Thursday, March 5, 2015

Dreams Come True

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer. Not when I grew up, but right then. I wrote constantly. I had a blue binder filled with lined, 3-hole-punched paper on which I outlined my stories and wrote them. Longhand. In cursive.

I finished my first novel when I was eleven. The story was about a young girl surviving the Holocaust in Nazi Germany. It wasn't very long—about 15,000 words, if I have to guess. It also wasn't very good. I cringe now to even think of it. But it was a rather big achievement for me.

As I got older, my dreams of being a published author began to fade. I became interested instead in biochemistry and genetics. Influenced largely by Dana Scully and Clarice Starling, I embarked on a career in biotechnology, which I pursued doggedly for well over a decade.

Yet I kept writing. I journaled about my life and thoughts. I made up myriad stories and wrote them down. I enjoyed brief fame as a live romance writer, creating stories in chat rooms with real-time feedback. I blogged about issues I felt were important. I even started another novel or six.

I decided, finally, to switch careers and enter the literary world. And yet, I shied away from writing. I became an editor, focused on making other people's writing shine. I was never confident in my own voice. The words that came out were never quite right, never exactly what I had meant to say or how I had meant to say it. Honestly, I still feel this way, about everything I publish, including this blog.

So I was quite surprised to be offered a job as a writer. It was a small contract position, writing short pieces for educational purposes. Yet it was writing, and someone was paying me to do it.

The thought settled on me when I sent in my first piece: I am a professional writer. Wow!

It was as if my eleven-year-old self had skipped up to me and given me a big hug. My current self is uncertain, unconfident, and downright confused as to why anyone would pay me to put words on paper. But that girl who wrote stories in a blue binder between classes? She's absolutely thrilled. She's always known we'd end up here. She knows we'll do even greater things.

That girl was asked, in sixth grade, to write a goal on a star to be hung in her classroom. She wrote, "Get a book published." Well, young Elizabeth, we're well on our way. Good job!


  1. I'm proud of you, Elizabeth. Proud you are brave enough to put yourself and your ideas out there. Proud you are not afraid to be judged. The universe is in awe of you and just waiting to see what comes next. I'm in awe of you too. Love, Ann

    1. Thanks, Ann! The truth is, I'm actually terrified. But I'm doing it anyway. That's what it takes, right?