I love getting out into the comfort of the quiet woods and just being me. When I was a kid my mom started taking me to this amazing nature reserve called Rockwoods Reservation. Once devastated by limestone mining, it has been fully rehabilitated and is a perfect example of just how quickly nature can heal. They hosted a co-ed scouting program at this Missouri State Park where I joined to work on nature projects to earn points to become a naturalist and earn prizes.
In under 2 years I won the top award and had worked hard to learn about nature and living in harmony with the natural environment. One of my favorite sources was Missouri Conservationist Magazine. It was just a great publication that featured pictures of wildlife and articles about various nature topics.
When I started professionally writing, I had no confidence in my ability to ever get published in such a perfect resource. Still, the idea was floating around in my head. I focused on doing what I could and reading better writers like Richard Smyth (Arguably one of the best nature writers of our time). Overtime, as my nonfiction work drew more attention than any of my other writing, I was able to write about some of my outdoor experiences.
I finally gained the confidence to look into the submission guidelines for Missouri Conservationist. I waited a while before I finally sent in my first pitch. I received a nice rejection and waited. Then I tried again and again. The rejections kept coming, but I was used to it at that point. Finally, on a whim, I pitched a topic that I had already written an unclaimed article for. It wasn’t about some great adventure or solving a major issue, it was just about my annoying battle with poison ivy. Sure, when I was a kid it didn’t bother me, but the older I get the less resistance my body has.
That was the one. It was accepted and I got to work with some of the nicest, most professional writing staff of my career. The article is featured in this month’s issue. I hope you enjoy it. It’s been a long road, a huge goal… a dream come true really.
So I’ll stop gushing and just leave this dot here at the end.