Getting here

If someone had told me 20 years ago, as I was going into college, that I’d be a writer one day, I wouldn’t have believed it.

Even though it made the most sense in retrospect because I was always thinking and writing, I lacked confidence. Therefore, I hated for anyone to read what I wrote, and I thought professional writing was for people who were better at it.

So, I kept trying things that weren’t for me.

First, I thought I’d like to be a teacher, and I tried it. I was a substitute teacher for many years, every grade from kindergarten to 12th, trying to figure out where I wanted to be.

But things got a little hairy once I got in classrooms around the fifth grade and up, where students with bad attitudes had also already outgrown me.

And things could also get tense in the grades below fifth, where flatulence or an ongoing fight between former friends could interrupt a better part of the day.

In working with large groups of kids, I learned I didn’t have as much patience for children at random as I’d given myself credit at a younger age. At least not enough to dedicate the rest of my life to it. And hats off to my friends who do, by the way.

I also tried my hand as a paralegal. However, it was depressing (not using that word lightly) to regularly deal with people being so careful in their estate planning, only to hear about how their families would fight when they died.

But kind of weirdly, playing with the language in the documents reminded me that I love writing. So, in a burst of confidence, I put myself out there and started working as a freelance writer regularly, not really worrying about the income it generated. I just wanted something to be able to point to.

Photo by Judit Peter on Pexels.com

I also did a lot of ghostwriting, which helped boost my writing ego. If it was good enough for someone else to pay me to put their name on, what was I worried about?

I was finally starting to feel like I could call myself a writer. But I wasn’t self-assured enough to apply for a full-time job.

So, I eventually started teaching English as a second language online to young kids in China. The lessons were one-on-one, and the students were so much fun, but the schedule was atrocious if you’re asking me.

Because they are on the other side of the world, the company I worked for offered after-school lessons starting at something like 4 or 5am and ending at 8 or 9am on weekdays here in the US, depending on daylight savings. More classes were available overnight on the weekends.

All the while, I was working as a receptionist in an emergency vet clinic, which I was pretty good at. Most of the time, it was emotionally cumbersome work. But it was also gratifying to be part of a team I loved and one that comforted pets and their people.

I made a nest when I got there and stayed for more than a decade, usually working between my other jobs. But when the pandemic started, I realized I was still on board for the people I’d built bonds with, not because I liked the work.

When things started shutting down for Covid, I quit working at the clinic (which I literally grieved for a few days) to isolate my family at home and focus on the work I could do from the house — writing and teaching online.

I wasn’t selling myself short by being at the vet clinic because it meant so much in the bigger picture of my life, but leaving that job was what it took to realize I’d been complacent.

In another eventual burst of confidence, I applied with Showbiz Cheat Sheet. At 37, I was hired as a full-time writer for a prominent outlet for the first time.

And now I only need one job.

I know some people will read this and think, “Oh, she’s so whimsical,” and mean it negatively (because I positively am). But I didn’t make any of these decisions lightly, and they involved lengthy discussions with Derek. Thankfully we’re highly compatible and can flow together through most things.

The lesson in this post is that the only thing holding me back was me, as corny as that might sound. I wasn’t ready until I suddenly was. But if I’d worked on my writing confidence sooner, things might have been different, too.

Becoming a professional writer didn’t happen when I was 18 or even by the time I was 25, like I used to think those things should have. I wouldn’t have seen myself here if someone had asked me at 30.

But at this point, I’ve accepted that I’m just me — and that’s something that’s both highly unique and totally relatable.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Pexels.com


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



  1. Pam Kennedy

    I love your writing style & enjoy learning about your journey…😍

    Liked by 1 person

%d bloggers like this: