This is a piece to encourage all you writers out there.
Getting a degree in writing can be sort of like getting a degree in art or theatre. We all fall into the “creative” category. It’s interesting and respectable, but your parents want to know, “How is this going to support you?” This rings true for my parents as all three of their children went and did careers outside of the box. My brother was an art major and leads tours in the Grand Canyon, my sister went to chef school, and I was a writer- I am telling you, it’s because my parents believed in each of us and told us to pursue anything we are passionate about ever since we were little.
IT’S A VALID QUESTION. (#SallieMaeAintNoJoke)
Look, I went to school for Broadcast Communications with a minor in English and a heavy focus in creative writing. My degree was complicated because DBU didn’t simply have a Writing Degree- ha. My dream since I was in middle school was to be a Today Show newscaster, and I had a slightly unhealthy obsession with Al Roker and Katie Couric. This dream is a lot like wanting to be president. Only a few people will ever ACTUALLY be it.
I have always been a writer. In high school, I used to get so proud of the pieces I wrote that I would give them to my friends to read. This was called life before a blog… ha. God bless all my sweet friends who put up with me and at least acted like they read my three page essays. I remember in my college prep classes before I started applying to schools (which, let’s be serious, I started applying the second week of my senior year of high school), my teacher said, “Whatever prompt you get, do not write the obvious.” For my Texas college application essay, I got the oh-so bland, “Tell me about someone who has influenced you to become who you are now” prompt. It was in my head “don’t you dare write about your mom or grandma.” So, I did what any normal human being would do- I wrote about I Love Lucy.
Let me explain.
Take note future college applicants:
I wrote about how Lucy influenced my humor, my ability to cope with unwanted situations in life, and how she was a comfort to me as a child. When the world didn’t make sense, Lucy did to me. And you know what? I got into every single college I applied to. (And why I chose DBU of all the universities I could have gone to still baffles me.) But, all I know is God had a plan and a reason for me to feel called to DBU. I did get to meet my husband during my time at DBU, and I say that makes the entire college experience worth it.
My AP English teacher in the 10th grade is who REALLY sparked my interest in writing. She taught me Rolls Royce vs. Pinto. She taught me to use words that show, not tell, and molded me to become the writer I am. Ms Leach literally is the reason I write, and I swear one day I will show up in her classroom to say ‘thank you’. If you are a teacher (I come from 3+ generations of teachers on both sides of my family)- do not allow yourself to believe that students do not appreciate your hard work. I remember everything about every single one of my teachers who put time into their job with students.
Particularly, Ms Leach saw something in me unlike any other teacher I ever had. To be frank, she is one of the few teachers in my high school years that didn’t categorize me or stereotype me. When I walked into her classroom, I knew she actually believed in me and my dreams.
This is so sappy. Sorry y’all, but I am SO SERIOUS. If you are a teacher, and I know a lot of you, I promise you make an impact.
I say all of this to come back to writing. Do not let people in life tell you that your passion cannot be monetized or is not worth your time. Sure, being a successful writer is something close to becoming a politician- you and 8 million other people want the same thing. It’s hard, and it doesn’t make a ton of money. But, if there is anything I have learned since graduating college- it’s not about the money, money, money.
But, the money comes if you are consistent and passionate.
No matter what your passion, I promise you can figure out a way to monetize it. I promise you can do it. Give yourself 6 months to take a leap, get a job ANYWHERE to pay the bills necessary, and pursue your dreams.
If I can say anything, it is this: Do not let the world tell you that being ‘safe’ is the only option. What does safe even mean, you know? If you have a passion, figure out a way to pay your bills and go pursue it. Had I believed this way earlier in my career, I wouldn’t have stayed in a job that I felt worthless in for as long as I did.
My biggest piece of advice specifically to you writers, which is something I was told in my college creative writing course, is this: Write something every single day.
I have a file on my computer full of pieces that have never seen the light of day. Lengthy pieces, short pieces, angry pieces. They are in a safe space that will perhaps one day see the binds of a book or, possibly, never go anywhere. But, they are written. I find freedom in writing, I say things 100 x’s better in writing than I can speak it, and it is the easiest way to express to people how I feel about things.
Writing releases the chains on my mouth I can sometimes find myself with when I do not have the confidence to speak.
Second, if I am not writing a piece, I am writing emails. I do a ton of networking, connecting people, and outreach on the daily. I LOVE helping to connect people, and it’s such a joy to do it as my job now with Circle Seven Five. After the leap from a “safe job”, I went and worked in a fitness studio and took every contract job I could possibly get for about 6 months to be able to pay the bills (and I was SO MUCH HAPPIER!) while waiting for the right thing to come about- and I am so glad it was this. Paul and I laugh about this and are aware of it daily, because our lives have changed so drastically over the last year, but if someone told us we would do what we are both doing right this moment for the rest of our lives… we would be so happy. FIND WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, FRIENDS. Life is too short to devote your life to an office or career you don’t believe in or feel fulfilled in.
All this to say:
Next month, May 12th, at 7 PM, I will be speaking for an online creative’s conference- Creative Tribe Conference. You will hear from women from all over the country on an array of topics like encouragement through trial, practical steps of starting a business, blogging, choosing your niche as a business owner, the process of writing a book, taking the leap of faith from your “safe” desk job (that’s mine!), and soooo much more. You can either tune in live or you can have the recorded sessions sent to your inbox. My session will be a continuation of what you just read with practical steps in those 6 months after leaving as well as practical steps in starting your blog.
This conference is for women of all kinds- whether a business owner or stay at home mom, this conference will speak to you. We all have dreams, and each of these women have stories to encourage you to pursue your own.
You can read more about each session and register here!
Happy Monday, pretty ladies! You are super loved and appreciated.