With the approach of Mother’s Day this year, I wanted to write something about mothers, so I went back and forth, looking for something to say about mothers and writing, editing, or publishing.
But I found myself empty of any great lesson, information, or wisdom to impart, so the format of this week’s post is going to be a little different. Instead of giving information or instruction, I’m just going to share a story about my own mother and how she’s influenced my career as a copyeditor.
The Reason I’m a Copyeditor
If it weren’t for my mother, I wouldn’t be here today, writing this blog and editing.
I don’t mean that in the sense that without her I wouldn’t be alive (though that’s also true). I mean that she’s the one who spoke that quiet word into my ear at just the right time and place.
At a time when I was feeling stuck in a job that paid the bills but no longer held excitement or interest for me, she reminded me of a dream my twenty-something self was too afraid to pursue. I lacked the confidence and maturity to go after it, so I pushed it aside and forgot about it.
Giving Up On My Dream Job
I read a lot of personal growth books, and I think it’s in Quitter by Jon Acuff that he talks about how most of us don’t need to discover our dream jobs but rather rediscover them. He says that most of us knew what we wanted to do with our lives as children, but many of us abandon our dreams because we’re afraid or we (or someone in our lives) convince ourselves that the dream is crazy, unrealistic, impractical, or impossible.
That was me. I didn’t mind writing if I had something to say about a topic that interested me, but where I really came alive was in the peer-review and editing stage. And if you set me to editing someone else’s work? I was in heaven!
But I was insecure and afraid. I thought I would have to move all alone to some big city, and I didn’t even know how to rent an apartment, much less where I would get the money to do so. I had heard scary stories about how hard it was to get an entry-level position at a publishing house, and then, you had to put up with toxic coworkers and low pay for years until you could maybe eventually work your way up.
I let myself believe the stories and get intimidated by the unknowns, so I never even let myself seriously consider pursuing my dream.
Rediscovering My Dream
Fast forward to my thirties. I had life experience, maturity, and confidence that my younger self lacked, and I was ready to do actual research and challenge the stories to find a way to pursue my dreams that works for me.
Turns out, I don’t have to move to a major city (or anywhere, for that matter) and work my way up through some soulless chain in a major publishing house. Actually, the reality of publishing houses isn’t as bad as my fears built them up to be, and even the structure of traditional publishing is changing.
I can build a freelance career from anywhere because the magic of the internet lets me work entirely remotely. And the rapidly growing number of self-published authors means a rapidly growing number of potential clients to help with their editing needs.
Mom’s Role in All This
I don’t harbor any major regrets in my choices and the direction my life has taken. Would I be farther along in my career if I had gone straight after my dream? Maybe. Or maybe I would have failed miserably because I wasn’t ready.
I went on to have an amazing life with amazing adventures. I joined the Peace Corps, cycled across England and Ireland, learned how to rent an apartment and do all of the things adults do, and grew and matured as a person.
I now have life experience, confidence, and financial stability that I didn’t before.
But when the time came to rediscover my dream, it was my mother who knew me well enough to give me that gentle nudge, to whisper the reminder in my ear, at just the right time.
She had listened to my young dreams, remembered, and believed I could achieve them, even though years had passed. It didn’t matter to her that my heart lay in the arts rather than science and medicine like her and her mother before her.
She never forgot or gave up on my potential, and she never let me, either.
I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to have been raised by an amazing woman, but I’m grateful for the one God gave me.
What about you? How has your mother impacted your dreams? And have you let her know what she means to you?
Maybe this Mother’s Day is the time to do it.
Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.