14 Day Writing Challenge: Day 14 (or, The Moment of Truth)

The final* writing prompt: Write about a defining moment in your life.

*Yes, I remember that Day 6 didn’t actually happen because I’ve tried so many general genres over the years, but I plan to have it ready by the end of next week. Steampunk it is!

My last year of college had begun, and I realized that I had a serious problem. I had a fiancé, a nearly-complete degree in English, and a love for the French language. One thing I didn’t have, though, was a career plan.

When I first went to college, I anticipated that I’d be a published writer by the time I was finished and live off of those earnings. As senior year started, though, I realized that those childhood dreams weren’t going to come true the way that I had always expected. In the meantime, I needed to figure out something to actually do to earn money. I was already working as an office assistant at my church, but I knew that’s not what I wanted to do with my life. Working in an office just wasn’t for me.

After some thinking and research, I narrowed it down to two different options: I could become an editor or (much to my own surprise) a teacher.

Editing seemed like a natural choice. I enjoyed reading and didn’t mind sitting in front of a computer for hours at a time. Besides, my aunt had worked at one of the big publishing firms before she had kids, so I had a glimpse into what that industry looked like.

On the other hand, teaching had never even been on my list. I’d planned to teach my own children one day, like my mom taught my brother and me, but that was the extent of it. Now, though, it seemed to make more sense. I could get some practice in before having kids of my own, and I genuinely love working with kids. So why not?

The trouble, though, was getting started with either career. So I waited for one of the college’s job fairs and decided to check both options out. As I walked in, I prayed that I would know for sure what direction to go before I left that day. I had no idea what would happen next.

I first walked up to the publisher’s table. The two ladies there greeted me, we talked for a few minutes, and then they told me that they didn’t currently have any editing jobs open. That’s okay, I thought to myself. I wasn’t ready for that anyways. Before I turned to leave, one of the ladies cocked her head a little and smiled at me.

“You know,” she said, “you look like a teacher.”

I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I hadn’t mentioned anything about choosing between editing or teaching. There was no way she could have known. Yet here she was, saying exactly what I needed to hear.

Everything after that was a blur. I remember stopping at the public school system’s table on the way out, but I already had decided I’d rather be in the private school system if I went that route. The next clear memory was walking back to my car in disbelief. I honestly didn’t know what to choose, so I’d asked for clear direction. And I’d gotten it. It still amazes me.

What is a defining moment in your life? Have you ever had a similar experience?

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4 responses to “14 Day Writing Challenge: Day 14 (or, The Moment of Truth)

  • C.B. Wentworth

    It’s always interesting to hear how other teachers decided to enter the profession – your story is fantastic! :-)

    For me it was something I’d known since I was 16, (oddly enough that’s the age group I teach!). I had an amazing American History teacher that inspired me in so many ways. I knew I wanted to make history fun, just like her.

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    “I anticipated that I’d be a published writer by the time I was finished and live off of those earnings”

    Which is two separate assumptions, of course. :-)

    I guess the defining moment in my life, in terms of writing, was when I heard about computer bulletin boards (this is before the web existed).

    I was selling my stories in little chapbooks, but in my situation there was no way to do it without losing money on every book I sold.

    But there was a way I could make my writing available for people without losing money in the process? Cool.

    And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. :-)

    • S.B. Roberts

      Definitely two very different assumptions. How optimistic I was (and how glad I am that nothing I wrote at the time was published!). :)

      That’s a huge moment! Thank God for the Internet. :)

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