about finding happiness, I had the worst year of my life. My blog turned out to be much more personal as I expanded to other topics. I began sharing my life, thoughts, and feelings through some rough times that included caregiving for my Mom who had Lewy Body dementia and her eventual death.
Then, I started branching out to other subjects such as humorous articles about menopause and growing older – these are some of my favorite blogs to write. Is it wrong that I crack myself up? I also included a section on travel and leisure that are fun to write. I share experiences like zip lining for the first time, watching Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones at Desert Trip, seeing San Francisco in two days, and visiting Chicago for the first time.
My blog has given me wonderful creative freedom to express myself. Not to pop anyone’s balloon, but professional writing sounds more glamorous than it is in reality. I don’t always get to write about what I’m passionate about or interested in – and some of my projects were a huge headache like the technical book I wrote for McGraw Hill. My blog allows me to stretch as a writer, explore, experiment, and try new things whenever the muse hits.
Tell our readers about your books you have available. Are you working on any books for the future?
The book I wrote for McGraw Hill is now out of print, but my two young adult books, Just Call Me Goody-Two-Shoes (https://www.amazon.com/Just-Call-Goody-Two-Shoes-Julie-Gorges/dp/0976327414) and Time to Cast Away (https://www.amazon.com/Time-Cast-Away-Julie-Gorges/dp/0976327465) are still available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.
To answer your question, I am working on a few books right now. I’m currently writing a book to provide inspiration, motivation, and knowledge to help aspiring writers achieve their goals, whether they want to become authors, start a blog, pen a memoir, or see their byline on a magazine article. In conjunction with the book, I plan to offer online classes.
I’m also editing my book tentatively titled, I’m Your Daughter, Julie, that shares my story about caring for my mother who had a combination of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s along with caregiving tips that will be published within the next year. And since I’ve recently discovered the secret to losing weight after 50, I’m writing an eBook to share what I’ve learned. Plus, the book about finding happiness in your 50s based on my blog is still in the works.
“Just Call Me Goody-Two-Shoes,” written by Julie A. Gorges is a story early teens will relate as they dive into this great read.
Fifteen-year-old Jade is a perfectionist, a goal setter, and a list maker. Everything in her life is under control until circumstances spin them out of her control.
She and her friend Stephanie have conflicts to work out in their personal lives and their friendship.
Readers will relate to this story as it unfolds family issues, friendships, trust, and forgiveness.
Where can our readers find you?
My author website, (https://juliegorges.com/), which is currently under construction for some much needed updates, as well as my blog, Baby Boomer Bliss (http://babyboomerbliss.net/).
And of course, I’m all over social media!
My Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/julieagorges/