Key explains: “This article is in response to a writing challenge posed by Sherry McGuinn answering the question — “What would you be if you weren’t a writer?” This challenge [originally] was made within the ILLUMINATION publication…”
An astronaut, really?
No, not really. I’ve wanted to be a professional reader and writer since I was a small child.
Not knowing how to read or write books for a living, I explored other options.
I was always fascinated by space and the idea of discovering life on other planets. I went to Space Camp as a kid and had a telescope. I dabbled in high school with the idea of becoming an astronaut — specifically an astrophysicist (one who discovers the nature of astronomical objects, not just where they are and how they move). This was truly something I wanted and researched.
But it turns out being a real astrophysicist takes A LOT of math and physics and many years of higher education. Math isn’t my strongest suit and I couldn’t really afford to go past a bachelor’s degree without incurring crippling debt.
I thought about being a lawyer — I love to argue, I have strong convictions, and I truly want to help people. The years of school and debt again stopped me.
Even now as a 33-year-old lady, my dream job would be to work as an editor at a big publishing company.
Unfortunately, the starting pay is quite low (I make more as a freelancer), and publishing is so extremely competitive that a 33-year-old with minimally-directly-relevant experience and a not-related bachelor’s degree from 13 years ago really won’t get me there.
The truth is, if I wasn’t a writer, I’d still be a writer.
I just wouldn’t be getting paid for it.
Starting back in high school, I was blogging on MySpace. In college, it was LiveJournal and Facebook. After that, it was Blogspot, then Wordpress, and now Medium. Before online blogging, I had physical journals I’d write in and keep lyrics and poetry and thoughts and stories.
I spent almost 10 years in corporate sales and business development before starting my writing business, and that experience was invaluable in terms of learning how to run a business, sales and marketing, getting clients and maintaining those relationships, how to treat people, and more.
I can’t say that if I wasn’t a writer that I’d be in sales because the reality is that I was always a writer. I always wrote, long before I was a wannabe-astronaut, long before college and spending a decade in another career.
The difference is that now I get paid for it and get to spend a lot more of my time writing — for clients, for myself, for fun.
I know, it’s kind of a boring answer but hey, sometimes the truth isn’t an exciting adventure. Sometimes things just happen the way they are supposed to.
Check out my new book Concept to Conclusion: How to Write a Book and learn everything you need to know to conceive of, outline, write, publish, and market a book!
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