How I went from government drone to helping entrepreneurs and publishers create their books
I had no idea I was a writer. In fact, I hated writing and never dreamed I would wind up creating books for a living – the things I treasured most.
I was a government employee for the first eight years of my career, working first for the public defender as an investigator and then for in civil rights as an investigator and mediator. I spent much of my time writing lengthy legal reports with the provable facts, the legal standard, and my recommendation for each case. As you can imagine, what could be a juicy story had to be made into dry factual statements, or they wouldn’t be taken seriously.
I was good at stating “just the facts, ma’am,” but I was bored. I even snuck in references to “pieces of flair” from the movie Office Space into one report just to see if I could get away with it (shhh, don’t tell anyone!).
It all changed when…
In 2012 my mother passed away, and I was going through grief and the startling realization that life is short. My career was going well, but I knew there had to be more. Was cubicle life all there was to it?
The answer slowly became clear: no. The bureaucracy, the lack of creativity…. Uggghh. But what to do? I had no idea, until I met a group of entrepreneurial friends who changed the way I thought about how we work and define life for ourselves.
Inspired by their chutzpah, I decided I would quit and follow a lifelong dream: To travel by myself for an extended period of time. It’s almost cliched at this point, but that didn’t make it any less pressing. I had to go. I quit my job, packed my apartment, “loaned” my cat to a friend, and left for South America in May 2013.
Shesgotballz.com (just kidding)
To ease the nerves of my family, I promised I would keep a blog so they would know where I wound up during my travels. Just for giggles, I asked friends for input about the name of the site. I got all sorts of ideas – two friends thought it was daring that a woman would travel alone to South America, so they suggested I name it shesgotballz.com. As you can imagine, I passed on that particular suggestion.
When I quit, I thought I would be done with writing and I had no plans to make it big with the blog. I was in no hurry to get back to a keyboard at all, but sharing the cities and the mountains and the people and the food and the stories just … flowed. Surprisingly, it was easy to write.
I shared my posts on social media so friends could follow along. And surprise surprise, it wasn’t just my family members reading my posts. My friends and colleagues liked them too, and they wanted more.
A baby writer is born
As my trip continued, I found new ways of expressing myself outside of the rigid box of what had been previously expected of me. I could see what worked with readers and what didn’t. I learned who my audience was and who it wasn’t, and I learned to let it go when people didn’t love a particular piece.
Before long, a friend of mine asked if she could have a freelance writer interview me for her magazine. She wanted a piece about the benefits of travel and introspection. I asked her if I could write it myself – and thus was born my first freelance piece.
From there, my writing career slowly developed, one published piece at a time. I started acquiring clients, some corporate, some entrepreneurial. I started writing for newspapers, both local (Des Moines Register) and national (Harvard Business Review).
It wasn’t long before I was working with entrepreneurs who needed help with their books – a dream career, given that I’ve been a bookworm devouring book after book since the moment I could read.
Now, after just five years a writer and editor, I work with authors and publishing companies all over North America to create and publish their work. I went from the grueling equivalent of TPS reports (see what I did there?) to self-expression, and there is no greater joy than helping writers find their own voice.
Oh, are you wondering where I’m from? You know, the basics? I live in Superior, Colorado, just between Denver and Boulder. I have a spirited toddler named Lily and a partner-in-crime named Ryan, both of whom keep me on my toes. My fave authors are John Steinbeck, Paulo Coelho, and Edith Wharton, to name a few. You can keep me happy with spaghetti, chocolate, and coffee, not necessarily together. I choose my clients based on mutual affinity and connection, so if there is anything else you want to know about me, don’t hesitate to ask – because I won’t.