I earned my Associate of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Phoenix in 2014. I know, it's gotten a bad reputation. I started there in 2012, and Federal Aid paid for the education. Due to my health declining, I had to find an alternative way to work. I could no longer work at grocery stores and fast food restaurants. The only jobs I could do had to be remote jobs. With my social anxiety, most of the remote jobs wouldn't work. I had to look back on my life and see what I was good at, and what I remembered amazed me.
In elementary school, we had creative writing contests; I won them. I ended up being a judge in one contest. My stories were read over the radio, which excited this small child. I wasn't encouraged, so I lost interest when I got older. The last grade in elementary school and the first part of middle school I got involved in music. I didn't practice, but the teacher didn't know. I picked it up so easily. I played the violin. Like any other kid, I got bored and stopped. In music class, the teacher called my parents at dinner time and wanted me to join the band. I was getting A’s in music class and wasn't even trying. Again, I wasn't encouraged like most children are. Two things I was good at that I now regret not continuing. High school came along, and I did nothing special that would stand out compared to what I did in elementary and middle school; yearbook (Drift) staff for a year, flag squad for a year and the last two years I was in the co-op program (school for part of the day and work for the other part).
My teenage to adult life was fast food and grocery jobs. My favorite job was working at Game Stop, also known as EB Games. That job got me hooked on World of Warcraft, which I'm bad at playing. I don’t like doing the dungeon runs or raids, just the storylines. I also stayed off my rogue during the Thanksgiving season unless someone would give me lots of gold.
One thing I noticed was my maladaptive daydreaming. It was the scenarios that went through my head. I realized I had this problem since I was a young child. I would always pretend in my room that I was a member of (showing my age here) KIDS Incorporated and Michael Knight’s daughter (It was a K.I.T.T. thing). It was the same with MacGyver and He-Man (movie). I was re-writing the shows and movies in my head and creating characters—pretty much Fan-Fiction. I still do this. Shows and movies I've re-written in my head range from “The Lost Boys” to “Supernatural” and the “Marvel Universe.” Now I'll watch shows that won't have me go into daydream land and start re-writing. That is failing, but I'm now re-writing “Dennis the Menace” in my head.
My husband suggested that I write again. I didn't know where to start. I started a journal and wrote all my re-write summaries, then I lost the journal. I asked him if I could try to go back to school to learn about English and writing. He thought that was a great idea. When I started back to college, I was 39 years old; I started at the University of Phoenix for my Associate of Arts degree in Communications. The courses gave me a starting point, covering all forms of writing. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, essays and journalism. When it came time for that to end, I wanted more.
At first, I wanted to go to Full Sail University, but I didn't have enough money, which sadden my heart. I wanted their creative writing program. Heck, it’s the entertainment university! This appealed to me, just not my pocket book. My search ended at Southern New Hampshire University with their Creative Writing and English programs. Seventeen of my credits from the University of Phoenix were transferrable, which lowered the price and eliminated many classes. I settled on the Fiction Writing program and started in 2014. Plus, Federal Aid could pay for it.
During my time at Southern New Hampshire University, I noticed many people talking about majors and minors. I asked my academic counselor about it. She was unsure about the majors and minors because it meant more course work. I did more digging and found out that the coursework between the fiction writing program and the screenwriting program was the same, just different workshops. I asked my academic counselor if there was any way I could take the three screenwriting workshops as my electives. Sure enough, I could, and I did. I also had other electives; I chose Mythology, Cultural Anthropology, Archeology, and Diversity. I chose those classes to help me form characters and worlds in my stories. The other class I took was Journalism; it helped expand my writing. My goal was, and still is, to be an author of horror, science fiction and fantasy (be it in book or film form), and writing about the entertainment world, not the tabloid stuff, for the journalism side. I finished my Bachelor of Arts program in December 2016. Still, I wanted more.
Now, I'm in the Master’s program at Southern New Hampshire University with a focus on fiction writing, with one class being screenwriting. I hope I can finish the program. If I do, I'll finish up my education in 2018. I've been in the journalism world since November 2016 writing for SNHU Odyssey. I cover a full-range of topics from mental illness to the entertainment world. I have my website, which is somewhat a portfolio.
So, am I known in the writing world? No, not yet. No one knows my name. Most of it IS my fault, though. With my depression, social anxiety, daydreaming and PTSD, I have problems facing the world. Many times when I post something on Facebook, and if someone comments on it (if it's rude or negative), I'll delete what I posted. I tell myself that my voice doesn't matter, and why should I say anything? No one supports me but my husband. He believes in me, even though I don't believe in myself. He sees me writing many books and making tons of money, even though I told him that wouldn't happen. My subconscious must believe in me, or why am I learning all of this?
I know it'll take time to build an audience, which is what I'm hoping to do with my SNHU Odyssey articles. I will be 44 years old this August. The first part of my life was great; the start of my adult life was horrible—something I wouldn't wish upon any of my enemies. Now, I'm feeling the injuries sustained from the late 90s and early 2000s. It's those injuries that have brought me to this path: to reignite my childhood passion and use it as a career to help others through words. It feels more like I came full circle. It does not matter what age you are; it's never too late to reignite your passion! Show the children of the world that dreams can come true if only you work at it any way you can. Even if no one supports you, it's your life, not theirs. Live it as you see fit for yourself and not for others. Don't believe me, just ask Amy Craton.