It seems hard to believe that at this time last year I was entering my 33rd year working as an editor for the International Reading Association. A lot has changed! On March 31 I took a company buyout to pursue a career as a full-time freelancer writer/editor and children’s book author.

My first nine months in my new career have been exciting, exhilarating, and sometimes a bit scary. I’ve had the opportunity to make progress on a couple of children’s books, write articles for National Geographic Kids, Teaching Tolerance magazine, and the News Journal. I’ve had the opportunity to interview 99-year-old cartoonist Martin Filchock, actress and Delaware native Aubrey Plaza, and a number of other interesting people. I’ve written educational white papers for the Association of Educational Publishers and CELT Corporation, a brochure for the Highlights Foundation, and news releases for the nonprofit organization Read to Them. In short, life has rarely been boring.

The year ahead looks exciting, too, with new assignments from Delaware Today, National Geographic Kids, and the News Journal already underway, along with some other intriguing projects under development. In addition, I hope to come out with two self-published books in 2012. I’ll write more about several of these projects in future posts as more details are available.

I had the opportunity to speak about poetry at three state reading association conferences in 2011 and to make an author visit to an elementary school in Tennessee. I am currently in the process of planning author visits to several schools in the spring and fall. I truly enjoy conducting writing workshops with students, and I hope more of these school visit opportunities present themselves in the year ahead.

Do I sometimes worry about making ends meet with my new freelance career? Sure I do. Am I excited and pleased about the prospects ahead? Sure I am. Do I regret leaving the safety of a job I largely loved for the unknown of my next “dream career”? Not one bit.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy, and prosperous year in 2012. I hope I’ll have interesting and positive news to share throughout the year.

Random Writing Thought of the Week: As someone who has interviewed literally hundreds of people over the years, I must admit that I still find asking questions of strangers to be a bit intimidating. Yet, once I actually get into the process, I find myself totally engrossed, and I feel truly blessed to get to talk with so many interesting people and hear so many interesting stories as a part of my work.

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