I follow Nova Ren Suma’s blog. She has a turning points series that makes me realize I am not alone. A lot of people have struggled to become the writers they are today. You can check them out at distraction no.99. Her turning points have been put on a hiatus while she is at a writer’s colony for a month, so I thought it would be a good time to write about my own turning point.
Just a dream
Writing to me is everything. When I was fifteen I began writing my first novel. I never finished it. Instead every year I would pull it out and add to it. Mostly I would end up rewriting the whole thing. I always wanted to be a writer, but I always thought writing my own books was just something I would dream about.
I pursued a degree in journalism. While I was in school I wrote for my college newspaper. I even worked my way into becoming the Assistant News Editor my final year. I could write news stories or opinion pieces no problem, but I secretly always wrote for myself. It was how I coped with my emotions. I would write poems, but I wouldn’t show them to any one. My creative writing was something I did just for me. I never planned to actually pursue a creative writing career. I thought I would become a journalist because that’s what I went to school for. I realized I didn’t want to write for a newspaper as a career. It didn’t make me happy.
Once I graduated, I was lost. I even went to culinary school thinking I wanted to became a food writer. It became more stressful emotionally and financially, so I quit. I no longer wanted to write about food. I felt like I was one step closer to figuring out what I wanted to do. I couldn’t get a job because I had no experience and I had no experience because I couldn’t get a job. One of my friends from college told me about a freelance writing opportunity for a local newspaper. I applied and a few weeks later I was called into an interview. I was excited when they offered me the job, but it didn’t take me long to realize I had thrown myself back into a career I didn’t really want for myself. On top of that I couldn’t afford to pay my bills with this job alone. I got to the point where I was working four jobs. I was depressed. I couldn’t picture a future for myself, and I was physically, emotionally, and financially drained. This wasn’t the life I wanted for myself.
I realized if I was going to ever be happy I had to decide to make the changes in my life. I quit my jobs and moved to Arizona to try to make a fresh start. I vigorously applied for all kinds of jobs. A month later I was offered a copy-writing position. It seemed like the perfect job. I worked 9-5 M-F and I had the weekends off. I told myself I was happy. This was what I wanted. It wasn’t.
I stared at a computer for eight hours a day, writing about boring topics. The money was good, which was nice since I have a lot of student loan payments. I felt like I was always struggling. Nothing I did was ever good enough. I was afraid I was going to lose this amazing job. Everyday I went home afraid that was going to be my last day. When I received my first review I wanted to cry. I knew I wasn’t going to last long at this company. This was my first real job and I was failing. I had never failed at anything. I even graduated a cum laude so this experience was new to me. The day they finally let me go, I thanked them for the opportunity and I walked out the door. I couldn’t even cry. I came home and I stared at the ceiling in my room trying to will the tears to come. I felt like a failure. I decided writing wasn’t for me. I thought I would never write again.
A light at the end of the tunnel
Losing this job was an eye-opener for me. While I am still ashamed that I failed at my first real job, I realize it was the best thing that could have happened for me. I knew I wasn’t happy there. Before I was fired I started dreading going into work every morning. I couldn’t see myself doing that job every day for the rest of my life.
During my month of unemployment I had time to reflect on everything. It just happened to be November and the beginning of NovWriMo. I pulled out my old novel. Tore it apart and began writing for myself again. This time I added my feelings into the situations. This time I finished the novel. I found my love for writing again.
That’s when I knew without a doubt it was time to try for my dream. I wanted to write my own book and this was the perfect time to try. I was young, single, and had nothing to hold me back. I am not a published author yet, but I hope to change that. I write and work everyday to reach my dreams. My struggles are far from over and there are still days I wake up afraid of the future, but there is no giving up this time. I have found who I am. I am a writer and I always will be.