When I was in the third grade, I decided I wanted to become Murphy Brown. Candace Bergen’s character was the epitome of cool — smart, funny, and a kick-ass journalist who could take down politicians with her pointed questions. She traveled to foreign lands and reported on important issues. I wanted to do that. Except, journalism is hard and I didn’t have a hard edge for reporting, which I learned, when I became the news editor at my college paper.
So, I changed my major from journalism to history. I discovered I had a real appreciation for Latin American history, so during my senior year of college, I applied for doctoral program in Latin American studies. Except, I could never get my GRE scores high enough to properly apply. So I did a Master’s degree program in English As A Second Language and taught for five years. I was good at my job and I loved my students, but I got burnt out quick. So I went to library school and became a young adult librarian for two years until I had my son and decided to stay home with him.
At 36 years old, I’ve earned three degrees and have had two major careers. But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my second son that I decided to buckle down and write my first book. I love YA literature and I had a story idea to write a novel set in the mid-1990s. It was a ghost romance and mystery and was the epitome of a crappy first draft. But, every night while my son slept, I systematically revised the manuscript until it resembled an actual book someone could read and enjoy. Long story short, it was published by a small press and saw the light of day and readers for the first time in 2014.
After that, I told my husband — I have finally found what I want to do with the rest of my life. I want to be an author. I want to write books. I want to publish. I don’t want to go back to a 9-5 job. As much as I loved teaching and being a librarian, I don’t see myself being as passionate about those careers as I am about writing.
Somehow, I’m going to make a living doing this. I’m self-publishing and I have a few years to build up my work and, hopefully, sales before my youngest starts school. And if my writing doesn’t pay the bills, then yes, I will have to find employment again. But, I’m not longing to be anything else other than a writer. It just took 30-someodd years to figure that out.