The moment I realized I needed to turn my writing career from amateur to pro, I was sitting on my bed, staring at a yellow legal pad trying to figure out what to do with my life after finishing grad school. My husband was on his tablet and I on my laptop. We were staring at our electronic devices, not talking. Outside a drunk couple was arguing on the street about who drank the last of their Monarch Vodka. This was our normal.
It was late December, around 10 p.m. In two semesters my graduate degree would be complete, and I planned on taking a well-deserved break from academia. I was ready to live my life without worrying about FAFSA paperwork and deadlines for assignments. I had started working as a part-time freelance writer back in 2012, and was ready for more. I realized that if I wanted to fulfill my goals of 1) becoming a published author and 2) paying off my student loans before pursuing my PhD, I needed a change.
I knew that my regular 9-5 would only allow for one of those goals to be met. Relying solely on traditional employment would not fit my life. Instead it was slowly robbing me of two precious and finite resources – energy and time. I had an existential crisis. I wanted to spend time doing the things that I was passionate about. I wanted to continue entertaining and educating people with my craft. I wanted to spend time with my husband and family. I wanted to be who I have always been – a writer, an artist, and an activist.
I decided it was time to take my writing career to the next level. Predictably, I freaked the f— out. I have anxiety disorder. I can’t make life-altering decisions without paying psychological dues. The idea of starting my own business as a “serious” writer was both frightening and intimidating. Yet, I persisted. I knew that if I gave up writing or bailed on entrepreneurship, I would be miserable.
I started consistently pitching stories to my editor, John Arrono, and actively seeking gigs. Before I knew it, I was getting articles picked up, and even landed an assignment reporting on gentrification and eminent domain for Alaska Commons. I was writing and creating, but on my own terms. A year prior, I would have written the whole thing off as a pipe dream.
I began branching out and breathing new life into old drafts of short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. I started enjoying myself again. However, I didn’t want to give up the relationship I had built with my readers through my years of blogging. I missed writing about the things I am passionate about which is food insecurity and homelessness. I missed writing stories that people could connect to and sharing post that both educated and inspired.
So I decided to redesign my website in order to write about the world in a way that fits the shape of my life. There are freelance stories, DIY projects, long and short posts about life as a working writer, posts about family and, most important, posts about Geek culture.
Welcome to Pancho and The Mule.