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Need career(s)

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:10 am
by spiafto
First of all I want to mention that I felt so many wonderful emotions while reading RTC and watching the public television broadcast. Barbara has great wit. I’ll admit it, I cried. I cried that it was so insightful and that it was so simple. A stranger has given me permission to be who I am and that was all I needed to change my world and my way of thinking. It’s a very odd feeling, but positive. I think it’s just funny to see how simplistic we as creatures can be. We really do have to have basic psychological necessities before we can excel. But anyway, I am not writing to debate the dynamics of the human species (however interesting it may be). I need guidance.

I read the book and I saw the program and I am one of those people with the fear or inability (whatever you wish to call it) to start. Right now I feel as though I am at the crossroads of my life. I already have the tremendous opportunity to choose, something I regarded before as a daunting and unwanted task. I’d call myself a high-speed indecisive. In fact, I’ll be lucky to finish this letter :wink: .

I am 23 years young. I say this now with zest because I thought I’d have to be 40 before I ever figured any of this stuff out. I went to college at 18, starting off as a psychology major, pre-med track. Of course that lasted only for a semester and the only reason it went on for that long was because I was already enrolled and I certainly don’t see myself as a quitter. Chemistry- yuk! Anyway, I had to sit down with my parents to try to decide what path I’d take from there and it happened. I fell into the trap that grabs most people. I went for the major with the “security” attached (as if there’s any such thing). I majored in business which I also did not enjoy but- as I said- I am not a quitter, so I did the only thing that made sense to me. I did it as fast as I could. I graduated in 3 years because I thought my life would start to shine once they let me out of that environment where everyone was attempting to structure me. My favorite classes were sociology and criminology and operations management and entrepreneurship (probably all equally), anything about human tendencies and observations and self-success.

I worked full-time while in school, trying to keep busy. I seemed to perform extremely well when I had a ridiculous amount of things going on. It pleased me to keep up with things that no other person could reasonably expect to tackle. I guess I was a plate-spinner in that way.

The one thing that college did teach me was that I wanted no part of the “real” world. I didn’t want to leave and get a job. Jobs are no fun. I didn’t want to be stuck in a rut for “the rest of my life.” I wanted to find a way to do it differently.

I have always loved writing. More than once I have attempted to write my life (thus far) story and more than once I have gotten excessively bored with it. I never took a class involving it. I was afraid the “academics” would find a way to ruin it for me. It was the one thing that I always came back to and I couldn’t bear to lose the passion. I did decide however that I wanted to create stories rather than dictate my own. I was going to focus on creative writing and make that into a career, therefore circumventing the whole corporate world and bounded lifestyle that awaited otherwise. My last semester I had saved enough money and I quit my job. I had no qualms about having the talent and despite the claims abounding that it was not a viable choice and that most writers couldn’t pay the bills, I was gong to prove everyone wrong. Well that lasted until I found something good on television.

I couldn’t focus (just as I never have on anything). I have never been able to study or prepare or anything like that. I have been blessed with being good at a wealth of things and getting better usually doesn’t interest me, not for good reasons anyway. The only reason I’d be interested in that is to prove something to my critics, which as you said is no good reason at all.

So I decided to go into real estate. I don’t remember why exactly but the mechanics of way I thought boil down to the fact that other people in my family have done it and it was a “viable” form of self-employment. I didn’t have to go get a “job” and I could have some free time to myself. I was interested through the learning process of how to do it. I helped start the business within my family and I did the classes and got the licensure. I was shaky at first but then I learned how to do transactions and blah, blah, blah- I hated it. Now I didn’t have one boss or a corporation barking orders at me. I wasn’t working the same hours all the time and getting in a rut. Everyone was my boss, every single fickle and emotional person that came my way that was interested in buying or selling a house. There was no such thing as hours. I was working all the time or at least I had to be prepared to jump at a moments notice. Usually, that happened just as I was settling in for dinner. It was too high stress for too little reward. I didn’t feel like I was helping people achieve their goals (what I wanted out of it). I felt like a “used house salesman” and it made me angry. I was getting no fulfillment (other than monetary) from it and that was not okay with me.

I tried to rectify that. First I tried to let it take up less of my time and focus my free time on writing (again). When that was still unsettling, I decided to give it up altogether. Now I had no job and no joy. This is where I tell people I went through my “mid-life crisis”. I don’t think I’ll die young; I just like to think I’m advanced for my age. I was 22 and I knew something had to change. So then I went through the whole gamut. I wanted to be a police officer, a teacher, get a PhD in criminology or psychology (I even started contacting schools). I wanted to get my MBA to hopefully pick up some more ideas on starting a business and I wanted to be a college professor. I wanted to write novels in my spare time and become famous for who knows what. I wanted a job that was mindless so I could sort out all the other projects in my head or I wanted something that encompassed them all so I could quiet them for a time. Who knows what I wanted. It changed on a weekly basis. I even took practical steps toward some of these avenues before realizing they clearly would not fulfill the needs I had. I even considered starting a catalog of careers including how to attain them and actual “day in the life” type stuff to make this decision easier for other people in my situation. I have found that most career “encyclopedias” are either bare bones or only cover one thing. I certainly couldn’t afford to buy all those books. I am completely obsessive. I am interested in everything that crosses my desk, but not usually for a very long period. I can’t finish one ting without having at least 10 more started.

I did figure out on my own that I’d have to do more than one thing with my life. I wanted to write but I did have bills and I couldn’t just ignore those. So I decided to pursue teaching because I enjoy that (in theory) although I’m not really looking forward to paperwork and grading, or teaching the same thing for any length of time. It also has great time off and although the pay isn’t fantastic, I had already realized money wasn’t as much a motivator for me as I’d once thought. I am starting a series of classes in a 6 month program tonight to receive my teaching certification in the state of Florida.

And still I am lost.

I now have a bachelor’s in Business, a real estate license, a substituting certificate, a teaching license (in 6 months), a writing website, more than 3 books started, and a headache.

The world is completely open to me right now. I have no restraints on my time. I have no particular job at the moment. I have been substitute teaching for some extra cash but I am bound to nothing. And I feel as though that is what’s hindering me. I have nothing but opportunity and potential and I can’t make a move. Right now, I can perfectly structure my entire life however I see fit and I can’t even seem to settle on a time to get out of bed in the morning.

The following are a few of the things that are essential for me to complete in my lifetime. I want to write, specifically publish a few novels and have a loyal (not necessarily large) following. I want to help people. I am a great problem solver for others. I also like to research for people and come up with creative ways around their issues. I get such a rush from helping someone achieve something they could not achieve on their own. I’d like to become a mentor. I also want to travel and learn photography. Of course there are tons of other things in my scanner daybook, but these are essential.

I see the following thing as real or imagined obstacles. I am too young and don’t have enough experience to “insert activity here.” That and I just don’t know where to start.

I know I have said a lot. Please help! If anyone can, I know it’s you guys.

Thank you most sincerely.


Random P.S.- I ran out to buy RTC in the rain because my mother saw Barbara's program while flipping through channels and told me she’d figured out my “problem”. What an adventure.

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:02 am
by scannergirl
Hi Brandi,
I can relate so much to your situation! Unfortunately I don't know how to solve it. If you find a way let me know.

But there are some things I'd like to say to you. You have achieved so much! You have finished whatever you started. That is more than many can say of themselves. So don't beat yourself up because you don't know what to do. You say that you can't focus. I think that is not really true. You focused enough to finish your Bachelor, to get your real estate license and your substitute license. You can focus if you want to, but you get bored easily. I think your will to finish things is a real asset!

And about you being too young: Being young means that you have plenty of time to do whatever you like. You have enough time to try different things and go on to the next idea. Use that time! People who are older don't have that time. And you seem very clever and goal oriented so you probably can learn enough for whatever it is you want to do.

I would so much like you to feel better about yourself because you seem to be a very clever and nice person. Please don't make yourself feel bad about your many talents and the many opportunities you have. Think about how hard it must be for someone with limited talents and opportunities. I wouldn't want to have a job just because \"well, it's the best I can do\". Would you? Aren't we blessed with who (and how) we are?


PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:04 am
by tinyhouse
Hi there!

Too cute puppy photo, nice website!

You obviously have the desire and ability to write-that's a given! You also sound very bright- have you read anything about being gifted? I suggest you Google \"gifted women\" and/or \"gifted adults\". I think you'll see a lot of yourself in there. Also try a website,, especially his \"genius\"article.

It sounds like you'd do well with a challenging, people-helping job that could give you some background for your fiction. Maybe teaching troubled or gifted kids writing. If you're anything like me, I think you'll need something more than just teaching regular public school kids (not that there's anything wrong with that- I just think you'd get bored/frustrated).

Tell us more about yourself and we can help you more!

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:51 pm
by spiafto
To Scannergirl & DLB-

Thank you so much for your responses. I appreciate so much the acceptance and feedback I've already gotten from the Sher Boards.

First of all SG, I don't feel nearly as bad about myself as my first post probably sounded. I was certainly frustrated but it's not like I view myself as a failure or something. When I say that I don't finish things and have trouble focusing, I mean in the things that I feel really matter to me. I have started 3 books but it seems as soon as I get over the "newness" of any project, I leave it in the dust. I tend to come back from time to time but I make no real headway. I know that the best part of any new endeavor for me is the discovery, and that's fine in theory. The trouble is I don't have the end product I was aiming for, one I'd really like to see as well.

Ultimately, I want to be a writer. That’s how I like to identify myself and it’s the most important aspiration of my life. I seem to have trouble following through with this, however, and I've yet to determine whether it's because I'm afraid people won't like it or if I'm afraid I won't. Every other thing I've gotten "interested" in has fizzled out on me except my natural ability to help people and my love of writing/reading/learning. Sometimes I feel that if I "dive" in to that, I may lose my passion.

When I am supposed to be doing anything else, that's when I want to write. It's like my coping mechanism. I feel motivated to work on my books if I should be working or going to class or cleaning or any "have to" activity. But if I try to stay home and say "today I am going to write," inevitably I end up watching television or cooking or doing homework. All of the sudden that "to do" list becomes overwhelming and I simply can't wait one more minute to start (and probably not finish) that too.

The biggest issue right now is filling some of my time with something constructive. It really comes down to money. I have bills and subbing won't pay them. Plus I don't like it. I feel as though I am learning a new (yet the same) job everyday. By the time I feel comfortable, the final bell is ringing and it's somewhere else tomorrow.

So what I am looking for currently is a job that won't drive me crazy.


tinyhouse wrote:You obviously have the desire and ability to write-that's a given!

Thank you so much for the positive comments! I have rarely shared any of my work before this but genuinely love to be reassured on this journey that perhaps I am not crazy! I know one person's opinion doesn't actually prove that, but I'll settle :wink: .

I agree with you about the gifted/troubled aspects of teaching. I grew up in gifted classes myself. I am leaning more toward troubled at the moment, because though we remain on opposite ends of the spectrum, there may be no one that understands the frustrations of a troubled person like gifted one. I have been there and been bored in class. I have been outspoken and disruptive and even out of line because I wasn't challenged. While a troubled child's motivation may be different, their reactions can be the same. I have also done some looking into Special Education.

I also have apps in at the 2 on-line high schools in my state. I am really geared for these positions because it would give me the structure of assignments without the hassle of a "job." I'd get to work from home and set my own office hours. Students pursue their own learning and I'd be more like a moderator than an instructor. I'm there to facilitate questions and to problem solve on an individual basis- (I guess these kids are likely to be more toward the gifted spectrum- independent learners and thinkers anyway).

This would give me the opportunity to set up my own "school day" model and switch from on assignment to another without guilt. I won't feel bad writing (currently for no pay :cry: ) if I am making a suitable living with something else (for the time being, until I am notable :wink: ).

Anything else you guys want to know, just ask. Again, I appreciate your support.


To spiafto

PostPosted: Thu Aug 31, 2006 9:37 pm
by H. Fred
Goodness, spiafto, all writers are terrified of writing! We all go through the same things: I can't think of anything to say, what if it's crap, it's too hard, I don't want to finish, I can't finish, help, another blank page...I'm going to rip my hair out now! I understand from a lot of writers that they even have days where they feel it's like pulling teeth to get the book/article finished. Of course, there are those few who seem to just breeze through these things but I think they're in the minority.

Anyway, I think you should find some other writers to commisserate with. Check out the Web site of the National Writers Union. There might not be a chapter in your area but you can still join and take advantage of the resources they've got available (even if you haven't published anything). They use a sliding scale to determine your member dues, i.e., how much money you earn from writing. Here's the link:

There's a woman in my area who's a creativity and writing coach. Although you probably can't attend her courses, you can check out her Web site and maybe get her book. Here's that link:

Pick up a couple of copies of the Writer's Digest and Writer's Magazine. There are lots of good articles plus info on contests, retreats, courses, etc.

There's also another great creativity book called \"The Artist's Way\" by Julia Cameron. I've worked on some of the stuff in that book and it's a lot easier if you can find someone to do the \"course\" with you. A friend? A colleague?

You mentioned you did real estate. Were/are any of your clients writers? Closet writers? Maybe they'd be willing to do \"Artists\" with you.

Obviously, there are schools in your area. Maybe you could try and take some classes informally just to check it out. Don't start working on the degree yet. Just tell yourself you're \"checking it out\" to see how things are. At least if you find a class, you'll meet other people who are interested in writing.

I had an art teacher once who said that artists don't live in a vaccuum, contrary to popular belief. They need the company of other artists (or writers), someone who understands the process, the ups and downs, the pitfalls, someone to bounce ideas off of. They can also need some kind of structure (a class, a project, a commission, a deadline) to get things done sometimes. Sounds to me like you just might need some structure and the company of like-minded individuals to get going.

You could also check out Barbara Winter's book, \"How to Make a Living Without a Job\". I believe she and \"The Big Cheese\" here have done some programs/conferences together. I used to attend Ms. Winter's seminars when she lived in my area and I've been through her book so many times it's dog-eared and scarred for life. Her Web site is:

WAIT!!! I almost forgot to mention the MOST unbelievable book: \"The War of Art\" by Stephen Pressfield. (It's small, inexpensive, and worth every penny.) He can really explain to you what your \"Resistance\" monster is and how to fight it! Pressfield is a Hollywood screenwriter but he wasn't always successful. And no, it's not another one of those \"How to do anything better\" guides. It's not what you'd expect from someone in Hollywood at all. At least go browse through it in the bookstore.

Just remember, most writers don't earn all of their money from writing. They usually have other jobs and/or spouses to help bring in the bacon! So, maybe you can find that \"good enough\" job to pay the bills and do that writing the rest of the time.

Besides, since you're a scanner, you don't have to identify yourself as a teacher, or real estate agent, whatever. That's the problem with our culture here in the U.S. People are put into \"job boxes\" and that's how their value and self-worth are determined. Of course, in other societies people are identified by their religion, location, or tribal affiliation, which create a whole host of other problems. But it's great to know that there are others out there like me or you who can't be easily categorized. It's tough when all of your friends/relatives have the \"one track\" mindset but that's just their shortcoming! Don't let them talk you into getting a degree just because you're interested in something. Stop trying to rush yourself into a category because that's more comfortable for everyone else. Take your time and explore different things. You're young enough; you certainly have plenty of time! (Besides, those dang student loans are a ##%%#% when you're older and still trying to pay them off!!)

Hope this helps a bit.

PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 2:51 pm
by spiafto
Wow H. Fred! You sure are a wealth of information.

I have already started looking into some of the resources you suggested and am very happy with what I'm seeing so far.

I certainly don't see myself going back to get any type of degree in writing. I don't think it's necessary for the things I want to accomplish. I have been looking into courses offered online through Gotham Writers' Workshops based in New York City. It's more about spurring creativity than trying to teach the entire craft.

Fortunately, I have no student loans left over. I was lucky enough to have great scholarships, decent jobs, and parental support through school. I know how lucky I am now that I see some of my friends still paying thousands of dollars worth of bills toward something they finished years ago. The problem with most loans is you are paying on them long after you can justify or remember why. I sincerely feel for you in that arena.

I have been in my own self-created vacuum and do need to get out and about among other artists. None of my real estate contacts are a valid option, although even getting the recent outside perspective I have from others online has helped my attitude tremendously of late.

I certainly agree with you about the \"box\" idea. I think one of the biggest downfalls of our society's thinking is that we're obsessed with dichotomies. Everything has to be one way or another. You either have a job (which, by the way, will define you- so choose wisely) or you're on an alternate path of discovery (and then people think you're an eccentric or lazy weirdo- for lack of better terms). I think they really are wrong and I am trying to embrace this new open philosophy. I hope more and more of us are heading toward making a change in that mindset for generations to come.

Thanks for your resources and candidness.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 01, 2006 4:19 pm
by Longstrider
You might want to in check at The Writers Corner on Barbara's main board. It's chock full of hints tips and tricks to help overcome the blocks. Not to mention some great support.

As we are all discovering it really is all about the small steps. When you break projects into the smallest components things just get easier.

Another thread that may prove interesting, and helpful is the monthly 150 steps. Here the link to this months 150 steps in September.

PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:17 am
by spiafto
Thanks for the info Longstrider!

I have gotten great resources and feedback from everyone and am grateful you've all been so willing to help. I am looking into everyone's links and suggestions. If I find anything really noteworthy, I'll be sure and share it with everyone.

By the way, I love your signature!


PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:14 am
by tinyhouse
Glad I could help! Telling me you grew up in gifted classes made me think \"aha, I was right!\" I'm still learning to develop confidence in my intuitive judgment. I've always felt confident about it inside my head, but what I felt was intuitive accuracy, my mother would call being too critical or judgmental. Invariably, I would be right....The older I get the more I trust my judgment, but every little validation helps!

How much negative feedback did you get growing up? Are most of the people in your family really bright or are you something of an exception? Nothing against them or anything, but the higher your intelligence, the smaller the percentage of people around you who think like you. It isn't just about \"being smart(er)\", it's about noticing the little details that others don't see and making connections between things, etc.

Oops-gotta go (on library public computer with timer)! DLB

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:44 am
by Britta
Hi Brandi,
although the others also said a lot I would like to point you towards Barbara's ICDA (I could do anything if .... ). She recently encouraged me to go back to it and there is a lot of practical advice for dealing with resistance.
and there is something else: your age. Who says you are too young?
Let me just say something else I experienced. At first you are too young and then you are of the right age but lack \"something\" and that may be experience or a certain specific knowledge or whatever- and then you are too old. So if you want to know when you will have the right age? I'd answer: it is here, it is NOW ! unless you prefer the never :roll:

I am not just talking, but 46 years old successful businesswise, but still struggling trying to do what I really want. And working on knowing that I am not too old and it is not too late!!! (the exclamation marks are for me, I occasionally need to remind me)

Good Luck!!!!!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 11:56 am
by spiafto
Hey DLB!

It's not that I got negative feedback growing up. Both my mother and father are extremely bright and I am an only child so I certainly got enough attention and encouragement. I think I am just different than them, partially because of the things they've worked for.

They both came from families who had 3 children a piece and were never all that well off financially. When it came to making their own way in the world, they were taught they ways of corporate America in a sense. They had to make choices early on and I think some of their dreams got squashed. After so much time, now they have different ones, you know of retiring and being able to do less, not jumping out within their last couple years of working and attempting to reinvent the wheel.

I think all of my aspirations come from their frustrations and the things I have learned as I've observed them for so long. The only problem is, since they were forced into that box early on, sometimes it's hard to break them out of it. It's not that they're not supportive. I think that over the years they have simply become more \"safe.\" It's harder on them that I am a scanner too, because sometimes they get frustrated that my ideas are fleeting. They just want me to be happy and I think they're afraid I am heading down a harder path than they ventured. My mom has always promoted creativity. She's just the kind of person who thinks you should get a job first, and create on your own time, not because it's silly but because the world is harsh and there are no guarantees of success. They are just being conservative. I have to love them for it as they love the fact that I'm not and sometimes we just don't get each other.

Learn to trust your intuition though. Sometimes it is all we have!

To Britta-

Thanks for the guidance and support! I'll check out some of Barbara's other books. Of course it is NEVER too late to do what you love!!! (I'll remind you too, if you need it :wink: ). But I suppose it is also never too soon! (That one is for me :D).

Thanks again guys.

I think what I need now is a way into the writing field, freelance or otherwise. I think after all the posting I have done, I am finding that I already know what I want to do and am just fearful to start. I suppose I should just get out and find a way to do it. There will be many more questions ahead, I'm sure.


PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2006 12:27 pm
by tinyhouse
I was looking at \"the other book\" (same subject/came out very close to RTC) recently. In \"Renaissance Souls\", Margaret Lobenstine has a chapter for younger people just starting out. I also think her book has some beneficial aspects different from RTC - for me it's more organized, as is her process.

Also, I just read \"Organizing for Your Brain Type\" by Lanna Nakone ( She uses brain type and sensory preference (audio/visual/kinesthetic) to help people find their best organizing style. It's worth reading even if you don't have any major organizational challenges. I've read a lot about personality psychology and have found it really useful for understanding others as well as myself. Just thought I'd throw these bits of information out there! Good luck - DLB

PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:39 am
by Britta
Hi Brandi
I like your It is never too soon!

and thanks for the support: I can often use a reminder that it is not too late.
:) Britta

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:04 am
by spiafto
Thanks DLB and Britta-

I bought the books today! I am really looking forward to reading them. They'll arrive by Wednesday. As a bonus, I got Barbara's \"I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What it Was.\" All 3 for $24.73! Cheers all around!


PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:23 am
by spiafto
I also bought \"The War of Art\" by Steven Pressfield and \"The Artist's Way\" by Julia Cameron.

These were earlier recommendations by H. Fred, who seems to have a tight grip on useful material.

Thanks H. Fred!