I can't remember when I first felt called to writing, but I know it was early in life. In second grade, I wrote and illustrated a children's book (about a mustached chef who starts his own Italian restaurant), complete with construction-paper-and-stapled cover and binding.
In grade school, I was always drawing or writing—short stories, journal entries, even comic books. In high school, I was editor of the yearbook. When my senior English teacher handed back a novella I'd written for a school assignment, in the margins he'd penned, "This is good. You should think about being a writer some day." Words I hold as close to my heart now as I did then.
Fast forward to college, where I wrote for the college newspaper. It was there I made the decision this was what I wanted to do with my life—tell peoples' stories for a living. And for more than six years, that's exactly what I did. I loved being a journalist. The pay was atrocious, the hours long, but every day was new and different. It was a rush to see your name in print, a thrill to be in the newsroom when a story broke and I was always meeting the most incredible people.
Today, I work in higher education, telling the stories of students at my alma mater, Ball State. It's a different (more stable) environment than a newspaper, but I love it all the same. During my career here at the university, I fell madly in love with wedding and portrait photography. Soon enough, I realized I couldn't let either of my careers go. So I decided I wouldn't. And I've fought to keep them both.
With the evolution of this web site and my newfound willingness to embrace both professional passions, I'm now sharing more of my writing with you. This means opening up more of my heart and soul to you through the written word, be it through life anecdotes, stories about the couples who wed in front of my camera, and—gulp—even sharing some of my fiction writing with you. (This is a scary, brave venture for me, folks).
I write because I love it. Because setting words free on the page, in some creative way, sets me free. And in the words of one of my favorite Christian writers, Shauna Niequist, "[Writing] forces me to live a better, richer, more creative, more sense-oriented, sensitive life. And I'm better for it, in a thousand ways."
I couldn't agree more.