I’m Sarah. I’m 39, and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.
All my life, I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid, I would write letters and words in my storybooks and bang on my mom’s old typewriter. I loved writing and typing and I started a million diaries and journals – although I could never stick with journaling consistently so most of them have five or fewer entries. When other kids would grumble about school writing assignments, I secretly delighted in the prospect of sitting down with fresh, clean lined notebook paper (I prefer college ruled) and sharpened pencils (my favorite!) and a head full of ideas.
My mom was a reporter and an editor, and she always seemed content with her job and her work, she was proud of her career and I loved that she always seemed to be in the know about what was happening in the community and in the world, and thereby I always seemed to be in the know.
So when it came time to apply for higher education and think about my future career, there was never any question. I went to college and got a degree in journalism.
Unfortunately, as it turns out, journalism is not a lucrative career. The pay is terrible (my first job in 2003 paid $17,400 a year), the hours can be awful, and the work stressful. I lasted five years at my first newspaper, a weekly suburban paper where I began as staff writer, moved up to managing editor, and eventually became the only employee for two weekly newspaper, and the pressure and workload were crushing. The Internet was taking over and newspapers were a sinking ship.
I left the newspaper industry, and to make a long, painful story short, I took a job as “creative director” with a private industrial service company, and it was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. In my “creative director” role I wound up selling parts, invoicing customers, ordering office supplies, and generally wasting my skills and experience. Then I had a very awkward and uncomfortable front-row seat to the business owner’s personal and professional self-destruction.
So in 2010, I found myself unemployed and confused about what to do for the rest of my life. I turned to what I know: writing and editing. Over the next eight years, I would take on various freelance clients and projects, and become a mom (the – ahem – mother of all hard jobs). I had two steady clients during that time, but last year one retired, and the other decided to quit outsourcing and bring the work in-house.
Still confused about what to do for the rest of my life and with a lot of working years ahead of me, I plodded along, working on various, mostly short-term freelance writing and editing projects.
Then not long ago, my friend Kristen posed the question: “If there were no obstacles in your way, and you could do anything, what would be your dream job?”
I thought for a moment, about how I would like to spend my days, and earn a living, and I realized it was still writing. But the ability to make an actual living by writing has eluded me for years.
“I’d love to run a successful blog,” I said. “Writing about mom stuff, DIY, saving money, that sort of thing.”
“Then just do it,” she said. “How hard can it be? I’d read your blog.” It seemed so simple. Just do it.
I realized then that I had thought about blogging a lot over the years. I’ve admired Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, who began with a blog and has built a literal empire with her own little corner of Food Network, even opening a cute little market and a bed and breakfast. (Not to mention her adorable husband and her well-behaved children who say “yes sir” and “no ma’am.”) My brother gave me her newest cookbook for Christmas, and I literally swooned when I opened to the title page and saw that he’d gotten it autographed for me. The Pioneer Woman knows my name!
I had even done some research on launching a blog (and by research I mean that I pinned about 700 things on Pinterest), brainstormed blog niches and topics, and I even started a few (which are now just taking up space on the inter webs) but I never loved them enough to keep them going.
So here I am, taking Kristen’s advice and just doing it, but hopefully for real this time. I don’t know much about SEO and HTML or web design, and I am certainly no Ree Drummond, but I’m hoping to pick things up as I go along. I’m looking forward to writing for myself, for a change. I’m not sure if I’ll be successful, if I’ll ever make a living doing this, if I’ll write anything anyone (other than my mom) will be excited to read. But I hope I will, and if nothing else, I’m following this dream. And I promise not to put it on a shelf after five entries.
Follow the dream with me!
P.S. I get by with a little help from my friends: I built this blog and website by hand, but I don’t really know the first thing about graphic web design, so I enlisted the help of some very kind friends, who are very good at what they do. If you’re ever in need of a graphic designer or web designer, look no further than Melissa at MFrench Creative and Jody at Antrimweb Internet Marketing.