From Corporate to Freelance Business Writer in Just 30 Years

{found on Pinterest, but originally from Etsy.com}

 

{by guest blogger Cathy Miller}

I cherished my sister’s Nancy Drew books.

Like so many things in a family of seven children, the books I loved were hand-me-downs. Okay, to be honest, they were never mine. But, I read them from cover to cover and back again.

I think it was then I realized I wanted to write. To say there were a few twists in my journey is putting it mildly.

Doomed From the Womb

I am the middle child of those seven, and the first born under insurance.

Little did I know that sealed my fate. I like to say I was doomed from the womb to be in insurance. And that’s what I did – for over 30 years.

Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with being in insurance. I made a very good living at it and it helped finance my new business.

Practically Speaking

I have two sides – a practical side and a creative side. I like to blame that on my parents. Hey, don’t we blame everything on them? My Dad was the hard-working, support-your-family type of man. My Mom is more of the dreamer, anything’s possible person.

My practical side took over at an early age.

  • I worked the first year out of high school – I didn’t have any idea what direction I wanted to go, and unlike what was the norm, I did not see the point in going to college with no direction
  • I researched fields for a good career choice – that is how I ended up in dental hygiene school (yes, cleaning teeth) – being even more practical, I enrolled in the two-year course so I could start working sooner
  • I switched careers when thrown a curve – I always said I felt I put my brain in mothballs after the hygiene program – when I was laid off because the dentist did not want to pay for my benefits that came with one year of employment, I took that hygiene background and moved into health claims

For the next thirty-four years, I worked for insurance companies, then major consulting and brokerage firms. You name it, I did it – claims, customer service, provider relations, account management, consulting.

But, I had an itch that I barely scratched.

The Words Inside

I have been writing as long as I can remember – even in the insurance/employee benefits industry.

When I worked for insurance companies, I wrote:

  • Training manuals
  • Provider marketing brochures
  • Sales and provider newsletters

When I moved into consulting and brokerage work, I wrote reports and eventually moved into managing communications for sales and client services.

While my creative side snuck into my practical side’s world, I wanted more.

Breaking the Silence

We all have dreams. Mine was to write – whenever and wherever I could. My practical side allowed the creative side in, but largely silenced the dream.

Like any good writer with a flair for drama, my exit from Corporate America involved hitting my breaking point and quitting on the spot. Fortunately, my practical side (and a very understanding boss) had me apologizing for the emotions, but not the outcome.

We worked out a transition until I was officially a freelance business writer – with my former employer as my first client.

So, here I am in a marriage of the practical and creative. Of course, that cannot be the end of the journey. Surprise, surprise, I dream of writing fiction. My freelance business writing is helping me move down that path. Hopefully, it won’t take another 30 years to achieve it.

Regrets? Not really. My mantra is everything happens for a reason. I would not be the person – or the writer – I am without my life’s experiences. I close my personal blog posts with a favorite expression:

Live…Laugh…Love

It’s all about the journey.

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Cathy Miller is a freelance business writer with over 30 years of professional writing experience from small businesses to Fortune 500 customers. Cathy started her own business in 2008, providing all forms of online and print business writing. Cathy has a business writing blog at Simply stated business, a health care blog at Simply stated health care and her personal bog, millercathy: A Baby Boomer’s Second Life.

  • Nicky Parry

    Wonderful life story, Cathy! Ironic that your dental lay-off was insurance-related, and you end up being an insurance writing guru! I always believe that our life is just one long series of stepping stones, and your story hits on that for me – you took each step in your life and used your assets as a springboard to move you to the next phase. Love it! Very inspirational.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t have said it better myself Nicky! Talk about perseverance, motivation and insight. Inspirational indeed!

  • Brandi-Thanks so much for letting me share my story-twisted as it may be. :-) You are one of my blessings in this new life. Thank you!

  • Nicky-another blessing from my new life. :-) I agree, doesn’t life love to throw little ironic twists your way. It really does make you think there’s a bigger plan. Now, if we could just figure it out! :-) Thanks, Nicky-nice sharing this post with two of my favorite people.

  • Anonymous

    Aw you’re so welcome Cathy! You’re my number 1 support online writer friend. Both you and your story are so inspiring.

  • Hi Cathy! I know I have said this before: I love your writing style. Writing fiction is something that always attracted me also so, I will be following you closely and see if I can learn from your footsteps.

  • Cathy, what an inspiring story. Thanks for a peek behind the curtain. :) I love your writing style – the simplicity and clarity really resonate with me. (By the way, I’m getting a second chance to revisit favorite childhood reads such as Nancy Drew with my daughter).

  • Thank you, Sharon-see there are so many reasons I like you-like your great taste in reading! :-) I loooved those books. If nothing else, I guess my story shows you are never too old to learn new things! Thanks again, Sharon!

  • Aw, thanks, Gustavo. I really appreciate your kind words. I figure the more I put that dream out there, the more I have to focus on it. :-) Thanks for commenting, Gustavo.

  • Anonymous

    Cathy, looks like you have a lot of notable fans here! =) Sharon and Gustavo, I’ve seen you around Twitter and the web and appreciate you stopping by.

  • Good people to know, Brandi. I am blessed. :-)