Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying about my career. I can’t shake the feeling that the career I feel in love with so many years ago is not the career that I am meant to retire from.
I fell in love with radio when I was just 9 years old. I would lay in bed late at night listening to the d.j.’s on all of my local radio stations in awe of them. At 14 years old I saw the movies Pump Up The Volume and Good Morning, Vietnam for the first times. When I saw those movies I knew without a doubt that radio was what I wanted to do with my life.
Radio d.j.’s always seemed to me like the coolest people on the planet. They got to play great music for a living, give away prizes, and let’s not forget the perks like free concert tickets and free c.d.’s from the record labels. I wanted to be one of them! I enrolled in broadcasting school when I was 24 years old. I wanted to enroll much sooner, but I let myself get talked out of it by someone who thought I wouldn’t be able to do it.
The day I walked in for my first day at broadcasting school I knew I had finally found what I was meant to do. I had found my dream career. I had classes in announcing where I worked on diction, presentation, and news writing and delivery. I had classes in radio advertising sales (not my strong suit). But my favorite classes were in commercial production. To be able to take a few informational points about a business and write a commercial for them, then to voice it, find the perfect sound effects, and the perfect music . . . I fell in love. I could easily spend two or three hours on one commercial, not because I was slow but because I wanted it to be absolutely perfect.
My instructors loved me and I excelled in that school in a way that surprised everybody in my life, including me. I was never one to excel in school, until then. My placement director had such faith in me that he started very early on at working to find me a job. I still had about two months left in the 10-month program when he sent me out on a job interview. I ended up taking that job and technically never finished the program at school.
Thirteen years ago I walked in for my first day at a real actual radio station. My dream had come true. I was going to have a cool radio name, play great music, and give away prizes. It was all I had ever wanted. There was never anything else. Never! I never even made a back-up plan or considered that one day I might want to hang up the headphones and leave the airwaves.
For the past few months I have been considering just that very thing, and now I feel a bit lost.
I have been talking to a friend for the past couple of weeks about what I’ve been thinking. Today he asked me what I would do if I were no longer in radio. I have no idea. I have no other skills. I could do office work, but I would be miserable. That same friend then asked me what I would do if I could do anything I wanted. Immediately a picture popped into my head of notebooks and ink pens laid out in front of me. I would want to write . . . poetry, short stories, the next great literary masterpiece.
There are a few problems with that idea though . . . One, there would be no income from me while I was writing my masterpiece. My family can not survive on my husbands income alone. Two, I love writing. It is one of my favorite hobbies. But that is exactly what it is . . . a hobby. The moment that I decide to make a career of it then it ceases to be a hobby. It becomes work. It will no longer be something that I get to do for fun. It will be something that I have to do to pay the bills.
Writing is my passion though.
Radio used to be, but people grow and change. Moving to a new radio station would reignite that fire temporarily. Just as it did when I came to the radio station that I am currently at. But eventually the need, the desire for change would come out of hiding and settle in again.
I’ve been praying a lot lately about all of this, about what direction God wants me to go, if he wants to leave the airwaves in pursuit of something else. A few weeks ago an idea fell into my lap like a ton of bricks to put together a magazine-style publication for my church. I was talking to my husband about it on Saturday night when the idea grew to publish it for free through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service. Inspirational and uplifting poems and stories from children of God . . . imagine how many non-believers that could reach and possibly (hopefully) lead to Jesus.
Two years ago I wrote a poem about having faith in God no matter what. I published it on a poetry website a few months later. I have gotten requests for permission to use that poem on three separate occasions. One was by a woman who was putting together a collection of inspirational writings for her church. Another was from a woman who was indie-publishing her story about her fight and victory over cancer. The other request was from an author who wanted to use an excerpt of my poem in a novel she was writing. I gave permission to all three requests. How could I not give permission?
God gave me the words to write that poem even when I had still not opened my heart to him. He then sent 3 different people to me who wanted to share those words. That poem was not mine to hold on to. God put the words in my heart. I was merely the holder of the ink pen.
Tonight the novel author sent me a message on Facebook that said she is putting together a collection of poems and short stories. She asked if I wanted to submit anything. Earlier in the day my friend asked me how I could support myself as a writer until my masterpiece hits the bestseller list if I got out of radio. Freelance writing gigs, of course. But I want to write what I want to write, not what someone else wants me to write. If I submit a piece to the author then I will get to write for me, not for somebody else. That will be writing that I am truly happy with.
I prayed for guidance in all of this. Is this God’s way of saying, “Hey, Carrie, here is your opportunity.” He gave me the love for writing. He gave me the ability to write poetry and stories that entertain others. Now I am being given the opportunity to share my writing with more than just friends and loved-ones. Is God sending me an answer to my prayer for guidance, or am I just seeing what I want to see?
I am terrible at reading subtle signs. I need neon, flashing lights, blinky arrows, bullhorns, and sirens before I see what is right in front of me.
I will write a piece for the author. I will submit it to her. I will continue to pray for guidance. Everything happens in God’s time and the way God wants it to happen. I am just here to be his servant.
Until next time . . .