Initially, I thought I arrived here by “accident.”
I can be a bit rambunctious and not everyone can appreciate that, so I ran into a little trouble at work and avoiding a long story that will bore you, I found myself looking for a new gig. A few weeks later, I went on an interview at a place I did not really like or want to work at and afterward found myself trolling Marshall’s trying to feel better. New shoes, clothes, purses, or household crap for you to dust can do that for a girl.
While strolling through the aisle of various pots and pans, a friend messaged me and asked if I could read something. We had talked about our individual school work and research demands previously and I thought highly of him (he’s kind of a big deal), so I was SO excited to be included into this exclusive club to check out his writing! I read it right there next to the All-clad frying pans, the Stepford Wives shooting me dirty looks for blocking up the aisle and all. It was a management article, but he was speaking about my life! Specifically, the trouble at work situation and the type of manager I just encountered. I silently wished he had written it a few years earlier and saved me some agitation.
I began to wonder, “How can I write like that?” So I asked.
“Hey, how did you get started writing for magazines?”
This gentleman was gracious enough to tell me a little bit about his journey and even offered to review anything that I wrote. WHAT!?! ME?!? I was honored, but didn’t think anyone wanted to hear what I had to say, much less felt that I could influence someone positively. Didn’t I just get into trouble for opening my big mouth?
Honestly, I was scared.
As time went on, this militant thought consistently reared its head, “Why not me?” I began to write a piece and shared it with a few people. To my surprise and pleasure, they liked it and were honest with me and told me how to improve it. Still I waited, unsure if I could really “do” this, I mean who was I to tell anyone anything? I had A LOT of “reasons.”
I don’t have a degree.
I’m only an EMT.
I don’t have a fancy job as a platform.
I just ride on a truck.
Who would listen to anything I had to say anyway?
Another good friend with a flair for the literary and a silver tongue encouraged me to build a blog. I thought, “Uh, aren’t blogs for people with nothing going for them?” I received a quick education on EMS blogging and got lost in the internet for many hours finding amazing writing ranging from clinical topics to florid tales regaling the family that is EMS. More talking myself out of writing ensued after I read some of these authors who left me in stitches unable to breathe and others who made me shut the computer off heart broken and crying, knowing I could NEVER write like that.
I didn’t get here by accident. Life, destiny, the Universe, whatever you want to call it has been setting me up for years. As a little girl, I got busted sneaking books to bed and still I stub my toes on the stacks that don’t fit on the shelf. As a young hellion, I met a new friend whose mother was a writer and preacher and despite my alternative and undesirable appearance (which she still talks about in front of the congregation when I am in town at church) let me wait in the wings and watch. I learned how to speak to people in power. I learned how to write and speak and back up my position, so I did not just have an opinion. She let me learn how to serve others by imparting parts of myself via her example. She laid the foundation that others would build on during my creation as a writer. This was no accident. Neither is your journey.
Like most FNG’s in EMS I decided to fake it ’til I made it. With a lot of help from an accepting and encouraging EMS writing community, I built the blog and posted that first article. Then another and another and another and THEN I got my first piece of hate mail! That sealed it for me, people were listening!
I will tell you a secret. I am still terrified.
We do this every day. We speak to people and influence their healthcare decisions as a provider. We uplift our friends and family when we offer messages of encouragement or commiseration. We make strangers smile when we offer a pleasant word and smile of our own. Writing is just life via our fingers.
It is easy to listen to your inner critic knock you down and silence your voice. It’s easier to turn a blind eye and keep your head down and get by, but what the hell will you have at the end of your life then? A bunch of “I should haves” and no time left.
There are many things that will try to slow you or distract you or stifle your voice. Don’t let them. Your voice is important, what you have to say can only be said by you. You never know who your words will affect and improve or inspire or save.
Yes, the power of life is in your words. Use them.