my writing journey
I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. Getting lost in a fictional world that let my imagination run wild was the backdrop of my summers. My mom dutifully took me to the library every week all summer long so I could participate in their summer reading program. I was incredibly lucky to have a mom who worked as an education assistant, so she had the summers off to spend at home with me. I happily read all the assigned books in school, and fell in love with several.
I grew up. I added more books to my dance card. I got an abundance of literary tattoos. I fell in love with horror and thriller books, movies, television, and podcasts. And I learned that I love to tell a story.
I dabbled with writing during my undergrad. I wrote fanfiction based on The Outsiders of all things. I cringe about this now, but I was dedicated to a small fan base and published a new chapter of that fanfiction every day on my silly little tumblr blog dedicated to The Outsiders. (Yeah, I’ve been obsessed with that book since middle school. I never grew out of that. It is still one of my favorite books to this day.)
Then I got what I called a “big girl” job working in a law office. And my creativity slowed down. I’m not really sure why. I had an intense need to be taken seriously, and I think I may have been under the impression that I wouldn’t be if I were overly creative. I am, for the most part, an analytical being. I work with data for a living. I have a Master’s in Public Policy and analyzing policy is my happy place.
I quit a job that I was good at, and was important, in November of 2019. Unfortunately the department head was a nightmare and I couldn’t mentally handle working under someone whose goal seemed to be to make everyone around her miserable. My husband asked me to quit. He was deployed at the time, and could support our lifestyle without me working. So, I took a huge leap and quit with nothing lined up.
I have always defined myself by my job. Let me tell you, I really enjoyed the first two months of unemployment. There was a sense of freedom I hadn’t felt since my undergrad days when I worked part time in a shoe store. I spent my time binge watching The Office, dancing, hula-hooping, and trying to figure out who I was when I couldn’t tell you what I did for a living.
Enter COVID. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a job in the middle of a global pandemic that has largely shut down the economy? It’s really damn hard. So I spent eight months unemployed. And that eight months hit me hard. I had no idea who I was. I did get a job. I work that job now. It’s a decent job, but it doesn’t challenge me much.
I had to find ways to challenge myself. So I thought about how I love to tell a story. And I thought about how I love to hula-hoop. And I thought about how I’d been hoop dancing for more than three years and it was one of the most joyful things I’ve ever decided to do. And thus Lessons From a Hula Hoop was born. It’s short, it’s sweet, and it’s all me. Writing that book showed me, again, how much I love to write. That book was meant to help others, but I think it actually helped me most of all.
I thought “I wrote Lessons from a Hula Hoop, I can write a novel”, so I just did it. That sounds simple, I know. But it’s true. I just stopped questioning myself and I sat down and wrote the damn thing. And I have loved every minute of writing, revising, and editing. It’s the most fun I’ve had on a personal project in a long long time. Tranquil Heights will be releasing in October. I’m already thinking ahead to my next book.
So when I think about my eight months of unemployment and my struggle to define who I was without having a job… I finally have an answer. I’m a writer.