Finding My Way
When I started this journey into becoming a full-time writer, I have to admit, I didn’t really have a real direction or purpose other than to write. I had grown increasingly tired (fed up) with my career choice in information technology as I felt stagnate. This stagnation was the catalyst to finally switch gears and explore the other passion in my life: writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always love technology. I love gadgets, new software and hardware, and yes, even programming, but doing this kind of work for as many years as I have, it’s magical spark had lost its luster. As I’ve grown older, I have come to realize I really don’t have that hunger to get in there and fight for a higher position. I’d accomplished most of what I had wanted in my IT career, and the only other real options were in management. Yuck! You don’t get to play with technology wearing a suit. No thanks!
To combat some of that lack of interest and drive in IT, I went back to college. I enrolled in a cybersecurity degree plan and had a bit of excitement in my heart for this new endeavor. However, after a couple of courses, it soon became very clear that I was one, too experienced and overqualified for the coursework, and two, bored to tears. The classes didn’t excite me, except when I completed one. I struggled for two years to enjoy each class. Yes, I did well grade-wise, but I hated every moment of it.
Then, one day, a little reminder popped into my head. A fellow security colleague told me some useful and life-changing advice that I had recalled in the most interesting time. He knew I hadn’t finished my degree and wanted to. (I was lured away from college with a very well-paying programming job.) He gave me the simplest and yet best advice I’d had. Just get any degree. It doesn’t matter in what. Most companies just want you to have a piece of paper.
Hmmm, as I was so close to quitting again, I revisited this advice and did the unthinkable. I switched colleges and degree programs completely. I always had a love of writing, so I found Southern New Hampshire University which had so many writing programs to choose from. I looked at their technical writing program and was about to apply for it when that little voice in my head told me not to. “Don’t do it. You’ve been a technical writer as long as you’ve been an IT professional. Do something new, something fresh and exciting. Something to stimulate your mind and creativity.”
So, I figured if I was going to invest all of this time and money for “just a piece of paper” I’d at least have some fun with it. I excitedly began my educational journey into creative writing by enrolling in SNHU’s Creative Writing and English program. I know my family (minus the hubby) thought I was nuts for wasting my time and money, but I knew deep down this was the right choice. It felt good. I was really excited for the first time in a long time. And besides, I wasn’t leaving my long-time career as an IT professional.
At least that wasn’t my original plans. As I got deeper into my degree program and had numerous professors telling me that I was a good writer (wait what?) it soon became apparent it was time to change careers. I loved and excelled in writing. I could write about any topic with fervor, enthusiasm, and authority (with a bit of research sometimes). People seemed to enjoy reading what I wrote. It was truly one of those “Aha!” moments. At this point in my life, I was in desperate need of change. However, at my age, it could be very difficult.
Age be damned, I told myself as I kept plowing through each course with gusto and success. Each professor gave me so much encouragement and help to get a leg up in the industry. They really helped build up my confidence and were instrumental to my success.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude in May and haven’t looked back since. Now, I won’t tell you that I’m not insecure or unconfident as I apply for different writing jobs. I’m like every writer out there, uncertain I have the chops to do the job. I just keep reminding myself of all of those professors who actually gushed or marveled at my writing; always telling me that I should do this type or that type of writing as a professional as I was “that good.”
With all of that encouragement, it caused a rare (and yes, blessed) quandary. Where do I take these writing skills? What kind of writing should I do? I had so many options (well, still do) that I didn’t have a clue which way to go. Honestly, at this point, I just wanted a writing job that paid me something. I wasn’t feeling too picky. So, I applied for just about any job that remotely involved writing. And this technique worked. I have landed 3 solid and completely different writing gigs.
What have these jobs told me? Exactly what kind of writing and where to take my career going forward. While I will keep writing for these companies to keep the lights on, for now, I know the perfect solution for writing jobs for me. Taking my love of technology, gadgets, nerdy/geeky stuff and writing about it. Not technical writing, but consumer level technology how-to’s, geeky news, etc. I get to flex my techy side with my creative side. The perfect marriage of both careers I have/had. While this isn’t my end goal or ultimate career, it certainly pays decently yet gives me the time to work on the more “special” projects I have lined up. What are those projects? I might tell ya in another story. Stay tuned.