If it weren't for the messages coming from people I am connected with on LinkedIn congratulating me on my anniversary, I wouldn't have realized I had one to celebrate.
Seven years ago this month I started freelance writing. With nothing but $40 in our checking account and not a single writing sample, I responded to a job posting looking for a content writer on a bidding site that no longer exists.
In my proposal I wrote, "Hi! This is going to seem crazy but I am very interested in writing travel articles for you, but, I have no experience as a professional content writer. I have never written an article but Google is my friend and I'll learn how to do it tonight, and start writing your articles tomorrow."
As if that weren't crazy enough, I continued, "What have you got to lose? If you aren't happy with my writing, not only will I suggest you not pay me, but I will invite you to leave me bad feedback."
Well, let me tell you how much I lucked out that this crazy proposal went to a woman named Aimee who was willing to take a chance on me. She responded immediately and hired me.
I stayed up all night and learned how to structure an article for the web.
The next night I wrote one of the five articles I was hired to write: a travel article about the South of France, a place I'd been to many times. I turned it in and apart from minor corrections, Aimee said she loved my writing style and to keep going.
I stayed up all night the next night and finished the other four and turned them in.
Aimee paid me, gave me five out of five stars and I got my first repeat client. I continued writing for her for the next six months. Aimee mentored me (she still does when I am stuck) and we are still friends to this day.
I met her and her wife, Vanessa, when I was in Los Angeles in June. As the co-author (along with Bryony Sutherland) of the book, Being Biracial: Where Our Secret Worlds Collide, we were there to sit on a panel and talk about gender and race politics.
It was one of those completed circle moments for me.
Seven years ago I became a writer after years of getting in my own way and not becoming one. I am filled with gratitude for Aimee. I can't thank her enough for giving me a shot. I guess the rest is kind of history.