I always knew I wanted to be a writer.
As a child, I’d tell stories to myself—out loud—on the school playground. This got me some strange looks, but I didn’t care. I was totally immersed in my own world.
It never occurred to me, though, that I could actually make a living as a writer. Sure, I daydreamed about being the next Stephen King, but it was a distant fantasy.
The problem is, the only things I was really passionate about were writing and school! This prompted me to go straight from college into a grad writing program, delaying my entrance into the “real world” as long as possible.
I loved my writing program, but if anything, it reinforced my belief that making a living as a writer was very, very difficult. At most, it might earn me a few bucks on the side.
Ok, so I got my degree…what now?
My restaurant job had seemed acceptable while I was in school, but now I was a disappointment to my family and to myself. On top of that, I was a terrible waitress…slow, clumsy, and the opposite of calm-under-pressure.
But I stuck with the job because I didn’t know my other options.
I sent my stories to literary magazines, but they all got rejected. I know this is typical for a new writer, but coming from the academic world, where I got instant feedback on everything I wrote, I quickly got discouraged. It felt like I was writing into a void.
Not only was I broke, but my life felt absolutely meaningless.
When life closes one door…
After I got fired from my restaurant job for not wearing black socks, I should have taken that as a sign that it was time to pursue a new career path. But foolishly, like repeatedly shoving your old phone charger into your new phone’s USB port, I kept at it, determined to make it work.
I worked two more years in unrewarding jobs. Then a friend told me about tutoring.
For most of my life, I’d resisted teaching—maybe because my parents were both teachers and I wanted to rebel. Or maybe because it seemed like a cliché profession for an English major.
But it turned out to be a perfect fit. My first tutoring job was through a government-funded program for children with learning disabilities. Working with these kids was fun and rewarding.
As I started getting more and more tutoring clients, things were looking up. I loved tutoring, and the flexible schedule gave me time to write on the side.
A few other events kept the positive momentum going:
- Taking an online speculative fiction writing workshop. My classmates were crazy talented and, like me, wrote weird stuff. I’d found my people!
- Starting a copywriting business and landing my first big client. This showed me that I actually could make money writing—it wasn’t a pipe dream.
- Learning about self-publishing. Goodbye, slush piles!
Then, my life changed once again…
I had a seizure. No big deal, I thought. I dismissed it as a one-time event because I was tired and stressed.
But the seizures kept coming.
At one point, I was having them once or twice a month.
I had to quit driving, which forced me to drastically cut back my tutoring hours. Since all my tutoring was freelance, I had no unemployment insurance to fall back on.
Naturally, I panicked. I also raged against the higher powers. Why did they have to screw everything up when things were finally going well?
However, the forces of change—even destructive ones—can be highly instructive. They force us to reevaluate what we really want out of life.
In my case, this was to be a writer. Not a part-time but an all-the-time writer.
Writing would also allow me to pursue my other passion—helping people—and reach far more people than I could as a teacher. Plus, writing doesn’t require me to drive anywhere—imagine that!
So why do I tell you all this?
Maybe you’re like me.
You have this burning desire to do something, but you don’t pursue it out of fear. That it’s not practical. That it’s too hard to break into.
So you keep doing what you’re doing because it brings stability.
But here’s the thing.
Nothing is truly stable, especially in today’s job market. Imagine slaving away for years at a job you hate, only to be replaced by a robot.
You might as well just go for it and do something you love!
Plus, when you’re truly in alignment with your purpose and passion, you’ll accomplish amazing things. Everything you bring into the world will be stamped with your unique touch…something no robot can replicate.
Where I’m at now
Born and raised in a tiny town on the Texas coast, I’d always wanted to live in a big city and naturally moved to Los Angeles at the first opportunity. My hobbies include tennis, hiking, and dancing.
As a freelance copywriter, I specialize in personal development and education. You can learn more about my work and the solutions I provide at www.wordarcs.com.
My works of fiction, including Tilt-a-Whirl, are a blend of horror, sci-fi, and magical realism with a bit of humor thrown in. I’m particularly drawn to themes of mind control and magic portals. Additionally, I review works of fiction—basically anything that’s off the beaten path, I’m down for! You can check out my reviews and learn more about my fiction here.