I’ve been busy brewing some magic the past few months, and now that I’ve made a bit of headway, I am excited to share what I’ve been working on.
Two months ago, Lamisha at Life Once Dreamt responded to one of my angsty, what-is-the-meaning-of-life posts and closed with “If there is anything I can do to assist you please let me know. I would love to work with you.” I felt stuck, I knew that I needed help getting un-stuck, and someone I barely knew was offering that help.
So, of course, I said, “Yes.” In a timid, yet excited voice, with an implied, “Are you sure about this?” I gratefully accepted her assistance.
I have publicly confessed that my life often feels like a perpetual existential crisis, that post-college life has fallen short of expectation, and that I am far too often frightened to take the first steps towards my biggest dreams. Fear and self-doubt creep into my posts nearly as often as inspired optimism. I have already made myself vulnerable in this space. However, I have found this to be a safe place to be open. There was nothing to lose.
Up until age ten, I wanted to be an author–alongside caring for people’s pets (including reptiles, to my mother’s dismay) and painting “happy little trees” like Bob Ross. My parents were always fully supportive of my dreams and helped me develop what they viewed as my “gifts.” However, when I began scoring exceptionally high in the maths and sciences, my dreams of writing began to wither. At age eleven, I went to an incredible, two-week STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) camp at ASU for girls, where we talked to scientists, played with gigantic microscopes, and built roller coasters on a computer simulator and then with foam half-pipes and marbles. With all the talk of how we desperately need more women in science, I felt obliged to follow that trajectory. I have always been equally interested in practical and creative fields… But revolutionary ideas are worth nothing until they’ve been conveyed and received by an audience.
Early on in our coaching, I told Lamisha: I want to be a writer. I studied Psychology, I work in Information Technology, but I want to be a writer. Someday. Maybe.
She quickly corrected me: “Erin, you ARE a writer.” After a laundry list of my accomplishments, dreams, and previous work within the realm, I began to believe her. Today, I fully embrace that fact: I am a writer. I manage a blog, I’ve written a novel in a month, I’ve successfully completed many freelance projects for clients, I send thoughtful notes and emails, and I journal almost daily. I am a writer.
In our bi-monthly coaching calls and regular check-in emails, we continually revisit my Ultimate Dream:
To build a consistent, substantial, and sustainable income writing content that I am passionate about, paired with the freedom to work when I want, from wherever I please.
Two months ago, that sounded like an absurdly unrealistic pipe-dream. The further I lean into my fears and insecurities, however, the more I realize that this is entirely possible and plausible. This is not just a dream anymore; this is the path that I am traveling.
Shortly before working with Lamisha, I had gone through and read journals from the past two years. Two years ago, I wrote, “There is so much I want to do, so many things I am meant to do; I feel like I have so much potential, but I just don’t know where to begin.” Feeling a mild sense of deja vu, I scanned through my current journal. I saw the exact same sentiments. With all I have learned, I have not taken action.
Working with a coach has helped me to step into the unknown and take action in the face of fear. Being a striver and goal-setter, I have a tendency to check items off a list, rather than celebrate the successes as they come. Therefore, I would love to share my favorite “Wins” over the past nine weeks, both as a source of inspiration for you and a reminder to myself of how far I have come. What follows is my progress report:
- I have become comfortable saying: I am a writer. To friends, family, strangers and, most importantly, to myself.
- I have accepted the fact that formal training and qualifications do not matter. What truly counts is one’s passion, perseverance, and relentless desire to improve.
- I asked myself: What do I do? Answer: Personally, I write at the intersection of empathy and analysis. Professionally, I help individuals and small businesses tell their story and promote their passion.
- I submitted a piece on a site that I regularly visit (which was terrifying!), and it was selected to be published there (which was exhilarating)!
- I noticed nuances–more often than not, I would return to the sessions with above-and-beyond tasks completed; however, I did so to mask the fact that I was struggling to accomplish the actual assignment. This realization helped me become more gentle and forgiving of myself, as well as pushed me to focus on and prioritize the things that really matter.
- I’ve been slowly working to map out my ideal day and my ultimate lifestyle. I’m learning to let go of social standard and “realistic” goals and embrace what I truly desire.
- I was interviewed for a yet-unpublished interview on the site of a fellow blogger.
- Someone from my network who is well-connected and successful in his field contacted me and suggested we collaborate on future projects, doing precisely the type of work that I love doing.
- I was invited to participate on the Launch Team for Paul Angone’s debut book, 101 Secrets for Your 20s. It was fun and a great behind-the-scenes look at the final steps leading up to a book release. It took five years and several rejections before he was published–a lesson that, with perseverance, anything is possible.
- I learned to follow my inspiration. I said yes to things that scared me, but that my heart longed for; this included agreeing to attend a personal development retreat abroad in the near future. I also said no to “perfect” opportunities that felt wrong; one such instance was resigning from my position on the advisory board of local nonprofit.
- I prepared for World Domination Summit by drafting a one-liner about what I do and how I can help people, printing business cards, and setting measurable goal. One goal was to connect with certain people who I know or follow online, but had not yet met in real life. I was successful in achieving all of my goals.
- Upon returning from Portland, my mother said she recognized the same excitement, passion, and drive that she experienced when she was self-employed and entrenched her truest passions and personal development. That meant a lot to me because, while growing up, I thought my mom was superwoman–she was happy, healthy, successful, involved, ever-curious, and my favorite role-model. To achieve even half of what she did would make me happy; to achieve ten-fold what she did is my hope.
- Post-WDS, the founder of the conference, Chris Guillebeau highlighted my blog post on his site. Then another fellow attendee featured the same article on his site.
- I helped a local nonprofit that I support write their training manual.
- I created an online portfolio of my work.
- I attended a workshop on Writing Tools for the 21st Century with Jeff Moriarty and Evo Terra of Epublish Unum. I watched a Google Hangout session with Lynan Saperstein of The Big Factor on the topic What Should I Charge? I went through Jeff Goin’s exercise to find your writing voice. I am re-reading Pamela Slim’s Escape From Cubicle Nation. I am working on Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map and Barrett Brooks’ Career Kickstarter e-course. And, finally, I took the Gallup Strengths Finder discovery survey and discovered my top 5 strengths.
- I joined Toastermasters, with the goal of becoming just as comfortable and skilled with public speaking as I am with crafting the written word. Whatever I do in life, I know I will be a leader, so I would like to develop the necessary skills sooner than later. Within Toastmasters, I’ve participated in Table Topics twice; I survived.
- An incredible client I have been working with for the past two years contacted me wanting to partner up to rejuvenate her blog and business site, and generally kickstart the next stage of her life.
- I was acknowledged by my life coach on her blog for my progress and was offered the privilege of writing her first testimonial. She is incredible and I cannot praise her enough!
- I have been browsing online for freelance writing gigs, applying for only those opportunities that truly excite me.
- Over the past two months, I have been very open with my inner-circle about what I’m doing, including my fears, accomplishments, questions, and hopes. I have been flooded with loving support and helpful feedback from those closest to me. I’m hoping I will find that same level of support here, from you and all my incredible readers.
- Most importantly, I have gained an immeasurable level of confidence in my writing, which has extended into all other areas of my life.
In the near future, I intend to start taking on clients for freelance projects: Bio statements, mission statements, vision statements, testimonials, blog posts, product and service descriptions, speeches, general copy-writing, and editing. If you enjoy my writing style and are interested in amping up current content or crafting something entirely new, keep me in mind. If you simply cannot wait to work with me, send me an email via the contact box above. Otherwise, keep on the lookout for a “work with me” tab, which will include service descriptions, testimonials, and any other relevant information (I still have research to do).
My day-job pays the bills; however, there is little left over. I’ve been investing money into my own personal development, and I would like to be able to fund these classes, coaching, travel, and humanitarian projects without draining my savings account. What better way to do that than through writing: the very area that these investments continually bolster?
Currently, the difference between my income and frugal spending is being siphoned into these “investments”: Toastmasters, self-hosting for this blog, books, workshops, SkillShare classes, and the 3-hours of free wi-fi and friendly smiles that come with a $4 purchase from my favorite little coffee shop. I want the small luxuries that fuel my passion to be funded by my passion. Yes, I would eventually love to write full time. At the moment, I would be content if my “midnight hustle” would simply pay for my hobbies and self-education.
In the near future, I want to: take a few classes (educational and fun ), upgrade my tortuously slow, all-I-could-afford-at-the-time laptop, invest in Scrivener and edit my novel, travel and meet amazing people, buy that book that everyone keeps recommending without feeling guilty about fiances, join a “real” yoga studio and perhaps even become a certified instructor. I want to fearlessly check more items off of my Big To-Do List. I hope to continually strive to find joy in contentment in everyday living and relish the “little things,” which are often, in retrospect, big things.
I’m jumping in with both feet. If there is anything you would like to see more of here on the blog, a theme or quality to my writing that you want to point out, or anything that could help move me forward–both on the blog and my budding writing business–I always love honest feedback and I greatly appreciate all support. If there is ever anything I can do to help you, know that all you have to do is ask.
Thank you for joining me on this wonderful adventure. For those of you who have been hanging around for nearly three years waiting for me to figure things out, I have good news and bad news. Bad news: I never will. Good news: I am getting pretty darn close!
Big dreams paired with small efforts lead to incredible results. Keep dreaming, my friends!