In what seems like another lifetime, at the tender age of 17 as I embarked on my Freshman year of college, starry-eyed and full of limitless potential, I thought I would make a living writing. It was 1988 - before the internet and document sharing when joining Greenpeace and taking photographs for National Geographic were part of my plan. Fast forward to not actually obtaining my degree (ever) and realizing Greenpeace and Nat Geo weren’t on my to-do list, here I sit, still writing. Although I have never hit it big financially from putting what’s in my head onto paper, the internet did open up many paths to get information to the world (as well as making correction fluid obsolete!).
I’ve written a blog since October 2012, I started my website in April 2016, published book #1 that same year in August, and I launched a podcast in May 2017 - all ways of sharing information with those who are interested in what I’m peddling. I’ve written for many publications and while I haven’t “made money” in a way that supports me, writing has always been a cathartic romance.
Which brings me to evaluate my writing career to determine if it has been the wild success I once dreamed it would be, and yes, I believe it has been - although not in the way I originally intended.
When I started my blog all those years ago, my goal was to share snippets of my life - running, having a large family, getting through relationship trials, a divorce, adopting, foster care, blending families, etc. in part to help other people who may be struggling with balancing work, kids, relationships, fitness, and part to get “all the things” out of my head to process them so I could balance things better myself. I was encouraged by another blogger because she felt I had a story to tell. With that encouragement Mom’s Running It was born. As my now 23-year-old daughter said when she thought of the title; “Mom, you run everything. Including races”.
When I wrote my book, I shared my life from birth until I was 21 and the dysfunction and abuse that I endured. My goal was to help someone else who was struggling with sexual or physical abuse. If just one person could learn that it’s not only possible to get through it, but to thrive on the other side and that our struggles don’t define us, it would be a job well done.
After a few years, the blog took on the website’s name - Mom Of 18, I’ve added video as a mode of communication and a podcast to share other people’s voices, but my drive to share experiences that can improve someone’s life and create connection has never changed, nor have I ever ceased using my media to create a better version of myself.
What has taken years to figure out is that I’m in absolute head over heels love with the story and as the catalyst that shares those stories, I’ve become a storyteller. What has also unfolded over a 30+ year romance with storytelling, is that my goal is always to help someone become a better version of themselves, in turn pushing myself to grow and become better. I’ve fanned the flames of connection with other people and worked through the many esteem issues that arise as a result of parenting and life, through the stories I’ve been blessed to hear and share.
Writing has not made me financially independent, nor have any of the media outlets I’ve used, but in terms of connecting and improving my life, I’m rich beyond measure.
Listen to Jenn Taylor's podcast episode here.