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Publishing is About the Willingness to Take Chances

Just two weeks before graduating college in Milwaukee, Professor Dick Leonard called me into his office to offer me what would later become a life-changing opportunity.

He was responsible for hiring a student intern to fill a position at the Newport Daily News in Newport, RI and he was offering it to me, above all those who had actually applied for the job. I told him honestly that my years of college journalism had burned me out and I just wasn’t sure that was a path I wanted to take. He urged me to take it anyway. He really wanted me to do this and since I loved and respected him, and it was in Newport, RI, I said yes.

This meant turning not only my life, but the lives of everyone else I loved upside down. I had to break a lease I had just signed with my best friend. I had to call my parents and tell them I needed a car. Oh, and I was moving to RI for the summer. A place no one in my family had ever been. In fact, none of us had ever even been to the East Coast. I was doing all of this to take an unpaid internship in a field I didn’t even want to work. My other option was waiting tables and sending out resumes so why the heck not?

While my internship did not change my mind about journalism, it did show me that there are real possibilities when you take a chance. That we can’t predict today how we want to live the rest of our lives and taking the road less traveled might be the perfect road for us. That it never hurts to say yes.

From Newport I followed a friend to New York State and, well, the rest is history. Here I am in New Jersey, working my dream job and running my dream business. And it all started with a call from one of the dearest men I’ve ever known. And my willingness to say, “why not.”

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3 comments

  1. What a beautiful story, you are a strong and kind lady, who worked hard for what you have.

    I started writing because of a ‘why not’ moment, but I’m not as brave as you. I’ve always been post publishing, I had just finished a media degree aiming to work with authors and their books. But things change.
    A friend challenged me to write when I told her about a strange migraine induced dream and that I couldn’t get the girl out of my head.
    A year later when I was diagnosed and said character and her world were still in my head (and the world had been developed) I said why not.
    Since then I’ve been learning about the pre-publication side of books and learning to write.
    I’m not sure which is harder.

  2. A great story, Jessica. My road has more twists and turns than I ever thought it would, some through choice and others thrust upon me. But some of my greatest moments have come from taking the road that others didn’t want =)

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