This year has been a drastically up and down one emotionally and professionally. The two, for me, as a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve in the form of a tattoo with the word, are intimately intertwined. For a few months I was in pretty bad shape mentally; nothing really seemed worthwhile and the less work I had, the more convinced I was that I should start prowling want ads and take any available job, not just for the money, but to feel useful and wanted.
Cut to May and June, when I've been working full-time hours six days a week and making more than I ever have in the years since I got laid off from my magazine editor job in 2011. It's been exciting, and today starts a new chapter in the form of a copywriting job that will actually require me to leave the house sometimes and work in an office, which will be its own kind of adjustment.
Before this year, I'd never done any copywriting; now I have and I've been paid for it and even though I was terrified at first, doing it once and seeing my ideas respected and valued taught me that I can do it, even if it's all new. At age 40, I assumed I would keep on simply doing the same old tasks I've been doing for years. When people asked me what my dream career was, I would say, "This, but earning more money." Well, now I am earning an income I feel is commensurate with my skills and that is helping me pay down debt and just might pay for super pricey fertility treatments, and I'm finding that knowing I am capable of learning so many new things each day has been incredible for how I value myself.
I've also learned how to be an entertainment blogger, and let me say that for me, Blogger in no way prepared me for the job I do now writing Wordpress posts. I thought I knew a thing or two about blogging; after all, tis one's been going since I believe 2002 (in a fit of rage I deleted the entire thing and brought it back sometime around 2004). I used to have a pretty significant part-time job blogging at Cupcakes Take the Cake. But writing for OMJ has been an entirely different experience.
Before May, I knew nothing about Getty Images. Now, I use it every day. Now my beats includes parents and babies who I'd honestly either never heard of or never thought of. I have constant technical questions and am now doing my best to learn as much SEO as I can because I'm genuinely curious.
I'm still all in on erotica, and will soon be revealing the updated version of my eroticawriting101.com site I launched this year to work directly with clients on their writing. I'm editing new anthologies and have book releases in July and December. I'm still doing weekly sex interviews for Elle.com and freelance writing here and there. But I can't stress enough how invaluable it is to have strangers take a chance on me in arenas I was unfamiliar with and believe in me enough to hire me. That's allowed me to believe in myself so I never feel stuck, like I can only do the things I've already done.
Maybe some wouldn't consider entertainment blogging and copywriting "new" careers because they involve writing, but I do. To me, they are vastly different from writing fiction or essays or journalism because they serve a different purpose. The writing does involve words, but to me that's where the similar ends. So as a new phase of my career begins, I wanted to share this, and if it in any small way encourages those of you wanting to learn a new skill or try anything they haven't done before, please take this as encouragement to go for it and see what happens. You'll never know unless you do.