Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Writing

Writing started out as therapy for me. It made me feel better. The more feels I felt, the better I got at articulating ideas through writing and the better writer I became. Writing turned from something that not only made me feel better because it helped me navigate my emotions, but also to something that made me feel better because it was one of the things that I received attention for (my disregard for ending sentences with prepositions not withstanding).

I always feared turning something so personal into a career. I didn’t think I would be able detach myself from my writing. Every suggestion or constructive critique would be like a knife to the stomach.

So, when I started college I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I wasn’t even that good at science in high school, but my mom was in love with the idea at potentially having one daughter as a lawyer and the other a doctor. Between her blind encouragement and the passable grades, I was on track for taking the MCATs and committing myself to years of indentured servitude to cadavers and merciless professors.

I hated every minute of my short-lived pre-med undergrad career. I failed at the material and I failed at convincing myself I could be happy in a field that I didn’t have the drive to improve in everyday.

I may have been a little too sensitive in regards to my writing, but it was a measure of the amount of care I had for it. Sure, I couldn’t detach myself when someone harshly critiqued a memoir piece I wrote, but I was fine when my grammar was ripped apart in the press release I drafted.

I’ve been feeling down adjusting to life as a grownup and not being able to whine to my mom about all of my #1stworldproblems. Then I remembered those two miserable years of biology, chemistry , and (gasp!) biochemistry. I may have struggled more in school than I ever had before, but the lesson I learned – albeit the hard way – was one that has profoundly shaped my life and career today.

For if I hadn’t made the full commitment to writing, I wouldn’t be blogging with these fabulous ladies. I wouldn’t be learning about all of the different ways I can write and still make enough money to not live in a box on the street corner (who’d a thought?). But most of all these past few weeks when I’ve been down in the dumps would have been weeks when I was absolutely miserable.

So when I learned that I really could never say goodbye to writing – that it is as much a part of me as my right arm – all my days weren’t sunshine and unicorns but they were better. And that’s all I need.

Ashley HaglundAshley works in corporate, health care and non-profit communications. She loves starting new writing projects; is a media junkie; enjoys studying science, technology and patent law issues; and has a love/hate relationship with semi-colons. To see her face and be her internet friend, follow her on twitter.

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