My writing life has developed from a lot of places, both serious and silly. On one hand, there's my background in growing up with an alcoholic parent. If you can't find inspiration in that, you're just not a writer.
From the beginning, words were important to me. While nasty words were flung around my house as a kid, I also used words as a safe place. Several years ago I wrote an essay for NPR's "This I Believe" that talked about my childhood. It instantly become the second-most popular on the entire site.
I knew the popularity meant one thing, that others could understand and learn from my pain. It's hard to understand the power that negative words have when you're a child. You grow up believing that how someone else labels you is what you really are, and then you look for ways to support that.
If you have never experienced it, you can't really get it. Once I was able to see the destruction that verbal abuse had cause in my life, I vowed to use words in a positive way.
That's the serious side. But one thing that has been a constant in my life is humor. I've looked to it through moments of pain, happiness, and hey, even when I'm bored. When I did online dating several years ago, I decided to go into it with a positive attitude. This secretly meant that at least I'd have some good stories from it when it was all said and done. Turns out, I had that and more.
I went on over 60 coffee dates in six months. I had weird dates, chatted with some odd people, but mostly met wonderful, sweet guys that just hadn't found the right person for them yet. One of the guys I met turned out to be my future husband. Who knew? We wed a year to the day we met and I've been happily married ever since.
I've written stories and poems since I was a kid, but over ten years ago I made the leap to freelance writing. Today, I write and manage my own blogsand I've penned eleven books and ebooks on everything from relationships to Twitter.
I also write for many clients like About.com and here at Life Goes Strong. I've been quoted in articles for MSN.com, AOL's Gumdrop, Yahoo Shine, Match.com, and the Poynter Institute, and was also featured in the book What To Do When No One Has a Clue along with some Top Chefs and a few Real Housewives.
I'm also a mixed media artist, combining acrylics on canvas, special papers, and words from one of my four poetry books. I like to use words that empower and inspire people, and I'm mindful of that even in my art.
What I Know Now That I Didn't Know at 20
I know now that just because other people "label" you (stupid, lazy, unlovable) it doesn't define who you are. Oh if I could just go back and whisper that advice in my 20 year old ears. I've also learned that my faith is such a gift I can't really even wrap my head around it sometimes.
I love writing about relationships because I learn as much as I teach. After all, who doesn't want to get along better with the people in their life? Who doesn't want to be loved?
My favorite articles on Family Goes Strong combine the things I've learned and those inspire me the most.