This Spring has brought big changes to my life. I remember when I was a kid, growing up in the snowy white north of Upper Michigan, how Spring always revealed sleeping treasures. We’d spend Winter swathed in high snow banks, everything covered, sometimes with drifts way up over our heads. My parents would sigh and stare longingly at the sky, praying for sunshine, warmth, and the great melting. As a kid, I couldn’t always figure it out. As an adult, I understand no one wanted to plow the long driveway again, and that it sucked being snowed in and unable to drive out for groceries.
And then one day we’d wake up to the brightest blue sky anyone could imagine. The glare of white sunshine melted the snow into puddles with rainbows. The air smelled of wet, mineral-y soil as the white clumps of ice retreated from the sun. Then, then the surprises began.
Under those fields of white, and under the matted meadow grass, hid rocks. Relics from old farm life. Toys dropped and forgotten and then snowed over. The surge of melting, warming, energy brought it all up to the surface. Discoveries were made.
Only, the discoveries weren’t anything new. They were there all along, buried. Waiting to be found.
My dream: to make a living off of my writing.
This field stone, this Ebenezer, marked my longest, most ardent wish for my one, small life, outside of my dream to raise five children. I’ve always loved my children, even back when they were only figments of my imagination, and I’ve always wanted to write. And I have. There’s never been a time in my life when I wasn’t writing. For a long time I didn’t do it very well. For a very long time, I’ve applied myself to learning how to do it better. Always better. It’s never been good enough. Now I know, that for many writers, it never is. That’s because “writing” is an expression. It’s organic. Evolving. Living, just as I am. It can always grow. The writing can always get better. At some point, you just gotta put it out there.
One is not a “good writer” because they perfectly master craft. Or, learn to avoid all typos. Or, never make mistakes. I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t also need an editor and also a proofreader (and those are not the same things). One becomes a good writer when they can convey thoughts through words.
I’m a good writer.
I’ve made a living from my writing before. Once the internet miraculously came into the world, an alchemy of talent and timing meshed with technology and I quickly found my way. I had a natural capacity for getting the knack of keywords really early on and as a result, my blog “Living Deliberately” often maintained traffic of 80,000 hits a week. That was high in 2005 and it’s still high today. That kind of know-how translated to serving others via coaching. That coaching led to introductions. An introduction led to a big job opportunity and it wasn’t long before I was writing marketing articles for over 120 different industries. My clients often hired me on the side to write press releases, grant requests, and articles for their businesses. I LOVED the people I worked with– they were the best part of that job.
But things change. The owner of that company passed in his prime. My division closed down. I was having some health struggles of my own at the time and it didn’t feel right to maintain a business of my own just then. My strategic mind fit well into the next project on my horizon, a project that would have seemed somewhat out of the box, but those are often my favorite kind: Document Control for an engineering firm seeking ISO: 9001 Certification. I plowed into it the way a farmer breaks up those Spring fields and I got that project done. She came. She saw. She conquered. That kind of defined project with an end date really gives me a high!
More alchemy: I was hungry for creative expression. One of my dearest friends ran a company at the nexus of bravery, writing, and home education. She needed a girl-of-many-hats and I needed a job. Boom. Over the next four years I ran viral contests, managed social media platforms, took thousands of photos, edited videos, wrote pages of copy, and at the end? I designed and developed a marketing campaign for her book launch that exceeded its goal: we received nearly 200 Amazon reviews within the first month of publication. Her book debuted at #13 on the Trade Paperback List. I hear her publishers were impressed.
Still. Being buried under in work projects, as dynamic and sparkling as snow drifts can be, hid my stone of truth. Spring sunshine came early this year. As the project drifts receded, the fact that I’ve always kept writing– and still dreamed of living off my writing– started pushing up against the wet and soggy ground. Then, my day job unexpectedly came to an end.
My writing coach wondered, “Tia, why aren’t you just doing for others what you’re doing for me?”
“But what am I exactly doing for you?” I wondered back. We’d collaborated on several projects: her website copy, price structure, contracts, SEO research, analytics, blog coaching, “To Newsletter or Not To Newsletter” debate, and most significantly: an entire book, which we co-authored with her friend and fellow workshop teacher, Joyce Sweeney. I’d handled all of the compilation process and publishing prep, finding our illustrator and cover designer, obtained the ISBN and designed the marketing plan.
In just four months it had gone from initial concept to tangible paperback we could hold in our hands. Plotting Your Novel with The Plot Clock went on sale April 5, 2019.
“All of that,” she answered. “You empower me. Together, we make magic happen in my business and in my life. Everyone should have a Tia.”
My dream: to make a living off my writing.
When movement begins, when Mercury heads into retrograde, when the moons change phases, when the tides shift…things fall into place. Everything that needed to happen in order for me to make a transition occurred. Mood boards for design materialized in my dreams. Old contacts reached out to see how I was doing. Would I be interested in a project? My memoir advanced along. My short story placed in a contest. Friends suggested we collaborate on a press. Then, that we monetize the long-term project of a press with a lifestyle site.
The side hustles started blooming. My imagination came alive.
I took the Clifton’s Strengths Assessment. I’m a Futurist. A Strategist. I crave Input and Ideation. I’m Empathic. Each one of these triggered lightbulbs in my brain. These strengths are why I love data, analytics, and SEO. They are why I love big project overviews. They ignite my passion and drive me to get shit done.
I don’t do well buried under long term projects without full recognition or detached from human need. I love working with clients. I love empowering their goals and making magic happen in their lives.
I can do lots of things. What I can’t do, I can usually figure out. I finally agreed with my coach: a lot of people could use a Tia.
Once I said that out loud to the universe, a whole bunch of things happened at once.
- my motto stepped full center: I Get Shit Done!
- my happiness reappeared!
- a chocolate cake flipped the script on mistakes (more on that to come)!
- my photographer friend volunteered to take pictures!
- I redesigned my website in happy-orange and made sure it was clear and concise!
This is what it looked like after that first wave of brainstorms:
The morning after I did that, before I’d even shown it to the world, my friend sent me this:
And I broke out in goosebumps and tears. I’m all those things now: wild, awakened, conscious, passionate, devoted. I’m getting shit done for myself, and for others. I’m not yet an official part of the Wild Woman Businesshood, but a quick look at their site confirmed I should.
My dream: to make a living off of my writing.
My job change wasn’t expected, at least as far as timing and how the events occurred. I’m adjusting. Learning to be okay with that. I learned a long time ago that it’s good to make time and space for feelings. Air them out like winter sheets in the spring sunshine. Change can be hard. Still, this truly feels like a stepping off point, and that everything that’s come so far was building towards this time. I’ve been waiting a long time for the opportune moment to step out and give writing for a living a try again. My books, their books, our books!
In pencil, love, and pages-
Do you need a Tia to help you get shit done? Consults are free so click here and we’ll chat!Let's Connect!