It’s an Addiction
My addiction began when I was in eighth grade, and it is still evident today. No, it isn’t an addiction to alcohol or drugs. I am addicted to seeing my name (and my writing) in print. That ink got in my blood when I was 13, and I still can’t shake the feeling.
I attended a small school that housed the junior high students and the high schoolers in the same building. The administrators assigned a high school teacher to “come upstairs” to teach our eighth grade English class, and he noticed something in me. I had always made good grades in English and Reading (let’s not mention Math), and he challenged me to go deeper. He was also the journalism teacher and school newspaper adviser, and, after a few assignments in that English class, he invited me to serve as the junior high correspondent for the publication.
That was it! I was hooked after that first byline. I continued with the newspaper throughout high school, serving as editor for three years.
Moving on to college, I double-majored in broadcasting and print journalism and continued to write—articles for the college newspaper, public relations copy, broadcast news stories. With that degree in hand, I was ready to jump into a job in the industry . . . but no offers came. I decided to go to graduate school.
Talk about writing! Twenty-page research papers were the norm in every class, and I banged them out on my manual typewriter (there were computers then, but I couldn’t afford one). It was intense, but I realize now it was prime training ground as a writer.
After grad school, I began my career as a college professor and put writing on hold for several years. I did eventually become a weekly newspaper columnist for a few years, but life happened, and I gave that up after a while.
Then, at midlife, I became a Christian, and it changed everything. God began to “stir the gift” of writing within me, and it started one night with a still, small voice. I was getting ready to shut the computer down when I heard it.
Sit down and write.
Write what? I had no idea what I was doing, but I sat down and wrote. I went through the same routine night after night until I completed what I thought was the next bestseller. I didn’t know what to do with the finished product, so I started searching for writers conferences, thinking someone could help me there. I found Kentucky Christian Writers Conference and began attending yearly. That book didn’t get published, but I made several connections and friendships. A few years later I discovered Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and the same things happened—connections and friendships.
Fast-forward several years, and I am now a multi-published writer with an agent, with all glory and credit to God. My philosophy is that I will write what God places before me, plus my agent says, “never say no.” So far, my publications include devotional pieces in several books; stories about my sons’ sporting events; youth Christmas plays; standardized test items; test questions and classroom activities for a textbook; and much more.
My writing journey has had twists and turns, stops and starts, abundant times and dry times. The common thread has been God’s grace and direction. I have tried my best to obey, to walk through the doors He has opened, and I have been blessed beyond measure.
Plus, I still get a thrill when I see my name in print.
Carlton Hughes wears many hats—some serious, some goofy.
During weekdays, he sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher (wah-wah wah-wah-wah) as a community college professor of communication and journalism. On Sundays and Wednesdays, you’ll find him playing games, performing songs with motions, and doing object lessons in his role as a children’s pastor. He and his wife also attempt to keep up with their two college-age boys.
In his “spare” time, Carlton is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous books, including several recent releases from Worthy Publishing: The Wonders of Nature, So God Made a Dog, Just Breathe, Let the Earth Rejoice, and the forthcoming Everyday Grace for Men. He has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and other publications and is represented by Cyle Young of the Hartline Agency. He contributes regularly to two writing blogs, almostanauthor.com and inspiredprompt.com. He specializes in humorous observations of everyday life, connecting those experiences with spiritual application.
Carlton loves watching classic sitcoms like I Love Lucy, eating way too much chocolate, and rooting for his favorite college and high school basketball teams. He is on the planning committee for Kentucky Christian Writers Conference and a year-round volunteer for Operation Christmas Child.
Readers, have you had experiences similar to Carlton’s? Are you addicted to writing? Share in the comments. Newsletter recipients, click on the title of the article to go to the site and scroll down to Leave a Reply.