September 2016 to September 2017
It has been an emotional year for me. This is the first year after the passing of my younger brother, the other pea in my pod, my kindred spirit.
Between his passing and me being in my 40’s, it has also been the beginning of my mid-life crisis, so to speak. I want to live the life my brother was not able to live. Something I’ve wanted to do since 2nd grade when my teacher, Sr. Ann Francis, praised me for a poem I had written, was to be a writer. The pursuit of writing had always been pushed down to the bottom of my to-do list. Other activities took precedent. Schooling, college, marriage, job, child, family. The career path I took was one of being an English teacher. Throughout the years, teaching has been a beat down. It’s not just teaching, its paperwork, politics, micro-managing, long hours, little free time. Yes, there are positives, as well, but since my first year of teaching, I knew I couldn’t do it forever. Well, this is my twentieth year. Hmmm…
Being an educator in a school system has not been beneficial to my health, especially since I already struggle with depression and anxiety. Teaching has compounded my struggle. The weight of mental illness has been enormous, and there are days where I cannot seem to carry it. There have been a couple years where I’ve had to take time off work for months due to mental breakdowns.
This past May, I decided it’s past time for me to pursue something for which I have such fervor.
I love composing poetry and short stories; however, I also love journaling. Writing has been a way for me to process my thoughts. With the love of journaling and the passion I have for reaching out to others battling for mental health, I’ve chosen to begin writing about mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it.
In May 2017, I signed up for Tribe Writers. Tribe Writers teaches writers and other creatives how to market their work. I first heard of Tribe Writers through Sandy Kreps of Modern Simplicity. I had followed her Twitter and Facebook accounts for several years, eventually befriending her. She became a Tribe Writer several years ago, and now I am.
This has already been a terrific journey for me. I’ve learned to create and host a website. I’ve become acquainted with SEO and guest posting. I’ve risked submitting articles for publication, and I’ve been successful thus far in doing this. I have book ideas that I will pursue, as well.
On September 15th, I flew to Nashville to attend the 3rd annual Tribe Conference in Franklin, TN. Being surrounded by so many writers and those pursuing writing, I felt I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Listening to and learning from those who have been successful, such as Dan Miller, Sean McCabe, Jonathan Fields, Jon Acuff, and others was inspirational. Talking to other Tribe Writers who have gone on to publish books gave me hope, as well, that I will be successful in this passion of mine.
It’s Not Too Late
It’s not too late for you to follow your passions, as well. Embrace it. Our time is limited, and we should be enjoying life, not just trudging along through each day, living for the weekends in order to recuperate from a hectic work week.
The journey I’ve always wanted to be on has finally begun, and with guidance and support from Jeff Goins of Tribe Writers…and my fellow Tribe members…I will undoubtedly feel success and pride every step of the way.
Copyright © 2017 Alicia T-Rust. All rights reserved.