Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Missed my calling?

Have you ever felt like you missed a calling of something you were meant to do? I'm 44 and I still joke that I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Ten years ago I never thought I'd be writing children's stories. In fact, when I think back of when I was little, the only thing I really remember wanting to be was a veterinarian. That was short lived, and after working for a pet clinic, I realized it wasn't my calling. I loved that job and I'd do it again if I could, but I wouldn't want to be the actual vet.

The night before last, I stayed up until 4am working on a rewrite of a picture book. As some of you know, my first experience writing came to me after visiting Glacier National Park. We didn't live in Montana at the time and we were on vacation when I saw my first mountain goat. For some reason, that trip inspired me to write a story for kids. I sent it out to every publisher there was and they all rejected it. That was around 6 years ago, and knowing what I know now, I understand why it was turned down. Since then, it's been rewritten in several different ways, including from fiction to nonfiction.

Yesterday I was playing around with my manuscript and formatting it how I thought it would look best in book form. I haven't even typed it in manuscript form yet -- that's what I mean about missing my calling. I typed it up in book format, complete with cover, title page, pictures, page numbers, about the author, website page, even back cover. I guess that's jumping the gun a whole lot, especially since I haven't had much luck with this topic before. That's just how I work. I have to see things laid out. I'm a control freak when it comes to how things look. I do that with everything, even my blog and Facebook pages. Years ago I did a small desktop publishing business from home. I made business cards, flyers, posters, brochures, newsletters, and stuff like that. I loved it. I often wonder what I could have done if I had formal training. As much as I love writing stories for children, I would be thrilled to be the one in charge of designing them in book format. I think it's something I could be really good at, if given the chance.

What are you really good at?


  1. You would be really good at that. I've always thought I would be a good proof reader; I'm pretty good at spotting typos (except when "I" type them). LOL

    I am not really good at anything. I'm fair at some things and poor in others.


  2. Hey Rena! Sounds like you had fun!

    I often feel like I've missed something, but I'm not sure what yet. Maybe I should've majored in Children's lit in college and started writing sooner.

    I just have feeling that it has something to do w/ writing . . . so even though I've lost time, maybe I can still catch up and get on track.

  3. Hey, I liked reading this post...
    Not sure if you know this about me... So I thought I'd share...

    Apart from illustrating your fabulous, Critter Group books... In the daytime, I work as the graphic designer for the Lane Libraries in Ohio. I design all the posters, bookmarks, brochures, etc. for the library.
    It is fun, but children's illustration is my calling and I am anxiously looking forward to doing nothing but that as a career...

  4. Nancy -- You ARE good at proof reading things. You always find my typos. LOL!

    Christy -- Children's Lit would be a fun thing to major in. Knowing what I know now, and if I could go back to school, that would be a consideration. :)

    Nikki -- No, I didn't know that about you, but it doesn't surprise me. The work I've seen from you has been nothing short of awesome! I think you will be really successful as a children's illustrator. If CRITTERS is any indication -- I know you will go far!

  5. Rena-maybe you will someday!
    I do think that being a teacher and mom is my true calling. I truly enjoyed when I was teaching and even more so being a mom. Writing is a pleasant surprise that came along!
    One thing I wish I would have done earlier was to explore music. I love music but have never played an instrument nor had formal vocal training which would have been fun!

  6. Kelly -- I totally hear you on the music thing. I'd love to play the piano or guitar. As you know, I love making "themed" playlists on my iPod. A long time ago I went on iTunes and saw theirs. I was like, "Someone actually got paid to do this?" Now THAT would be a lot of fun for me. I could totally get into making compilation CDs!

  7. Wow? What am I really good at? What a horrible, scary question to ask Rena! Because of course I immediately think of all the things I suck at! lol

    Prior to staying at home with the kids I worked in insurance and I was the 'go to' person. I did all the training, the hiring, the reviews, the question answering etc. I was everyone's confidant and mentor, I was so organized and always knew the answer to every question.... then I had children! And realized that I knew nothing at all and needed to learn everything. Children are a very humbling experience.

    So what am I good at? hmmm I play a mean game of Guess Who, I read Dr. Suess way better then daddy and I am the best swing pusher in town.

    Life is good.

  8. I was lucky to work with kids for 23 years. It was a natural calling. Second choice might be folk singer.

  9. Tracy -- That's great you were the "go to" person at work. Rick's like that with his job too.

    Bish -- I can totally see you as a folk singer, and I'm sure you'd be really good at that too. :)

  10. Wow, that's a hard question. I'm sort of good at tons of things, but really good? Maybe photography or singing.

  11. If it helps...I am almost 39 and I still don't know what I want to be either!! =/



  12. I have this saying pinned up on the side of my bed: "It is never too late to be what you might have been."

    George Eliot

  13. Rena, it's never too late! I think you just may have a gift in that area and are just now discovering it.

    I guess for myself, I like to be involved with kids, one way or the other.

  14. I always wanted to be a scientist of space exploration when I was a kid. I think that translates into a physicist of some kind. Got sidetracked by the impossibility of chemistry for me. However, should I get to do it all over again, I think I'll come back with more spacial reasoning and be a physicist. It still sounds so intriguing!

  15. I'm going to have to live for another 200 years to do all the things I'd like to do.

  16. I can completely relate to this post Rena! It's too late to start on something new; I hope you can take that chance on book designing or another passion, if you want to.

    I think, hope, crossing fingers, that I have found something that I want to do and could be good at. Only time will tell, but I'm going for it. What is it? Graphic novels, art and text.