In late 2010 I decided I was a writer. Writing was always something I did since I was a kid, but I finally had my aha moment that I could do it for a living after many years of working odd jobs (serving tables, working at a wine store, walking dogs) as I oscillated between pursuing acting and playwriting. Writing was something that felt…easy. And fun. And exciting. So why on earth would I turn to that as a career? Ha! Hi ego, my old friend. The ego always wants us to play small. To go towards the familiar. To be comfortable. The ego only wants to know what it knows. At that time, when it came to my career, my ego was all about playing small and resistance. But that was exhausting the hell out of my soul (as it tends to). I knew writing was the thing that was the complete opposite of what I was doing. It felt expansive and free. It felt creative and fulfilling. It felt like me.
I didn’t know how I could make a living as a writer. I didn’t know what it meant to earn a byline (I don’t even think I knew what a byline was at that time). I didn’t have any contacts. I didn’t know how to DO IT. But my DESIRE was stronger. My passion to figure it out was stronger than my doubt. That’s not to say I wasn’t scared or intimidated or insecure. But I said yes anyway.
It wasn’t easy at first. I turned to Craigslist for a lot of my earlier gigs (DONT DO THAT!). I didn’t have any samples. I didn’t even know what those would look like. But when I was contacted by an editor and was asked if I would write a sample for a fashion blog, and without any fashion experience (except for living in New York, which I thought gave me some carte blanche when it came to style), I said yes anyway.
That was the beginning. From there I freelanced for a couple of years, writing everything from cottage rentals to basketball to city news. I didn’t know much about these topics — certainly wasn’t an expert — but I said yes anyway.
When I was offered an assistant web editor job a year later, I had little experience with social media and editing, but I said yes anyway.
When I was put into a senior editing position a year later, I didn’t have experience with overseeing magazine layouts or interns or difficult personalities (including my boss), but I said yes anyway.
Six months later, I felt my soul calling me again. I was playing small again. I hated my job. I wasn’t writing anymore, I was editing, and I wasn’t doing what I had set out to do: writing. I definitely didn’t feel expansive or free, or fulfilled. I knew what I had to do — even if it scared the shit out of me. So I did it. I left my full time editorial job to pursue freelancing. I didn’t know if I’d be able to support myself financially or whether I’d have work published ever again (WELCOME BACK EGO!), but I said yes anyway.
All these years later, and here we are. I have written for over 50 online and print publications. I have written two books. I have a literary agent. I am able to support myself financially through my writing and I get to write about things I love (no more cottage rentals!). It’s not always easy, but it all started with my saying “yes” even when I wasn’t sure. Even when I didn’t think I had the experience, the knowledge or the smarts, or even the coolness factor (whatever the eff that is). I still have my doubts as I look to improve and grow my career (YAY EGO!) but I know myself more. I trust myself more. I trust my YES more. I think back to where I started and how far I’ve come, and it was all about saying YES and knowing I’ll figure it out later (or at least crossing my fingers and taking the leap anyway).
So, friend, let’s keep saying yes to the things that we want even if we don’t know how, even if we’ve never done it before. Because if you don’t say yes, it’ll always be a no