My jaw ached.
As I lay on the couch, I contemplated all of the steps that had brought me to this point in my journey.
How did I end up here?
After spending eleven years in education, the profession that I loved, why was I laid up on the couch with so little energy that I could barely get through a day?
Where had I gone wrong? I suddenly felt so old. Just a little over a year ago, I was spending weekdays exploring this amazing world with my classes of curious kindergarteners. I spent weekends guiding rafts and guests down the Colorado River.
But now? Now I just worked. Teaching was the day job. I loved the kids . . . loved their energy and the constant questions. Their insight, even at five years old, never ceased to amaze me.
That said, I knew that I couldn’t continue on this path. Teaching in public schools is a high stress job, and frankly, the intense focus on testing was exhausting (both for me and the kids). My health was at an all time low (as evidenced by abscessing wisdom tooth and subsequent surgery, which is why I was laid up on the couch). It was time for a change.
I began to reflect on my passions, skills, and desires.
What skills could a teacher provide the world from her home in the Colorado mountains? True, I had a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I had worked for quite a few years in the nonprofit sector before moving into education. Yet, I wasn’t sure I wanted to return to business.
True story . . . I randomly searched Google for “home jobs for teachers” . . . and I stumbled across the idea of working as a writing coach. I had taught adult language arts, and I had often been complimented for my strong writing skills.
It dawned on me that I would love to help people tell their stories . . . be it through coaching or editing.
Two weeks later, I filed for my first Sole Proprietorship, Writing with Eloquence. This would soon become my LLC and the parent company of The Durango Wordsmith. I enrolled in NAU’s Graduate Certificate in Professional Writing program. With one master’s degree under my belt (in education) and no real interest in another three years of grad school, I hoped the graduate certificate would be enough.
My new career was on its way. It didn’t necessarily explode right off the launchpad. It was more like I had started building the rocket ship.
I spent a year and a half in grad school and worked as a copywriter for an educational service organization. I freelanced on the side, and with a lot of hard work, my business began to grow.
In a nutshell, that’s my story. Six years in business (primarily in the nonprofit sector). Eleven years in education. Seven years in the outdoor industry (I was known to guide rafts during the summers and work as a ski—or rather snowboard—bum during the winters).
After moving back to Durango, I realized that I needed a local business name. Writing with Eloquence was good, but it was hard for people to remember.
I began looking for one word that would summarize what I do. Finally, it came to me. I am a wordsmith. Like a blacksmith works iron, I take words and work them into something beautiful.
Some stories are compelling. Some are informative. Others are entertaining.
No matter what stories I coach or edit, I act as a wordsmith, shaping and sculpting them into a piece of art.
This word also epitomized the spirit of Durango. Durango is a land of many contradictions. It is the place where “the mountains meet the desert.” Here, we elegantly blend the past with the present while always keeping a steady eye on the future. In Durango, we accept where we are today, but we refuse to stay that way, much like a blacksmith accepts his iron, but refuses to let it stay in its original form. In the same way, a wordsmith takes raw words and shapes them into something impactful.
So now, from my humble home nestled in the San Juan mountains, I write. I edit. I coach. I tell stories and help others tell theirs.
That’s my story. What’s yours? Do you have a story you need to tell? Need an extra set of eyes? Just want to bounce some ideas around?
I’d love to help, even if you don’t live in Durango. I have clients from Missouri to Moscow (yes, the one in Russia), and I love the fact that we can connect digitally in this modern age.
Just let me know how I can help. I promise, I don’t bite. Feel free to shoot me an email or put time on my calendar. Together, we’ll tell a killer story.