When you find your happy place, hold on to it. Run with it.
Today’s the day. Today is the day that I move one step closer to a goal that I have been trying to reach since I was 12 or 13 years old. By this time next year, I want to be able to say that I am not only a writer but I am also a writer that get’s paid.
I already know what you are thinking. “Stephanie didn’t you say that last year.”
You even have a post @Medium all about it, Writing: Committing to my True love (for real this time).
But this time will be different. The how and what is currently unknown. But I’m doing it.
I have to do it.
My interest in writing evolved as soon as I found books that I enjoyed reading. My sister would read the teen love stories and like the jean hand-me-downs, my mom would push to use those. But I hated reading them. My sister took the books everywhere, reading them in lines, restaurants and in the car. Luckily or unlucky motion sickness protected me from reading in the car.
But my interest in reading changed as soon as I picked up my first Christopher Pike book. Chain Letter was the first pre-teen thriller novel that I read.
I was hooked!
Thrillers were my thing. I read every Christopher Pike book I could get my hands on.
I started inventing my own stories in my head. Often involving kidnappings, police chases, foot chases and hostage situations. So vivid it was like creating movies in my head. Sometimes I would linger in bed just a few a minutes longer to play out the story a little bit longer.
This lead me to write my first screenplay.
Writing for the screen was like recording what was playing in my head. The dialogue. The actions. The characters. I loved plotting everything out. My first pass was a mess, I didn’t let anyone read it. After all, I knew nothing about writing a script.
So I bought my first screenwriting book at 15 years old. I read Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting by Syd Fields from cover to cover.
That book changed my life.
I wrote my second screenplay following the structure described in his book. I’m sure it’s somewhere buried in my parents’ garage, but I wouldn’t dare read it now. I relate it to looking at a photo you took when you first bought a camera. Or watching your first dance recital from when you were a kid.
I wrote and I read. I wanted to absorb as much as I could about screenwriting. I watched as many action-packed thrillers as I could.
My favorite books included Story by Robert McKee, The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier and Making a Good Script Great by Linda Seger.
As I was wrapping up my years in high school, I had to put my “hobby” on hold to plan for college. In my environment writing wasn’t a career, it was a hobby. So I stopped.
And went to college.
But like anything you have a passion for, it keeps tapping you on the shoulder.
After failing my first two test in Physiology, I realized this “real career” wasn’t the best fit for me. So I shifted focus and majored in journalism and communications. It was my second career choice and a better fit for me. I didn’t have the personality of a journalist so my focus was on Public Relations.
This was when PR was press releases, brochures and crisis management plans. MySpace was the social network of choice.
God, I hope someone reading this remembers MySpace.
After graduation and craving independence I took the first job that would pay my rent. The “real” job and I hated it.
That career path didn’t last.
It lacked creativity, it lacked story, it lacked everything I loved.
If you want your creative fire to smolder take a job as an insurance adjuster. In a few years, you’ll be left with ashes.
I rekindled my writing flame when my husband and I took a leap of faith and decided to follow our passions for a year. It only took him a few months to decide film wasn’t for him and he found other work.
But I spent my days writing and it was blissful. I hammered out three solid screenplays and a bunch of outlines during that time. I was a finalist for the Bill Cosby Fellowship – back when it was cool to be Bill Cosby. I was a finalist for another screenwriting competition.
During that time I also uncovered a deep-rooted anxiety I had.
Not receiving a steady paycheck. So I looked for work as a web designer.
And then became pregnant with our first child.
If you ever want to challenge your ability to complete a thought or type out a sentence on the computer, have a little human.
I no longer had the time to spend writing scene by scene of a screenplay so I launched a blog called, BizzieMommy.com. I wrote about motherhood, being a working mom, photography, technology, and entrepreneurship.
I became a staff writer on lifetimemoms.com. I website managed by Lifetime Network. My blog appeared on Forbes.com 100 Websites for Women and it was ranked in Nielsons best websites for working moms.
Then came layoffs, my “paycheck” anxiety, and marital stress. Writing was on the bottom of my forever building to-do list.
Looking back I would have thought that was the toughest year of my life. I guess back then it was.
We survived. Moved to DC. I got a great job that kept me ridiculously busy. I made several attempts to rekindle my blog but it never lasted. I was too busy.
We lived in DC for four years before returning to the west coast. I was hesitant to return.
Then it happened, the toughest year I have ever experienced as a working adult. Aside from 45 winning the election, which was stressful in itself. I was being railroaded at work.
Frustrated. Depressed. Pissed off. And kinda broken hearted all at once. A new job and several self-help books later, I decided it’s time to focus on things I enjoy doing.
So let’s begin.
The writing will be rusty, the feelings will be raw. I’m taking the first steps down an uncharted path to finding my happy place.