I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

This seems to be a disturbing trend of my twenties and even though those who are older and wiser have told me that being scared and confused is what your twenties is all about…I just can’t accept it. I need to be in control. I need my plans to pan out. I need to know myself and what I want. And I don’t. Not completely.

For the past five years I’ve been driven by dreams and by my relentless fear of having an ordinary life. I thought school was the answer. I thought writing was the answer. I thought money was the answer. But none of those things have given me the kind of success or security I’d hoped for. And for a long time I decided to just wait it out, to work in another job that didn’t fulfill me spiritually and didn’t pay me what I deserved, and to just write as much as I possibly could until one day something stuck. But I’m six novels in and I’m still not earning enough to make writing my full-time career. And I’m tired of waiting.

Maybe I’m not supposed to have all the answers in my twenties but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be proactive about finding them. My dream is to be a novelist but from now on I won’t allow that to be my only dream. I am smart and I am capable and I am ready for a new challenge. I’m ready for a new life. So, while I’ll still write every day, I’ve also decided to go back to school to get my master’s degree in education. I love books and there is so much more I can be doing in this world to contribute to the spread of literacy and love of reading. Great stories save and our young people need that now more than ever. They need righteous examples of faith and strong will. They need to be exposed to ideas that both inspire and challenge. They need to read. They need to write. To organize their thoughts and analyze their emotions and form opinions that can’t be easily swayed. Reading breeds empathy but writing breeds independence and teens in today’s world desperately need both.

I’ve always tried to write with these things in mind and to approach each story as a means of making my readers feel connected and acknowledged but there is only so much I can do from behind my keyboard. Even with access to the internet the reach of my novels is still limited. If I really want to make a difference then I’m going to have to step outside my comfort zone and join the fight for literacy on the front lines. I’m not sure if I’ll be a great teacher, or even a good one, but I know I’ve got the passion to try. I know I’m meant to make a difference in the lives of young people, and whether that’s through my novels or through teaching, that’s exactly what I plan to do.

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8 thoughts on “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing

  1. spinelli says:

    I graduate from undergrad in two weeks and I thought I was going to graduate school for writing or playwriting or that I would get a cool literary job or an anything job but I think I’m going to be a teacher instead. I have no idea what I’m doing either, but I really like this post and wish you luck.

    • Thanks!!! Wishing you tons of luck as well. All of the women in my family are teachers and I’ve gained a lot of experience working with kids and young adults over the years so deciding to get my certification seemed like a no-brainer. I always expected to teach but I’d always fantasized about leading workshops after I’d already become some huge international bestselling author. But I can’t wait on things to fall into place exactly how I’d always hoped they would, especially not if it means continuing to waist years of my life working in a job that is absolutely meaningless. As artists, we have a tendency to believe so strongly in our work that we end up existing in this bubble that can actually keep us from reaching the people we’d hoped our art would reach. Sometimes we have to break out of our solitary habits in order to really make an impact. The world needs more creative and compassionate teachers, two traits successful artists can’t be without. If teaching is something you’re interested in, definitely pursue it. Plus you’ll have summers off to devote to your own art!

  2. Aubrey Cann says:

    This is awesome! Congrats on starting this new journey. I sometimes wonder if I’d be more fulfilled if I became a teacher. You have the potential to reach so many kids over a long career as a teacher. I hope this next step leads you to the satisfaction you’re looking for in your life.

    • Thanks!!! There are so many alternative ways to teach these days that it can be a really accessible and fulfilling career for artists. I’ll definitely continue to blog here about how my experience goes. After I get my ELA certification I’m thinking of getting certified in Journalism and ESL just to create more opportunities for myself. Honestly the thought of teaching in any one of those fields really excites me so that’s definitely a good sign. I’ve blogged before about how even though I dream of writing full-time, stress-wise I actually don’t think I’d be able to handle it. It’s one of the reason I knew I’d probably teach eventually alongside a writing career. But if teaching is something I think I’ll love I might as well make the transition now.

  3. Jill says:

    Yaaay! We need good teachers! My husband had this revelation last year, so instead of going into molecular biology research, he’s becoming a teacher. He’s just a few weeks from becoming a certified high school science and math teacher. And as long as you hold onto your passion for what you teach and your belief in the value of each student, you’ll make a fantastic teacher. Congrats on the exciting new direction!

    • Thank you!!! After deciding to go back and get my certification I’ve learned that lots of working professionals find themselves doing the same thing. It’s been about five years since I graduated from college, and after working in several jobs that just weren’t fulfilling, I’m finally ready to make a significant change in my life. Your husband will certainly have his pick of schools since math and science teachers (male, in particular) are in such high demand. What an exciting turning point for both of you! Coming from a large extended family of teachers I know that working in education really is a family affair. I imagine you’ll be helping with everything from getting his classroom ready to offering emotional pep talks on those rough days. The world isn’t just in need of good teachers but also amazing spouses who support them!

  4. Julie Israel says:

    Hunger is powerful driving force. Couple that urge to do something new/expand with the same passion you bring to your writing (and the passion I know you have for books, PLUS the drive to make a literary impact in the world!) and I think you’ll be unstoppable 🙂

    • WOW! THANKS! Going back to school is a bold move for me, especially considering that I can’t afford it, but your words are so encouraging. I really feel like it’s the right thing to do. And funnily enough, once I made the decision, my writing seemed to click into place too. I finally feel like I’m heading in the right direction both creatively and professionally and I can’t wait to share my love of reading and writing with my students.

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