A few years before I got married the song ‘God bless the broken road’ by Rascall Flatts was really popular. I loved the song and lyrics so much that it was one of my top choices for my future first dance song. By the time I eventually got married, this song had been so overused as a first dance song which made it lose its spot on my list but the words have stuck to me ever since.
Now I’m an Athiest. However, my hopeless romantic self likes to think that there is some sort of magic that presides over our lives. Maybe it’s my way of making sense of the suffering but I love looking back at the events in my life and being gobsmacked by how nothing really was wasted.
My path to becoming a writer has been a true example. I never set out to be one, and neither my higher education nor my work experience directly prepared me for this. However, I did gain a lot of marketing savviness working in brands and marketing. I understood the importance of networking and genuine connections during my stints in PR. I learned about self-motivation and creativity as a businesswoman.
After I had quit corporate life and was bored to death, I jumped at the opportunity to be a substitute teacher at my alma mater, which led me in a totally different direction. Those six months reminded me of how much I love the English language, and how rewarding it is to work with kids. I absolutely loved it! I left because I became pregnant and I didn’t want to work full-time, but a decision had been made. I would be a teacher someday.
Then I had kids and went through postpartum depression and entered a phase of acute self-awareness. I questioned the meaning of everything. I became actively involved in setting up a facebook community for local moms, where I listened to other women going through the same. Again, a totally unplanned for experience led me to think maybe psychology was an option. Yes, I’d be a counsellor!
I didn’t have the time to commit to pursuing either of those professions though, given the stage of life I was/am in and my decision to devote myself to being a stay-at-home mom. I put those dreams on the backburner for when I finally could.
Meanwhile, something else came up- a friend was the EIC of a popular local magazine and I asked her if I could maybe freelance (I needed something to do that wasn’t parenting-related but could still do from home, and I knew writing was something I was good at). She said yes, and so for the first time, I took on a writing gig. I would interview prominent local personalities and write their profiles for the magazine’s cover stories. I seemed to be pretty good at it. I enjoyed delving into people’s stories to find an angle and writing it in a way that made it relatable to the reader. Maybe I could do this for a living?
By this time I had two kids below the age of five. I would dabble occasionally in poetry. And I would share everything I wrote with my husband. Including the fact that I wanted to write a novel before I died. In his rightfully earned title as my biggest fan, he would constantly rave about my writing, and tell me to follow my dream. It was always a fantasy though. That was until Covid struck and I somehow convinced myself that I could start on my dream of being a writer now, and not later (and here I am!)
As my commitment to write more seriously grew, my freelance work dwindled. With the pandemic and the kids at home all day I was struggling to meet deadlines, and I found it hard to focus on multiple areas. I missed writing profiles, and I didn’t want to let go of that side completely though. So in between my writing projects, I decided I would channel my admiration of my wonderful fellow writers who inspired me and interview them instead. I even posted my first independent interview last month!
That’s when I saw the call by We Need Diverse Books looking for blog volunteers to interview diverse authors with upcoming new releases. YES! That had me written all over it! I had to literally wade through my old emails to find a copy of my old resume (I haven’t ‘applied’ officially for a job in almost a decade), decided it was outdated, rewrote a new one entirely with some help from my friends, and applied.
After a week full of query rejections and poetry rejections from magazines, and just when I was reaching the bottom of a downward spiral, I saw an email from WNDB in my inbox yesterday. I had almost forgotten I had applied. To be honest, I was fully prepared for the email to tell me I hadn’t been accepted, as that had been the trend these days.
But it was good news! I had been accepted! And to make it all sweeter, I was reassured that it’s something that I can do at my own pace and with a lot of freedom, which is the perfect fit for my life right now. Even if I’m postponing the hell out of my own writing (can life return to normal already?!), it gives me joy to know I can use my talents to uplift another writer. And it reminded me once again of how everything works out. If I hadn’t worked as a freelancer locally and built a portfolio of some great interviews, I may not have been deemed qualified (or deemed myself qualified) to take on this project.
Magical, isn’t it?
6 thoughts on “On all roads leading to the same place”
Very interesting, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.
Thanks for reading!
Very cool to learn more about you and your history!
Thanks for reading, Jessica 🙂
You are a perfect fit for this position, Thushanthi. With your people and writing skills, you are an ideal interviewer. Not only will you be lifting other writers up, I hope it will also continue to fire your own writing aspirations. Someday YOU are going to be the author people will be interviewing.
So often in my life I, too, have found that circumstances have led me to a place I think I am meant to be. Even though I lasted only four years as a teacher and felt like a failure when I left , those four years have been immeasurably helpful in the 30 years I’ve been a “visiting author” at schools.
Thank you so much David- I’m so happy to be sharing this journey with you!