Most writers have an "I've been writing for as long as I can remember" story. I don't. I took a much more circuitous route to becoming the writer I wanted to be. After a brief childhood phase of short, short stories and poetry about puddles and stars, I gave up creative writing for the more noble pursuit of science. Writing became something I did for fun, when I had some free time or felt like expressing myself, but it wasn't something I considered doing as a career. Writing, in my mind, wasn't going to get me out of my little town in Upstate New York. Becoming a doctor would.
Of course, the Universe has a sense of humor, and after passing out at the sight of blood the summer before my senior year of college, I decided that maybe medical school wasn't in the cards for me. That same year, I took my one and only English elective: a writing class focusing on the short story. A seed was planted, but it wouldn't germinate for several years.
I graduated from St. Lawrence University a year later with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and biology and little direction. My interest in science and psychology, and a desire to make a difference in people's lives, led me into the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. For two years I worked as an aide and tutor for preschool children with developmental disabilities.
My goal of experiencing the world outside of my little town led me to an interview in Baltimore, and a few weeks later I was packing my U-Haul. I worked for 5 years at Kennedy Krieger Institute, treating and educating children and young adults with developmental disabilities and severe behavior disorders.
While at Kennedy, I decided to pursue my dream of a writing career. I started writing features for a local church's quarterly magazine and taking writing classes at Towson University. I did an internship with Kennedy Krieger's Department of Development and learned valuable skills for both grant writing and editorial writing for print and the web. In May 2005, I graduated from Towson with my Master's degree in Professional Writing. Within a month I was working full-time as a technical writer, and enjoying the creativity that freelancing allows me when I'm not on the job.
Writing: it's my life.