I used to really want to be a professional writer. I was constantly writing poetry and working on spoken word. I blogged consistently. I was dreaming big because I wanted to have a career I loved. But about four years ago, reality hit. I was still blogging and writing poetry and doing events, but I wasn’t getting paid. I wasn’t published anywhere. Every time I had a gig lined up to ghostwrite or copy write for someone it would fall through. I was getting more and more fed up with false promises and flaky people. Eventually, this sucked me dry.
I had always been told that if you want to be a writer, than just write. But I once told someone I was a writer and his immediate response was, “Where are you published?” So to be a writer, you can’t simply write, you have to be published.
I had this false notion in my head that if I continued writing my blog that I would somehow be discovered. Justin Bieber got discovered on YouTube. But I’m not Justin Bieber. And a blog is not YouTube. So at some point, I gave up.
I decided to pursue a real career. I started working on my masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling because I’ve always loved psychology and understanding why people do what they do. But really, I wanted to help people learn to tell their own stories. All of life is a story, and when you can look back and learn from it, your story can bring healing.
But I was doing my studies in Alabama, where I was becoming increasingly depressed. I didn’t want to live there anymore. So I ran. All the way back home to California. I was certain that I would find another masters program here where I could transfer my units and start again. But when I did find a program, applied, and was accepted, I was getting more and more anxiety about the program. I knew it wasn’t a right fit. I knew I wouldn’t be happy. And if I’m this depressed, how can I help anyone else?
So I decided not to go back to school. I said it was temporary, but I know I’ll never finish that degree. I wasted a year’s tuition and a year of my life all because I wanted a steady career.
But what I really want is to do something I love. I’m good at a lot of things because I learn quickly and my mind (not my apartment) is organized. I make lists and get things done. But I don’t just want to do something that I’m good at. I want to do something that comes naturally. My mother was a writer. She instilled in me her creative mind.
And then the world shut down. COVID-19 is still rampant in my country because people believe that wearing a mask to stop the spread is somehow an infringement on their freedom.
The company I work for brought me back part time, but now I’m back to three days a week. We’re losing money. Like the rest of the country, my husband and I don’t know how we’re going to pay our bills. My anxiety is through the roof and I can’t even afford to do anything about it except yoga. But I can write.
So it’s time to put myself out there. I’ve learned that to be a writer, I have to write. But I also have to market myself and pitch articles and submit stories. I’m not going to get discovered. I need to actually try to get published in order to be a published writer. I am officially a writer for hire.