Changing careers is like living a double life.
As you can see, I find it difficult to find time to update this blog regularly. This is because I don’t like to blog while sitting at my desk at work (just seems like a conflict of interest, and I try not to mix any of these elements). And when sitting at my desk at home, homework assignments dominate most of my time. After spending a day writing for a profession at a computer all day – when I get home, the idea of pumping out a researched blog hardly tempts me.
Despite this, I know I am a decent writer, and thoroughly enjoy it. I have been writing fiction since I was 6-years-old, which has slowed down dramatically since entering my current profession. I have been a journalist for going on eight years, and have been editor of a small town newspaper for six of those eight. I know the business. I know how to write. I know what makes a good story, and pretty much have free reign to write what I want.
So, as I’ve tiptoed into the realm of nutrition and health, I knew I had no other choice in life: I knew I would find a way to incorporate writing into my next career incarnation, however that would develop. Although I thought I’d be teaching creative writing by now at the college level, fate had something better in store for me. I have acquired a great amount of interest in teaching through information, and learning how to use social media to disseminate that information has become a fun passion. I am poised to take my new career to those arenas.
For some reason, though, I never felt comfortable enough to bring the little bit of education I’d garnered into the professional realm I am currently in. I kept my musings to blogs with a limited following, gathering up my courage. I dreamed of landing a ready-made health or nutrition writing position in some magazine or online news media outlet, employing three of my biggest passions: Food and nutrition, writing, and teaching/informing the public. I thought once that happened, I could finally stand proud and say, ‘Ah, at last. Someone has deemed me a nutrition writer.’ Days, weeks, months went by, and I was still caged to blogs.
And then, one day – it happened.
Last month, an opportunity came up to write a food or nutrition-related article for a local magazine my company puts out quarterly. As a favor to a coworker, I threw together an article about something I had become familiar with recently: Gluten-free diets.
Under the unexpected and tight deadline, I still pumped out a decently informative piece. And I felt for the first time that I was writing from the head, and not out of a book as I have done for so many homework
assignments and blogs in the past. I knew what I was talking about, and could quote facts and statistics.
When the article came out in print, I had to read it. In fact, I read it a few times. This was a milestone. That fear of branching out into print – honest to goodness ink and paper publication – had finally been broken.
As I near graduation from the holistic nutrition coaching program at Southwest Institute of the Healing Arts, I feel much more at home discussing and broaching nutrition topics. I have an amazing treasure trove of books and resources to draw from, and am gearing up for starting an on-the-side nutrition coaching practice while I finish the dietician technician program at Central Arizona College.
In the interim, I have become unstoppable and my writing worlds have officially blurred. With confidence up, I continue to sharpen my nutrition writing skills and reaching the small audience I have here by continuing to print articles on subjects that I feel are vitally important for the health of my readership. I have continued to brave the publication world by starting a three-part series for the newspaper I head, in conjunction with Cancer Control Month. Subjects I’ve covered are cancer prevention, and current and pending allopathic treatments. The first article was published last week. Another one or two are planned relating to holistic treatments, and the effect of cancer on rural areas like the town I work in.
You’re looking at a food and nutrition journalist on fire, now. But the balance now is – to blog or to publish? I hope you stay with me as I stumble through the next couple of years, trying to keep all of my chain-saws in the air!
So I guess the moral of the story is: No one is going to pick you out of a crowd and wave a magic want to tell you that you’ve made it. You have to make things happen for yourself.