the story of a found manilla folder

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I was cleaning out a drawer this weekend when I found a manilla folder. It had this handout from brainstorming guru Michelle Lim and several copies of my resume.

It’s a perfect snapshot of 2013 and a tangible reminder of what God’s done since then. I had been working full-time from home for two years after my daughter was born but had just been laid off. So I was job interviewing, facing the logistics of working outside the home again. The ink was still wet on my first novel, written on Friday nights in a corner of a coffee shop, where I guarded my screen with an almost paranoid fear that people would see what I was doing and call me out: Fraudulent silly dreamer.

Then I was introduced at church to multi-published author Kathleen Y’Barbo, who I now call my writing fairy godmother. She invited me to her ACFW chapter meeting, where Michelle was giving a workshop. I took notes furiously — my first real foray into learning craft — with this roomful of strangers. People who were pursuing publication and talked about their work with no inhibitions. My kind of people.

After the workshop, I gathered up the nerve to talk to Michelle, ridiculously nervous, and her kindness immediately put me at ease. Immediately made me feel like a real writer. (She is seriously one of the most encouraging people I’ve ever met!)

The journey unfolded from there. I entered a contest, met my critique partners, queried my agent, and watched as one simple meeting and the encouragement of a few beautiful women formed the complex maze of my writing career. It was after this meeting that I started my own business with the support of my husband, not knowing how it was going to make ends meet at first but believing it would give me the freedom to do work I’m passionate about, the flexibility to be home with my children, and the space to grow my pursuit of publication.

If I zoomed out in this metaphor, I know I would see that I’m still chipping away at the beginning of the maze. But I’m grateful for every opportunity and redirecting wall that has come since that manilla folder — and every person who has been in the trenches with me!

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your story in the comments! You can also connect with me on my Facebook author page, where I share book recommendations, information about intentional living and the writing craft, and glimpses into life as a writer.

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