From High School Dreamer to Historical Mystery Author
There I was in the band room of Cascade Christine High School, surrounded by the rest of the seniors in my graduating class (most of which I didn’t know well because I always read fiction novels during lunch, and ballet was my social life, not school).
Tonight was the night that would launch us all into our futures. I’d heard many of my peers say that they weren’t sure what they wanted to do yet.
I knew. I just wasn’t sure how it was all going to look.
The only academic subjects I enjoyed during my four-year high school career were English and History. I loved writing, and to be honest, I wasn’t much good at anything else. Since I couldn’t seem to talk myself into one of the “traditional” career fields presented to us students regularly, I decided that being a writer was the way to go. A novelist, more specifically, but I usually left that part out because it made people look at me funny.
Yet, when my freshman English teacher came up to me on that graduation night and asked what my plan was for after graduation, I said it like it was:
“I want to be a novelist.”
There I was dressed in my blue and white striped dress with red flowers along the hem to match the red high heels I’d borrowed from my twin sister, Arianna, with a black ceremony gown over the top saying that I was going to be a writer. I probably looked like a 17-year-old who didn’t even know who she was yet. (Okay, I was exactly this, but bear with me).
But, instead of telling me I was crazy- which, mind you, I’d already been told once or twice- this is what my teacher said:
“People do write books, you know.”
It was as if she knew that I’d been wondering if it were possible to make a living at something I enjoyed. I wanted to believe it was, but I couldn’t quite dispel the doubts planted in my mind whenever my choice was met with this question:
But you can’t make a living doing that. Right?
September of the same year found me in a college classroom. My pursuit of a degree in creative writing lasted maybe two years. I think it was quite a bit less. I knew pretty quickly that this degree wasn’t for me. The classes I took were great for getting the creative juices flowing if you didn’t know what to write. But that wasn’t the problem. I had stories floating around in my head 24/7. Now I just needed to figure out what to do with them.
I found my answer (at least partially) when I stumbled upon ghostwriting. This was it- the avenue I needed to get paid for using my creativity to make a living.
I was all in.
Freelance writing was great. It still is! But this didn’t stop me from continuing to harbor the hope of publishing my book one day. It seemed like a far-off dream since I was busy with my career. I figured I would devote myself to making this dream come true one day.
Then, “one day” came.
Estate Blood, a 1920’s mystery, had been lingering in my mind for years. No matter how I neglected it in favor of writing for my clients, the characters in that Word doc WOULD NOT leave me alone. When I met Christine Weimer by happenstance, and she introduced me to “Our Galaxy,” I knew right away that “someday” was a lot closer than I’d ever allowed myself to believe.
I was going to be a novelist, just like I’d told my English teacher on graduation night.
But you can do anything, anything you want to. There’s footprints on the moon.
~Footprints on the Moon by Gabby Barrett
If you’re a passionate writer who wants to write every day for money, check out my blog, It’s an Artist Thing: Too Creative for a 9 to 5. This is where I talk about my journey and the steps I took, leading me to become a full-time freelance writer. Let’s chase our dreams together!