l'm a professional writer. I say this because, frankly, I can't stop feeling good about the fact that I can. But I also say it because, and this is in direct relation to the aforementioned good feeling, being a writer isn't something that'd evidently follow my earlier life.
I've started writing during my teenage years, but never was particularly serious about it. When I had something to say, I did. To be more specific: when I was in love, I wrote poems. That was about the extent of it.
Around the time it was time for me to off to college I got involved with a highly creative group - and although I did again had a few words to say, and I shared those with others who were appreciative and supportive, it again didn't really pan out into something that I considered as a career option.
A few poems of mine, and a sort of micro-fiction written for an event even got published, which had me bouncing around happily for weeks. (Granted, it was one of those "pay-to-play" schemes, something 1 since learned to avoid - and publicly shame every chance I get - but still. I was young and didn't know any better.) But the only fairly tangible thing I got out of it was a year free at the local library, after I gifted them a copy of the anthology I was published in.
At college I was an English major. (At first. I went around, due to my laziness, and lad of focus and any sense of adult responsibility toward my future I between different faculties, from law school to computer science. Strangely, it ended up being one of the most beneficial thing in my life. But more on that a bit later.)
A lot of writers get their start as lit majors. I didn't. I was more interested in the meta, in figuring out what made the works of others tick than creating on my own.
After bouncing around in college for eight years, I started working as an administrator at a real estate development firm. After that I went to the UK and took all sorts of odd jobs. Then a stint back in my home town (during which I worked in a kitchen) and some months in the UK again, I rolled the dice and got an internship in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Mind you, the internship wasn't for writing. It was for social media. Writing content came as a secondary part of the job. And it turned out to be just the thing I wanted to end up doing primarily.
When my time with the company ended, I decided to try my hand at being a freelancer content writer. (And social media strategist.) This is the here and now.
Thus, l've become a professional writer. Funny how things wok out, huh?
There are two of points in this story I'd like to elaborate on. (For now.)
One. The fact I only recently arrived to the conscious decision of becoming a writer wasn't due to a lack of support. Almost every person I've ever met in connection with my writing has been tremendously supportive: from my mother-naturally! -to my friends to my colleagues. Did I receive criticism? Of course! But never, not once, did anyone ever tell me I was delusional.
(With one exception: my Lit teacher in 4th grade did tell me I'll not amount to anything ever. That's a lovely thing to say to a nine-year-old.)
Two. I don't consider myself a particularly good writer. Part of that is because English is a't my native language. (I could write in Hungarian I suppose, but I don't want to.) Another part is that I'm very-very new to this.
I'm certainly a competent writer. I have no problem stating that much. I couldn't have built a career (however humble) otherwise. And I have the interest, passion, and determination to get better.
But my biggest asset by far is the thing I, for the longest time, considered my biggest failure.
I never finished college, never got a degree. What I did get, however, is the ability to A) learn about new things very quickly and effectively; and B) a much wider base of knowledge than what's usual. (As I came to recognize.)
Both have served me well in my career. Being able to do the same amount of research in half the time, and not be daunted by any topic, is invaluable to a freelance writer. I can write with authority on a range of subjects that creates more opportunities for me.
And beyond my current career, I can utilize a lot more texture in my fiction writing. Also my interest and education in the "meta" of writing leads me to experiment , with a certain degree of confidence, in my fiction (and in my non-fiction, too, if the client is open for such) with mechanics that others wouldn't consider fun or interesting or worthwhile. For example, I can attempt to write a science-fiction story in a Renaissance English poetic form, and a fairly obscure at that, while playing with interactivity and historical events in it. It goes horribly slowly - but then again I'm not (yet) under a deadline and having a lot of fun.
All this to say: my career is somewhat different from others. Writers come in all shapes and sizes. We all bring our stories into our stories. And we should. I could try to emulate someone else, or force the "blueprint" of their career onto nine, however in doing so l 'd be denying my stories what makes them my stories.
To anyone out there struggling: you do you. If I could become a writer, so can you.