It all started 18 years ago, I was a busy working professional in the legal field and then…something happened. I gave birth to my first daughter. With all the good intent in the world, I had planned to return to work after my 12-week maternity leave. BUT…she was so precious. I was so in love with her. And, no day care could possibly be the right fit. As it turned out, I gave up my job and stayed home with her. Only, it was incredibly tough taking this road.
You see, we were an active duty military family and we were struggling to make ends meet even before I quit my job. So, I decided that I needed to be a work from home mom versus simply a stay at home mom. This was around the time Ebay was kicking off. I decided that I would become an Ebay seller. I had no sales experience whatsoever (unless you count my time as a grocery store cashier in high school). Frankly, I had absolutely zero interest in sales, but I would do whatever it took to make it work. Staying home with my daughter was my number one priority.
I made some money. But, mostly, it was a big pain. And, it was a lot of work with little profit to show for my efforts.
Then, when my daughter was only 2, she got sick one day. We thought it was a stomach virus at first. But, by the second day, she had slowly slipped into a coma. I’ve never been more terrified in my life. We rushed her to the hospital in the middle of the night. We had no idea what was going on.
Later the next day, she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes (Type 1). This is an autoimmune disease and it has nothing to do with being overweight or eating too much sugar. It is a terrible disease that can turn fatal if not for proper monitoring and multiple daily injections of insulin. This dramatic time in our lives cemented my need to stay home with my daughter.
For 4 years, I worked at various at home jobs. Only, my business was failing — as was my marriage.
By the time my daughter was 5, I was a divorced single mom and had moved back home to my home town. In order to make ends meet, I’d had to sell off everything that was important to me (including my small retirement account) and we were alone and struggling. I had no choice but to return to work full time and get help from family and friends with my daughter.
At this point, she required multiple blood sugar checks and insulin injections throughout the day. Even when she was at school, she needed assistance. How would I do this and work a full time job? I can tell you that it wasn’t easy. We were struggling for money and I was working in a job I hated.
I finally found small paid position as an online chat moderator for an author’s group. You see, I’d always wanted to be a published author. I’d been writing since second grade and was, at one time, the winner of Outstanding Young Journalist of the Year. My passion for writing had never faded even after all my years away from the pursuit of it. Sure, I’d written my first novel at 17 years old (about a teenager who falls in love with a rock star, of course). And, I’d been working on other novels for years now. Sending out some half-baked attempts at query letters to publishers along the way.
But, I’d never seriously pursued…really pursued, with a passion, getting published. Working as a chat moderator, I was able to meet and study many published authors. I was able to ask a lot of questions and gain some “insider” information.
Two years later, I was remarried and expecting my second child. I’d returned to the legal field at this point and I hated it. It just wasn’t what I wanted for my life. The hours were long, the work was stressful, and it kept me away from the two things I loved most — my family and my passion for writing.
So, when my second daughter was born, I was faced yet again with a 12-week maternity leave and a decision to make. This time, I knew I had to make the leap to where I really wanted to be.
And where I really wanted to be was home. At home with my kids. At home with my work. And, more importantly, doing work that I actually loved. For me, that meant writing.
I decided to spend those 12 weeks recovering from childbirth, trying to sleep, and figuring out how to make my dream job happen.
Of course I wanted to work from home and raise my kids outside of daycare. I mean, who wants to spend all day working a job you hate just to make enough money to pay for daycare where you don’t really want your kids to be anyway. I also wanted the independence of working from home and being my own boss, having a flexible schedule, and making the money that I wanted and needed to make.
All of that was true. But also, I came to realize that being an engaged parent — actually being there for my child and being able to experience everything in their lives was more important to me than anything. There was a reason I’d always dreamed of being a published, paid author. It really wasn’t all about just working from home. It was about seeing my dreams come to fruition.
It was about stepping outside my fear of putting my work in front of other people. It was about getting vulnerable by allowing the world to read the words that I was creating on the page. It was about overcoming the fear of rejection.
Would this dream of becoming a successful author just become just another job that couldn’t support my family? Would it be just another Ebay experience gone bad? Would it be wasted time and energy?
So, I set to work making a plan to get published. I studied how to properly query agents for their representation. I bought writing software to help me get my plotting done and sort out all the technical aspects of novel writing. I spent money that I didn’t have to attend writing conferences and meet other writers who were living their dreams. Credit card debt piled up with no relief in sight.
But it wasn’t working. I wasn’t getting published. I wasn’t making any money. And, I certainly wasn’t seeing any results as the end of 12 weeks loomed closer and closer.
Then…one night, while sitting up with my insomniac toddler, something occurred to me. It was so simple that I couldn’t believe it. How was I ever going to publish a book if I hadn’t even finished writing it yet?
Yep. It is all true. I’d been studying how to get published. I’d been asking authors left and right for the secret. I’d been trying to figure out how to use all these expensive software programs. But, I hadn’t been writing much. I’d written some. I’d plotted out books. I’d learned how to write query letters. And, I had more books started than I could ever finish writing in a lifetime.
But I hadn’t finished a single book. And, do you know what my big realization was?
None of these things were actually going to write that book for me. Writers write. It is as simple and as complicated as that.
How, exactly, was I going to find time to write with a small child (who was diabetic) and a newborn? After all, kids need a lot of attention. I was too busy. Plus, agents weren’t very fond of accepting any of the story ideas I’d sent already. What if I wasn’t really a good writer? What if I was just going to get more rejections over and over again?
And, did I really even know how to write a novel in the first place? Was it just a pipe dream? Maybe I should just go back to that job I hated that paid me a regular income without fail.
What do you think I did?
Well, here I sit, 11 years later. I never returned to that job I hated. Instead, I wrote 27 novels and novellas in several different genres. I’ve had an agent, published with a major NY publisher, published with mid-size publishers, published with small start-up publishers, and even independently published my books.
In addition to that, I’ve been a two time USA Today Bestselling author and an Amazon #1 Bestseller in various genres and categories.
I did all that while raising not only 2 daughters but a son as well (Did I mention that I had my third child only 1 year after my second? When I do something, I go big!) and I dealt with all the struggles of making it happen by never giving up. Since that time, I’ve created 4 businesses which include an editing business, a ghostwriting business (because writing for myself just wasn’t enough), a marketing business for authors, and now…I’m a writing coach for writer’s of all levels. I still write, but my heart is now in coaching others.
The glimmer of light came when I discovered that it is all about commitment to the process — to actually taking action no matter what. Who I became was a writer that writes and an author that publishes and gets paid to be published. My motto for my students is… Get Published. Stay Published.
My mission now is the help others make their writing dreams come true. I’ve created a method known as The Book Factory Method and it has helped hundreds and hundreds of writers fulfill their writing and publishing dreams.
The concept came from one of my publishers who was amazed at how many books I had written in a short period of time. She told me, “Kerri, you’re like a factory. You just crank them out. Nothing stops you from writing.”
That’s true. I know how to get to work and make it happen. All it took was 12 weeks, 3 kids, and a keyboard to figure out the way there. And, I’d love to show you how it all happened behind the scenes. You in?