When I was a little kid, I was the one who was always toting around a billion books in my wake. It didn’t matter if it was fiction or non-fiction, big or small – if it was a book, I’d read it. So, it came as no surprise that when I grew up, I decided that I wanted to get a job in publishing.
That’s easier said than done.
Without going into too much detail – I really had to work for it. I knew right off the bat that I was going to be a few steps behind people living in big cities like New York or Chicago where publishing internships were a dime a dozen. That meant I had to work ten times harder to make an impression on the publishing powers-that-be. It also meant that I had to do my research.
From the moment I decided to set my career goals – the top of which, was to get a job in publishing – I did nothing but memorize the lingo and immerse myself in the world of books, both digital and print. Living in the Midwest, I knew it was next to impossible to find a publishing gig comparable to what you’d find in a bigger city so my first goal was just to get my foot in the literacy door. So I did.
My first internship was actually a marketing position but it was for a local literacy council. That was good enough for me and it proved to be a great fit. Not only did I learn to interact with local authors and built up my professionalism, but it was my experience at my first internship that landed me an internship at a local small-scale publishing company. From there, I continued to gain experience in the publishing world and by the time I graduated, I had officially had four internships under my belt. And it felt good.
During my entire collage career the Market Books were my friends. I would continually use them to check out leads and use them as the freelancing source that they were meant to be. In all actuality, they were the first books I usually picked up in the morning and the last ones I put down before I went to bed. (I practically breathed them in!) So you can only imagine my delight when I was called to interview for F+W, a Content + eCommerce Company – the publisher of the very books that taught me everything I needed to know about publishing!
After weeks of interviews and an epic editorial test (that may or may not have intimidated me to death), I was officially hired on as an associate editor. To say I was overjoyed would be an understatement, but to say I was terrified would be dead-on. After so many years of planning, I had finally come to achieve my goal and I was scared to death that I would somehow mess it all up.
On my first day of work, my mother gave me this card by DCI Studios that pretty much summed up my emotional turmoil at the time. It was so perfect, in fact, that it’s been chilling out on my fridge door for the past two years as a reminder of the effort and constant self-doubt that it takes to overcome and achieve any goal. For the most part, I had forgotten about the card since its presence has essentially become over-looked every time I enter the kitchen. But last week, as I was prepping to write up a blog post for AMO, I grabbed the 2006 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market book from off the shelf for a little inspiration…
Lo and behold, what did I find as I flipped through the pages? An exact copy of the very card my mother gave me on my first day of work here! It may seem like a little thing or just a happy coincidence but, to me, it was a wonderful reminder of what it feels like to accomplish a goal. I’ve been so blessed on my career journey and I have so many people to thank for all of my wonderful experiences. It’s my hope that I never forget the terror and excitement that goes hand-in-hand with achieving a much sought after goal.
And let me be the first to say – it’s worth it!
If you enjoyed this AMO blog post, then you might like some of these:
How to Stay on Track & Get Paid: Record-Keeping for Artists
Setting Goals by Ilise Benun
Achieve Your Art and Photography Dreams in the New Year