I wrote my first book when I was 8 (Glasses for Shelly…really it should be a children’s bestseller, but my illustrations need some help), and from that moment on writing has held a special place in my heart.
I’ve been a writer for 21 years, and I have loved every minute of it. I like doing it, I like to think I am somewhat good at it, and someday I want to be a writer full time. I’m still working on this goal. Sometimes it goes well. Other times I feel like I’m just spinning my tires.
When those rough times hit, it is very tempting to just give up. I think about just walking away and forcing myself to be content with my regular 8-5 job. Then I remember I gave up once before. I wasn’t nearly as established as I am now, but I decided to just focus on my career in the education sector and move on. That only lasted a few years. Soon I was ready to resurrect my writing career from the ashes.
I took that plunge about two and a half years ago. After being discourage, distracted and nearly derailed by an abusive relationship, I was able to get my freelance and novel writing career back on track. Things have been progressing nicely, but it has been slow coming.
Really, I had made a good deal of progress considering I was working full time, teaching part time, beginning to work for my friend’s karaoke business on top of my writing career.
This past summer, I did not teach evening classes. This opened up my schedule quite a bit, and I was able to use that time for my career. By mid summer I had many paid gigs and networking and exposure gigs. My book sales were starting to pick up. Plus I had just landed my first webmaster gig, and it was looking like I had another one on deck.
Things were looking up, but now I had a decision to make. Did I want to start teaching again? I debated it through most of July, and I still didn’t have a clue. I love being in the classroom, but going back meant putting my writing back on hold. If I didn’t teach, I had to make sure to have enough paying gigs to make up for the income.
In late July, my writing work slowed. I had spent so much time working a my new website job, I had hardly any time to focus on paid work . I didn’t want to close the door on that part of my life. Plus, if things didn’t start picking up again, I could really be shooting myself in the foot.
Yes, my writing career is doing well, but was I good enough to make it work? My friends don’t really get what I do, or how much I have to work to keep it all going. Going to them for advice wasn’t my best plan. I was starting to think maybe I should just keep my writing as some hobby and stick to the “real” jobs.
I was just about to send off the e-mail to my program chair, when another e-mail came through. It was from one of the websites I write a monthly editorial for. The editorial is about moving on after an abusive relationship. I love writing it because it is therapeutic for me, and really I hope that someone reads it and realizes they aren’t alone.
It gets a decent amount of traffic, but until today I had only received comments or feedback from my friends. The e-mail notified me I had a new comment on my site, so I went to the page to check it out.
The comment was from a woman who recently escaped from an abusive relationship. She was having a really bad day, so she was searching the internet for something to affirm her decision to leave her abuser. That is when she ran across my editorial.
My words struck a chord with her. She was able to gain sight from my lessons learned. She thanked me for my editorial and encouraged me to keep writing.
I know it is just one compliment from a stranger. I know she has not read any of my other work, and she really isn’t a good judge of my career. However, she encouraged me. Sometimes we just need someone to believe in us AND tell us they believe in us.
I needed to hear that. This stranger thanked me for making a difference in her life, but she will never know the difference she made in mine.
I did send an email to my program chair. Instead of asking for an assignment, I asked to make an appointment. I want to take one more semester off, but I don’t want to close the door on my teaching completely. Hopefully, I will have a better sense of what the future holds by the end of Fall Term.
Remember, use your words wisely. You never know who is listening and how it will impact his or her life.