Being a freelancer was challenging. For six months, I juggled hustling for work and doing the actual work. There had been little time for me to sit down and write it all down… and, thanks to my new job, I have even less.
A little background to bring you up to speed:
- Ever since my seventh-grade English teacher wrote long, glowing praise on my writing (along with a big glowing ‘A’), I believed that I had it in me to be a successful writer.
- I pursued Chemistry instead because it was practical. I went on to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry and pursued a Ph.D. in Chemistry.
- I didn’t finish the Ph.D. program, leaving after 1½ years and getting a job as a substitute high school teacher (tenth-grade Chemistry) and then as a research chemist at a couple of start-up companies in the East Bay.
- Dreadfully unhappy, I left Chemistry as a career and pursued writing instead. Thanks to a close friend, I got a long-term freelance writing gig, but it wasn’t until I moved to Singapore in 2011 that a professional writing career became realistic.
- I wrote for a couple of print magazines and then took time off to travel. I made the move back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2012 and, with some savings in the bank, made the decision to stick it out until June 2013 before seriously considering returning to Singapore.
- In April 2013, I was offered a position of Copywriter for the e-commerce division of Party City. Deliriously happy, I accepted it in a half-second.
So that’s where we (well, I) are now. After stints as a nameless contributor, associate editor and marcom manager, I am now a bona fide professional writer, and a marketing one at that.
Which brings me to the idea of reinvention. I came across this article on LinkedIn that got me to thinking about my most recent reinvention. The “simple steps” described in the article are deceptively difficult and of the seven tips offered, I have done only two:
- Don’t be afraid to go backwards temporarily. Have I ever mentioned that I’ve had to borrow money from my mother so that I could survive here in San Francisco? Twice? Talk about going backwards and downwards.
- Show what you know. Blogging has been more from a love and passion for writing than a conscious effort to show off my writing chops. It and my past work have gotten me to the position of writing all the damn time and getting paid for it!
That’s not to suggest that I no longer have any ambitions now that I’m doing it full-time. I want to be an editor someday, leading and guiding the vision of a brand. I want to be a trend-setter and an influencer. I want to direct attention away from really stupid things (people make a big deal out of Amanda Bynes) and to more important ones like tailoring your clothes, salting the water you boil your pasta in, and never mixing vodka with champagne (it might be the stupidest waste of champagne ever, after the obligatory champagne shower at certain award ceremonies).
But at the end of the day… and the next and the next and the next, I am a writer. And proof that anything you set your mind to and work hard for is possible.