Once a Writer, Always a Writer
Bruce Justice has been writing for decades-- since he was in grade school. “I began writing...at a young age when I was in grade school,” he says. “I wrote a few poems that my classmates and teachers seemed to think were pretty good, so I guess you could say it was their encouragement that actually stoked the flames of what eventually would become my writing career.” Though he’d become distracted by a love for sports as a young boy, he came back to writing as an adult.
In his late twenties, he entered college as a non-traditional student. During that time, he wrote his first novel. He spent the following few years looking for a publisher, eventually finding one in Michigan, who published the novel as an e-book. It spawned two sequels and he’s also published one unrelated novel.
Bruce’s writing career isn’t limited to fiction. He’s also been a journalist since the 90s. “My career as a journalist began in the mid-90s when I began submitting unsolicited op-eds to local newspapers such as the Lexington Herald-Leader,” he says. He also submitted to the Appalachian News-Express, where he would eventually be upgraded to a semi-regular guest columnist. He climbed the ladder at the News-Express, becoming a part-time reporter before eventually becoming a full-time reporter and columnist.
Though he then took a few years off and worked as a substitute teacher in Pike County, Kentucky, he would come back to journalism in 2011, when he was hired as one of the staff writers for the Mingo Messenger, who was just getting their start at the time.
Though his position with the Messenger keeps him busy, he still enjoys writing fiction. “I have since written a fifth novel and I am currently in the process of getting it published,” he says. For him, writing is so important because it is one of the only ways we can communicate with each other. “Besides verbal speaking, writing is our only other way of communicating with others. I’d tell them (students) they could be excellent in all other disciplines...but just excelling in these subjects wouldn’t mean much to anyone if they couldn’t effectively communicate that knowledge,” he says. When teaching, he says it was important to him that his students, ‘write well enough to share, in written language, thoughts, and feelings, as well as the knowledge accumulated throughout the years.’