9 Years a Writer

Time flies when your writing about fries?

Okay, so of all the topics I’ve taken on french fries are not one of them. I did have an idea to write a book titled, “Skinny Women Don’t Eat French Fries,” about all the ups and downs with my own weight since I was raised on junk food, became my own health nut, and had 3 kids + am pregnant with #4 but I have a lot of ideas so who knows if that will ever happen. haha

9 years ago today my first professional piece was published. When I say “professional” I mean a paid gig for a wide audience.

It was my first article for my first column, writing for the St. Louis Examiner, and I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I was so fresh and so green I didn’t even realize that little dyslexic me could use spellcheck. That was something I equated to school papers, not my actual writing (what was I thinking?!)

I loved writing nonfiction and connecting to readers. Responses came in and I wrote more and it never stopped, though I have tried my hand at many different types of writing and I was done with The Examiner after 6 months or so.

I didn’t even have a headshot done until 2014 because, again, I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t on social media until then either. To me I was a writer, not a model/public whatever. It’s still true but I get it. People like putting a face with a name… or a sentence…or a typo.

1st author headshot

I was a new first-time mom/grown up-tomboy who threw on some lip stick and said, “Let’s get this over with.”

People are always asking questions like: What would you do if you could tell your younger self 1 thing?

I personally hate questions like this because 1. I hate time travel stories, they’re so stupid (Except for Terminator 1 & 2, everything has an exception), and 2. There is no point in thinking about that because I can’t nor would I because who knows what 1 simple bit of advice would change? I’m pretty happy with where all my random learning has taken me.

If I had known that this publishing would stick I might have used my maiden name. Divorce really makes you think about that when you have built a name that’s connected to someone else…

But who’s to say that it would have stuck?

People are weird about names. Nowadays we brand them, package them, and throw them at people as if they were .99 cent hot dogs or something.

2015 headshot

I am clearly not a hot dog. I’m also not very photogenic when I’m trying to be a serious author. My headshots had to be updated, but it took me a while to let myself be free. Sure I did sing onstage before but that wasn’t a weird intimate sessions with 1 other stranger who kept telling you to angle your chin down. haha

In 2015 I took on a full time technical writing position which made me view writing from a completely different light. It became my livelihood.

It’s silly but I think that’s how my writing stopped being so stiff. Because that’s what it was in the beginning. Stiff. It held just a small sliver of my personality. Being forced to do the boring stuff made my free writes more important. I learned to fly free on paper I started opening up on film too.

old headshot

It’s a weird thing to be an author; you want to share everything but have to at least hang onto 1 piece of yourself to stay grounded.

head shot

It clicks eventually. You find your balance. You learn when to sneak in metaphors and jokes, how to properly detail each page. You grow up just enough to be professional while still jumping on the bed and chasing butterflies to remain the kid you always were.

headshot 3

I mean, look at that kid. That’s who I was before the music industry gave my ideologies a beating. I was a writer then too, but I didn’t know it. To me, writers were bitter old drunk men who went on and on about how bleak and tragic life is. YUCK. I could never be that. I mean, who actually wants to be that miserable all the time? Definitely not me.

small headshot

But something amazing happens when we realize exactly where we’re meant to be. We loosen up, laugh easier, and naturally develop our personal talents.

Some stories are better than others. Some headshots are too. My ultimate goal is to always keep learning, improving, reaching out to as many people as I can. Finding everyone’s commonalities that link us in our crazy journey through life and humanity.

After 9 years I have had over 100 piece published. This includes articles, essays, short stories, novelettes, novellas, novels, children’s books. No, I didn’t count blog posts in that number. This is me just rambling to sort things out. I hope maybe my sorting helps you get some of your own craziness in order.

9 years sounds like a long time when you’re standing at the beginning. It’s part of the reason I didn’t grow up to be a veterinarian. It took 8 years of college and I couldn’t fathom that.

But if someone had told me on that first day back on June 18th, 2011 that I would still be going strong, that I would have just signed the biggest contract of my life, and all this after 9 years of hard agonizing work… IDK what I would have said. I like work. I like to dedicate and commit myself when it comes to something really worth while and the longer you do something the less towering something like 9 years or a decade looks like. I probably would have thought it was a joke. Like everything else.

I’m still not a cranky drunk old man. Thankfully I won’t ever have to be. Despite that, I still somehow get to be a writer and enjoy the wide range of emotions that come from a simple string of words.

There’s some serious magic in knowing that.

4 thoughts on “9 Years a Writer

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