When I was 26 and just out of grad school, I moved to Minneapolis with my then-boyfriend and started networking. During one of these meetings, a woman told me I should get some business cards that read,
Jessica Null: Writer, Editor.
That way, if I ever bumped into anyone who knew anyone connected with writing, I could hand the person my card.
“Oh, no,” I said. “I’m not sure I could take myself that seriously yet.”
Have you ever said something that later makes you wince? I’m sure the lady was like, “Quit wasting my time, then.” But she was very nice. “You have to take yourself seriously,” she urged. But I didn’t get it. I just didn’t get it. I’m embarrassed about it now, but I must not have been ready then. Timing is everything.
I had graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing and though I had a deep-rooted desire to sit in a dormered room and write all day, practical me thought I should make money first. Plus, I got an icky feeling when I thought about coffee houses and “writerly types” who sat around pontificating on the meaning of, “This Is Just to Say.” It wasn’t me.
I was true enough to myself that I decided I would still write. I’d just get paid for it, for every hour worked. I never made the business cards, but I did get two jobs I loved, one writing exhibit text and another writing for a state senator-turned-gubernatorial candidate.
However, that writing-in-a-room thing still nagged at me, as ever. I’m one of those who has to write or I get anxious and annoyed. I smoked in college. The urge to write is like the urge to have a cigarette.
There are many reasons why now is the time I have chosen to finally take myself seriously. As in, my dreams. As in, what I want to do has worth. Is worthy. All that. Many reasons. And that icky feeling? Not distaste. Fear. But it’s gone now.
Now I have written my first novel. Now I am attending my first writers conference. This has been a year of firsts, and all for the better. The best.
This is just to say…
Five minutes ago, I ordered my first set of business cards.