Someday, I’ll find an agent.

Someday, my stories will spark the imaginations of young readers.

Someday, my books will be celebrated in a Tiktok by youngsters everywhere.

In the meantime, I push forward. I remind myself that I’m worthy and a damn good writer – even
if I don’t have the publications to show for it. (I promise this is not a psychology blog!)

I’m fortunate to have a steady income as I await discovery. Years of medical school won’t go to
waste, but I’d rather be pouring myself into writing projects and deadlines as I get older. Covid
messed with my passion for medicine, and writing is my happy place.

When I received my first paycheck for a writing gig, I hung it on my refrigerator. That minuscule
payment (truly tiny) could not cover groceries for the week, but I earned it with my writing. I can
suture lacerations, treat diabetes, and take care of newborns and the elderly, BUT I’d rather take
your child’s imagination on a journey when they read my stories.

While I wait for my moment (which will come), I keep busy. I thought I’d share how I’ve used
my MFA from Hamline without being a published author. My best advice, dig deep into your
psyche to discover WHY you write (maybe this IS a psychology blog?) When I graduated from
Hamline, I dreamed of book deals and seeing my stories nestled on bookstore shelves. I celebrate
every colleague who gets published or finds an agent, but it’s easy to fall into the world of “why
not me?” or “am I not good enough?”

One day, I realized I didn’t pursue writing to make money or become famous. I write because I
come alive when I create stories. Imposter syndrome lessens when you’re not trying to impress
anyone. Do what you love.

I write often, and I’m not afraid to try something new. I have middle-grade novels, YA novels,
and picture books galore – sitting on my computer. Before Hamline, I self-published a middle-
grade fantasy series. It’s not my best work, but it’s always been a pet project that speaks to my
children and our bedtime stories. I revised the books after Hamline and finished the series’ third
book. I could see my growth as the series expanded, and it was fun to see my characters through
to the end of their adventure.

I send articles to magazines when the topics are intriguing. I won a Christmas story contest for
Our Iowa magazine and later published an article in the same magazine about mushroom
hunting. As we’ve learned in our training, your passion shows when you write about your own

In the last year, I’ve combined my writing and medical worlds! I write educational lessons for, where students learn various subjects to earn college credit. I found the job on Indeed, and I write lessons in the areas of anatomy, physiology, biology, and humanities. It’s an
excellent non-fiction writing experience! This job expanded into writing case studies for nursing
students. They give me the topic and main points of the lesson, and then I create a patient case
study in a hospital setting to demonstrate the goals. It’s a fictional story wrapped in non-fiction

I apply to write-for-hire companies, often without a response. I recently completed a five-book
ghostwriting project through a friend’s referral that allowed me to explain medical diseases to
children in a fictional manner through the eyes of the therapy dog! It was fun and a great learning

Every week, a patient or random person says, “I’ve always wanted to write a book. Here are my
ideas….” After internally cringing with a fake smile, I tell them about my writing classes. The
Area Education Association (AEA) oversees schools and educators in Iowa. Their services help
kids in need and ensure that educators maintain their credentialing. After taking a class to figure out the inner workings of their computer system, puke, I created two classes of my own. Over
the years, I’ve fine-tuned the online courses so that they require little effort to maintain while
bringing in income. I learn from the student’s writing assignments, and educators have fantastic
picture book recommendations. One class, Using Picture Books to Augment Your Curriculum,
shows teachers how to use books to demonstrate craft concepts, emotional health, and story
structure. I also have a creative writing class that dives into voice, setting, character
development, and plot. This class aims to demonstrate fun writing exercises to stimulate young

I recently wrote a non-fiction picture book (a first for me), and now I’m dabbling with an adult
novel idea. I’m making money while writing, and I’m enjoying the work. I try not to get wrapped
up in the growing collection of unpublished work on my computer. My advice to other writers
struggling to find their way–just keep going. Rely on your friends and writing community for
support and guidance. And don’t give up. Someday…