This guest blog is part of an ongoing series that will help showcase the different paths available to students after graduation (and in some cases, before graduation).
By: E.G. Moore
My career started in the dark webs of a fading loss. My baby sister had died years ago, yet my grieving still hung on my heart like soggy fingers of moss dangling from old trees. Mixing this heart place with the leaning walls of long days stuck at home with two beloved daughters for hours on end equaled a very unhappy and trapped mama.
“What do you love to do?” my counselor asked.
I thought long and hard about that. The intense year at a University and additional year of diluted knowledge at a community college had left me more confused and broke than career-ready. Now I had two children to care for and a hard-working husband who worried that if I didn’t find a way to express myself, he’d lose me to depression. The possibility hovered over our household, choking joy from everything.
So I sat down and I wrote. First, about my sister, then a few story ideas my daughters inspired. The triggered release that flooded from my fingers and entangled me with an online community of writers became a near obsession. I consumed online resources, blogs, books, and magazines on writing. I plunked out my first manuscript over a month, edited it, rewrote it, and edited it again. A year later, I cranked out another in about a month, and focused on its betterment for six months. I lost myself in social media and blogging, and continued to connect with my online writerly friends. Sharing myself through words became a second skin, as natural as a heartbeat. My soul overflowed words. Sad words, painful words, genuine words. My sister’s words that echoed through my brain like it’s wrinkles were stone.
Through all this writing, my family moved twice and my husband left the U.S. Navy life behind for a much poorer occupation: a student.
We needed another income and fast. At that time, a new friend introduced me to an online job board where I began to build my freelancing resume. I also found an online course for freelancers that I desperately wanted to enroll in but couldn’t afford. The presenter offered a free spot to the person that read and commented on the most blog posts on her website. In over two weeks, her 200 plus blog posts became my classroom, teaching me about sending pitch letters, researching editors, and more. I stole the free spot for the course and over the next month, managed to pitch and write two major articles for online magazine audiences.
I continued to fulfill jobs from the job board, mostly in the health and wellness niches where my passion for consumer awareness and healthy living shaped my voice and focused my writing angles. Over time, my expertise meant I could take better paying jobs like ghostwriting health books and creating pamphlets for gyms and naturalist offices. Eventually, I connected with three clients that hired me for regular weekly work on blogs and social media for dentists and gluten-free cooking.
An online fiction contest landed me as an alternate “mentee,” where my mentor fell in love with my second novel’s voice and premise. Her guidance led me to completely rewrite my beginning and snag a literary agent. As I type this a major publisher has been considering my novel for publication for around five months. (Crossed fingers and toes much appreciated.)
The above story is not to state what I accomplished, but how. It took a ton of determination, some serious purpose, and quite simply, a love for the craft. I made up my mind that I didn’t need a fancy degree or certificate stating where I learned to write. I created my career with the help of God, the push of grief, and some good ol’ hard work. I couldn’t imagine my life without the clickety-clack of the computer keys or the new way I see the world: full of words ready to be written.
E. G. Moore is a freelancer and ghostwriter specializing in the health and wellness niche. She’s been featured in the relationship section of xojane.com, and her essay Wearing Teresa’s Boots is scheduled to be published in Hope Paige’s Anthology on Loss in 2016. She’s also a children’s book author and poet represented by Jessica Schmeidler of Golden Wheat Literary Agency. For more information on hiring E.G. Moore or reviewing her additional work, please check out www.emilygmoorewriter.blogspot.com or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What path did you take beyond high school or college? Did you jump into full-time work? Travel? Join the military? Or perhaps a combination? I’d love to hear from you! Submit a request with your idea! You don’t have to be a “writer” just passionate about your topic! –Erinne