I wrote my first book around the age of five.
I stapled together several sheets of construction paper and then set about the task of composing my one-draft debut. I wrote (and illustrated!) a story about a princess. I can’t recall any of the details but I know it was about a princess because that is what young girls were told to think about in the early 80s . That, and I can still see her deformed side profile in my mind. I was not born to be an artist.
But from then on, I knew: I am a writer.
I wrote more stories in elementary school. I wrote book reports and essays for fun. I worked on every yearbook and newspaper staff I had access to. I chose writing-intensive college tracks even though I wasn’t studying English. And throughout my employment career, I flexed my writing muscles in every position I held, at every level, in every industry. I also built a wide array of other skills, hard and soft.
As a solo business owner, you have to be a lot more than just a writer in order to make it work. For me, that didn’t just mean being a marketer and an accounting pro and a customer service department. It also meant I needed to diversify my work. If you already know me or my work, you know I’m also a lot of other things on top of being a writer. For a while, when I was younger, I might have thought that those other things were taking me away from writing entirely. In some respect, they did for a while. But that was temporary. Real writers always come back.
Now, it seems clear to me that all of those other things helped me become a better writer. Because of my time working in human resources and technology, I can write to those audiences with a better understanding of their needs and perspectives. Because of my travels, I don’t suffer from tunnel vision that prevents some writers from being truly creative. Because of my ability to adapt to change (thanks to growing up as a military brat), I can respond to new opportunities and changing conditions without anxiety.
I’ve always said that context matters. Only now am I beginning to understand how much it matters to me.
For the past few years, the bulk of my work has not been writing. I’ve been doing a lot more research, social media, and project management work, with bits of writing mixed in. I’m not likely to give up any of that work any time soon because I honestly love it. But the more writing I did, the more I realized how much I had missed it. Then I added a few more writing projects to my docket…
Let’s just say, it feels great to come back.