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START HERE: Why I Call Myself a Writer

In April of 2018, my mom was killed in a hit and run. I tried to go back to my "normal life" but I couldn't. I'd worked hard to get where I was - I worked in accounting for a government agency, and I had great benefits and a good retirement. But I desperately missed my mom, and I now lived with the sharp reality that life can change in a blink.

Big choices in small moments can change the course of our lives.

I had been working as a freelance writer for over 10 years, making money on the side for fun. I dreamed of being a full time writer "some day" but I was sitting in my office on my 48th birthday when I had a flash of a thought. I think I'm going to give myself the best birthday present ever. And so I did. I submitted my resignation and launched my business. I felt free and excited and so proud of myself...until I didn't.

I remember standing at my front window on the first Monday working from home. I was frozen with fear, a steaming mug of coffee in my hand, staring at my neighbors all leaving for work and wondering what the heck had just happened. What had I done? A voice echoed in my head and said, "Who do you think you are?"

For a few minutes I listened to that voice. I didn't have a college education. I was a nobody. I was too old. I was a fake, a wanna-be, a joke. I stumbled into my office with tears in my eyes. Maybe I could get my job back. Maybe it wasn't too late.

I sat down at my desk and spotted something sitting on a stack of papers. It was an old card from my mom. I opened it up and read these words:

"Jenna, you are a writer."

That was enough. I turned on my computer and got to work. I told everyone in my life that I was open for business. I followed up on every lead. I built a website. I got active on social media. I talked to anyone and everyone who would pay me to write anything. I worked harder than I've ever worked in my life. And that brought me to this moment. I still have a lot to learn. I still hear that voice sometimes. But I keep moving forward, and I keep working. Because life is too short to waste on fear and the ugly labels we give ourselves. The future is waiting. We just have to learn to listen to the right voices.



Photo: Gabriel Ramirez

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