Ts dotted, eyes crossed…confessions of a book editor

Ts dotted, eyes crossed... confessions of a book editor

You know what I hate? When a word — a common word that you’ve seen a gajillion times — all of a sudden one day looks…. wrong. There you are, writing away, and you write the word “bridge” or “magazine” — and it stops you in your writing tracks because even though you know it’s spelled correctly, your brain won’t accept it and let you move on. It drives me crazy.

Anyway, that’s happened to me a lot this past month. In case you hadn’t noticed, I took a month off from blogging here because I was editing my husband’s new book, What’s Up Ditch! The Ins & Outs of Cruising the Atlantic ICW: America’s Secret Highway, which is a personal perspective of what it takes to do the ICW. It’s filled with practical and useful information about what you’ll need, including tips on everything from anchoring to hailing a bridge on the radio.

What's Up Ditch! The Ins and Outs of Cruising the Atlantic ICW: America's Secret Highway

It’s his second book, so I thought it would be much easier since we knew more about what we were doing, but nope. This book was about three times as long as his first book, so the editing process was naturally longer. In addition, this book is more of a guide than a story per se, so I had to pay careful attention to make sure everything made sense, that it flowed well chronologically, and that it was informative while still being entertaining and interesting to read.

It’s funny because with his first book, You Gotta Go To Know, we honestly weren’t sure it would even sell. It was a short story that he wrote about our experience of downsizing, selling the house, moving onto the boat, and our first 9 months or so aboard the boat, and it was written more as a way to burn some creative energy than to become something we’d actually make money from.

The beauty of it was, since we weren’t really trying to sell a bunch of books, there wasn’t much pressure at all to be “perfect” so we did our best, threw it up on Amazon, and it ended up spending 2 months straight as a #1 Amazon Bestseller in the sailing niche and has sold a few thousand copies. Not bad for a first try.

In fact, our friend John Kretschmer, a fellow author who is hugely popular in the sailing niche, couldn’t believe it when we told him how many copies that first book sold, especially since we did the publishing and marketing ourselves, without any outside help. We didn’t know anything about Amazon’s algorithms, what would work, what wouldn’t work, so we just got it done. That’s the beauty of not knowing any better sometimes.

This time around, it was a little different. Over the past couple of years, we’ve learned some of the tricks of the trade as far as Amazon goes, so we knew we couldn’t just throw it up there like we did the first time and still see the same success. We took a much more strategic and professional approach, and that’s why it took longer this time around.

So far, we’re thrilled with the success and feedback! As of this writing, it’s only been out for 2 weeks, but it has hit the #4 spot on Amazon in the sailing category, and #11 in boating. It has a 5-star rating from all 3 reviewers (none of which are our friends or family!), and… my favorite part… my moment to shine… check out what this reviewer had to say:

The editing of this book was great. I’m a grumpy reader when spelling and grammar errors are on every page. I was able to enjoy the prose without any distractions.

YES! My life is complete.

Honestly, it was really hard editing this book because, well, it’s my husband. Editing is so much more than just proofreading, and there was a fine line for me between being critical (not for the sake of being critical, but to help him), and maintaining the integrity of his writing. I was so nervous to show him my suggestions, because I didn’t want him to take them personally. Luckily, he’s freakin’ awesome and embraced my feedback, and the end product is something he and I both are really proud of.

Writing is definitely something that he’s found a lot of satisfaction in (not to mention that it helps feed the cruising kitty!), and is something I want to explore more, too, both in terms of books and writing for magazines.

Speaking of writing for magazines, I’ve got a cool guest post coming up that I think you’ll really like, plus a giveaway, so stay tuned on Friday!

In the meantime, have any of you considered writing a book and self-publishing on Amazon? Leave a comment and let me know what you’d write about!

No-Poo, No Thank You (How a Freak Accident Made Me Start Washing My Hair Again)

Noo-poo, no thank you. How a freak accident made me start washing my hair again.

About a year and a half or so ago, I wrote about how I decided to join the “No-Poo” movement, and stopped using shampoo and conditioner in my hair. No, it didn’t mean I stopped washing my hair – I just started washing it with baking soda, and doing an apple cider vinegar conditioning rinse.

I’ve gotten a couple of comments, and a few emails recently, from people who landed on that post on this blog, and they wanted to know if I was still doing it and if it was working. So, I figured I’d give an update that is long overdue, and frankly, quite entertaining if you ask me.

My “No-Poo” Experiment is Over

So I’ll just say right now that I am no longer using baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair. I am back to using bona-fide shampoo and conditioner, although I am using Aveda products, which are plant-based.

Well, first, let me back up and let you know that I did not use typical shampoo/conditioner on my hair for 6 months. It was awesome. Much to my initial surprise, when I was using the baking soda/vinegar combo on my hair, my hair was shinier, softer, stronger, and healthier than it had ever been – at least in my adult life. My hair was course and prone to frizziness, and when I started going “no-poo,” it was no longer frizzy. At all.

In addition, my scalp, which never could quite make up its mind on whether it was dry or oily, finally calmed the fuck down and was normal. I had no flaking or itching, and surprisingly, no oil.

You see, the baking soda/apple cider vinegar combo is ph balanced, and your scalp eventually regulates itself once it doesn’t have all of the harsh chemicals turning it into a schizophrenic mess.

So why did I quit going “no-poo?”

A freak accident.

No-Poo, But a Hell of a Doctor’s Bill

So allow me to set the stage for a moment.

We had just pulled into a new marina and had only been there for about 3 days when Chris took a freelance gig in Atlanta for a week. No big deal. I was used to him traveling for work occasionally, and when you’re on a small boat together all the time, a week alone can be a good thing – even healthy.

I think it was his 2nd day of being gone, and I went up to the bath-house of the marina to take a shower. We have a shower on the boat, but we rarely use it because it steams up the boat, adding moisture, and we don’t want to encourage mildew at all when we have a nice shower up at the marina that I can take showers as long and as hot as I want. (If we’re out at anchor, we’ll totally use it, but no sense in it when we’re at a dock.)

So I go up to the shower, loaded with my shower kit – razor, soap, washrag, and yes, baking soda, and apple cider vinegar. The bathrooms at this marina were somewhat typical of other marinas, in that you had one big women’s bathroom with separate shower stalls. In this case, the showers didn’t have doors – just curtains for privacy. Again, pretty typical for most of the marinas we’ve seen/stayed at.

I get in the shower, and go to “wash” my hair. So when you wash your hair with baking soda, it’s pretty weird until you get used to it, because it’s just powder. It doesn’t lather up like shampoo, and there’s no smell, so it’s very unfulfilling. I’ll admit that. I used to just sprinkle a handful in my hand, then add a tad bit of water, and put globs of the paste on various parts of my head, then rub it into my scalp really well.

Once I did that (and rinsed my hair), I reached down and grabbed my bottle of apple cider vinegar (ACV). I used the organic kind, that even had the “mother” floating around in the bottom. It was pretty amazing stuff.

I twist open the cap on the ACV, and I hear a hiss – like when something is pressurized and you suddenly relieve the pressure. Suddenly I realize that the ACV has just sprayed into my face. More exactly, it sprayed into my left eye.

I dropped the entire bottle of apple cider vinegar, both out of surprise, and out of pain. That shit burned! I immediately started rinsing my eye with water from the shower. Funny, it was not helping. In fact, it started to hurt worse.

So let’s stop here for a minute. I want you to get the full picture – the full ridiculousness of this situation at this point.

There I am, naked in the shower. I’ve just dropped the entire contents of the vinegar bottle and it’s spreading over the floor of the ladies bathroom. I’m not sure if you’ve smelled apple cider vinegar lately, but it stinks.

Here’s where it gets pretty comical. My eye is burning like crazy. But for whatever reason, I decide I should clean up the mess in the bathroom before attending to my eye. I don’t even think of putting clothes on before cleaning up my mess.

So there I am, on the floor of the bathroom with just my towel around me, wiping up my spilled vinegar, while my eye is on fire. Once I clean it up, I throw on my clothes and start to make my way down to the boat.

Once I’m on the boat, I try rinsing with water again, to no avail. The pain in my eye is getting worse and worse. So I remember that we have a First Aid Kit with an eye-rinse. Yes! I pull that out, take the cup, fill it with saline solution, and rinse my eye for several minutes.

Nope. Still not helping. Pain getting much worse. Oh, and I should mention that at this point, I could barely see out of that eye.

I headed back up to the marina office, where I asked them where the nearest hospital was. I explained what happened, and then, for the first time, I broke into tears because the pain in my eye was unbearable at this point. I couldn’t take it any more, so someone graciously offered to drive me to the nearest emergency room.

Here’s where the story starts to get even more interesting.

I go in, and they do a quick emergency assessment to see how bad my emergency is. Luckily there was only me and one other guy in there. He had broken his wrist. They asked me what my pain level was from 1-10. Now, just so you know, I take this question very seriously. I imagine having a dismembered limb as being like a 9 or 10… I’d guess a broken bone is probably about a 4. My eye? I told them I was at a 6 or 7. And I was serious. They rushed me right in.

I got back there, and someone came in and gave me numbing drops for my eye. Holy Jesus, it was the best thing I’ve ever had. It immediately took the pain away and I could actually remember what it was like to function like a normal person for a minute.

The doctor came in and started asking me questions. He put a dye in my eye, and then looked at it with a light to assess the damage.

Doctor: “Oh, I see you’re wearing contacts. We’re going to need to take them out.”

Me: “Ummm… I don’t wear contacts.”

Doctor: “Hmm… that’s strange. Hang on a sec.”

He came back a few minutes later, and let me know that he was going to send me to a specialist down the road. I asked him how far it was, and he said about 2 miles. He asked if there was anyone to drive me. I told him no, but that I would walk as long as he’d give me another drop of pain medicine in my eye before I left. He obliged, then put a patch on my eye to protect it, and off I went.

So I walked the 2 miles to the opthamologist, still feeling so much better after the drops.

As soon as I got there, they took me right back, and the doctor came in and we went through the same routine as I had at the emergency room. A little dye in the eye, shine the light…

Doctor: “Oh, I didn’t realize you were wearing contacts. I’m going to have to take this one out – it might hurt a little.”

Me: “The other doctor said that, too, but I don’t wear contacts. Frankly, now I’m a little freaked out.”

Doctor: “Hmmm… that’s strange… Ahhh – I see. It’s not a contact lens. It’s a blister. How odd that it’s perfectly round like that.”

WTF????

He looks further, does a couple of other tests, then says perhaps the worst thing I’ve ever been told: “So… you have a chemical burn on your eye, and you’ve burned 80 percent of your cornea. That’s extremely painful, and frankly, I don’t even know how you’re even functioning right now.”

I about lost it. Chemical burn? 80% of my cornea gone? Am I BLIND?

He did some vision tests, and we assessed that yes, I was at that point, considered legally blind in that eye. But there was good news! He said luckily the eye has so many blood vessels going to it that eye injuries like this can heal fairly quickly, and that I may not have quite the vision I had before, but he anticipated a full recovery of that eye within 2 weeks.

Cool. So… just write me a prescription for those numbing drops, and I’ll be on my way. Right?

Nope. As he explained, the drops were a steroid, and actually prevent the eye from healing, so he couldn’t give me anything. Even regular pain meds wouldn’t help – I’d just have to endure it for awhile.

What he did do was put a big contact lens on the eye, to keep dust and hair from getting in it (since my cornea was gone and all), with instructions to “whatever you do, don’t rub your eye – your cornea will be growing back, and you could rub it right off,” and gave me a patch to wear. Yes. A real pirate patch. We scheduled a few more visits so he could monitor my progress.

I asked him before I left, “So is this a typical reaction to apple cider vinegar?” He said no. In fact, he was totally perplexed by it. He said that at most, it would sting a little, but shouldn’t cause a chemical burn like that. He said that either the ACV I used was NOT pure ACV (not likely in my opinion – my bottle indicated it was organic and 100% pure, and from a reputable company), or that somehow, I had gotten baking soda in my eye, and the ACV came in contact with it, causing a chemical reaction.

So… essentially a real life baking soda/vinegar volcano science experiment – on my eye.

And if the entire story couldn’t get any worse, I had to walk back to the marina (about 4 miles) because I didn’t want to call the marina staff to ask them to pick me up. Then, since Chris was out of town (and we didn’t have a car there yet anyway), I had to walk 4 miles each way to the doc, with a patch on my eye, for the next 2 days for follow up visits. It’s comical now.

No poo - eye accident

This was 3 days AFTER the incident. My eye was still red and dilated.

Oh, but in case you’re wondering, my eye did fully heal. It was excruciatingly painful for about 5 days, but it eventually got better, and now, a year later, I have no adverse effects (except my own mental anguish over the whole incident…seriously, wouldn’t wish that pain on my worst enemy), but my sight was fully restored. In fact, I had an eye exam the other day, and my damaged eye has better vision than my non-damaged eye! Amazing.

So there you have it. That’s the reason that I stopped using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair. No-poo was great, until it almost made me blind.

We Got Married!

we got hitched

[Note: We got married on 8/8 and this was supposed to be published as soon as we got back from our honeymoon, but apparently I set the publish date to 2016… I’d blame it on technology, but who am I kidding. It was the wine. It’s always the wine.]

Yep – on Saturday, August 8th, (the 9th anniversary of our very first date), we made it official and got hitched. While I could gush all day long about how happy and honored I am to now be a wife to my very best friend in the whole world, I’ll spare you all of the mushy stuff and simply say that my heart is full.

We had planned on eloping and it just being the two of us, for a few personal reasons. One, I didn’t want a normal wedding because having lost both of my parents in the past couple of years, a big ceremony without them just didn’t feel right and made me sad even thinking about it.

Another reason we chose to forego a wedding ceremony is because my brother is currently deployed, and Chris’ Dad has Parkinson’s disease and has a hard time getting around, therefore, travel for him is out of the question. This meant that we would have had to have had the wedding in Philadelphia, but without knowing exactly when my brother would be coming home, and the fact that I didn’t want to wait too long (because when you get a proposal after 8 years together, you jump all over that as quickly as possible!), we chose to have a private ceremony.

We decided to get married on Jekyll Island at a place called Driftwood Beach. The moment we saw it, we knew it was the perfect spot. It has these huge monolithic driftwood trees that give it a mystical look that is unlike any other beach we’ve seen. It is simply stunning.

We hired a non-denominational minister from Jacksonville, FL (we liked her spunk and didn’t want anyone too formal), and everything was all set.

Or so we thought.

We got a call from one of Chris’ sisters begging for us to let her “crash” our “non-wedding” because she just couldn’t stand not getting to see us marry. She also wanted to bring Chris’ mom, so I called my sister and told her that if she wanted to come, she could, and she said, “Oh I was hoping I could crash it!”

So at 10am that morning, accompanied by Chris’ sister Mary, his mom, and my sister Michelle, and after spreading a few of my Mom and Dad’s ashes at the tree where we stood, we said our vows and committed our lives to each other, and it was absolutely perfect.

Where we got married - Driftwood Beach, Jekyll Island

Wedding day!

For our honeymoon, rather than go to a relaxing beach resort (since we practically live at the beach anyway), or to Europe (August is a bad time to go there because so many businesses go on holiday, and it’s super expensive in August), we opted to go to New York City, because although I’ve been a couple of times, I’ve never had the chance to really “do” New York.

We rented a couple different rooms in different parts of the city, so we could see downtown, uptown, and even Brooklyn. Our first night was at the Jade Hotel, an awesome boutique hotel, and let me just say, if you ever go to NYC, I cannot recommend it enough. When we checked in, the girl behind the desk asked what brought us to New York. I gushed that it was our honeymoon, and she casually asked us to have a seat while they finished getting our room ready.

Turns out, she was upgrading us to a room with an amazing view of the Freedom Tower, and shortly after our arrival, just as we were taking in the breathtaking view of the city, we get a knock on the door from room service. The girls at the front desk had sent up a complimentary bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, a cheese plate, and a card to congratulate us. Our friend Margaret knew where we were staying, and she had called ahead, too, and sent us up a bottle of wine! We promptly popped open the champagne and I was totally feeling like Julia Roberts’ character in that scene in Pretty Woman… minus the hooker part.

Freedom Tower, NYC

Stunning view from our room at the Jade Hotel

Honeymoon "treats"

Champagne and strawberries… a perfect kickoff for our honeymoon!

The rest of the week, we slept on big, comfy beds in hotels with killer views, ate food that we haven’t been able to get anywhere else we’ve been, went to art museums and a Broadway show (Phantom of the Opera), walked across the Brooklyn Bridge, saw Henry Winkler walking down the street, and took in all of the big-city sights and smells that we’ve not experienced in so long. We even got matching tattoos of our wedding date in Roman numerals. (My first tattoo!)

We spoiled ourselves and enjoyed every second of it. And this is just the beginning…

What a Cockroach Taught Me About Fear

fear of cockroaches

The other night, it was about 1 am and I was up late (as usual), sitting at the nav desk doing some research an upcoming post on freelance writing when, out of the corner of my eye, I saw something move. I stopped what I was doing, looked around, and decided it was just a shadow and continued working.

A few minutes later, I saw it again – movement just at the edge of the nav desk. To my absolute horror, I see that it’s a big, brown, 2-inch-long cockroach…a mere 6 inches from my laptop.

OH.

MY.

GOD.

First, let me back up and say that there aren’t many things that I’m afraid of. Like stop-me-in-my-tracks-paralyzed-by-fear scared. But these things are high on the list, right up there with camel crickets and Sarah Palin.

Unfortunately, we’re currently in St. Simons Island, GA, where these things run around like they own the place. The locals refer to these demon-creatures as Palmetto Bugs. I don’t care what the hell they’re called, they look like roaches, and they scare the hell out of me.

They come out at night and roam the docks, and when we take Jet out for his last walk before bed, we call it “The Roach Walk”. The hubs gets annoyed with me because I jump, scream, and dance around them, never going out without being armed with a flashlight and closed-toed shoes, lest I get caught by surprise by some brave roach that decides to run across my foot.

So there I was, faced with a dilemma… Chris was in bed and I didn’t want to wake him up. Which meant that I couldn’t scream or jump around like a crazy person either.

I had to face my fears.

So as this thing crawls ON MY LAPTOP, I quickly get up to see what I can find that will be lethal. I open the cabinet under the sink and quickly curse the fact that we’re so eco-conscious that we don’t have anything remotely toxic to palmetto bugs giant roaches on board. So I did the next best thing, and grabbed the vinegar. It’s acidic, right?

Wrong. The roach just looked at me like, “Really? Is that all you got?” then scurried away, through a crevice that leads into our electronics cabinet.

So I took a few deep breaths, moved all of the cushions on the starboard side (so he wouldn’t hide in them if he scurried out), opened the cabinet, and saw him sitting there. I knew I’d have to kill him with blunt force trauma so I grabbed the first thing I could find that might work in a tight area like this — a wooden spatula — and I very slowly began pulling things out of the cabinet. You know, so I wouldn’t break anything else when I smashed him to bits.

Let me say that this was a turning point for me. Never before would I voluntarily reach into a small space like this where I knew something evil was lurking, just waiting to do whatever it is they do if they touch you (yes, I know they don’t bite, and that my fear is completely irrational). But regardless, there I was, reaching in, over and over again, pulling out CD’s, cords, and various other containers with chargers and electronics.

And La Cucuracha just sat there and watched me. Plotting his evil plan.

After I pulled everything out of the cabinet, armed with the flashlight on my cellphone, and standing amid a cabin now in disarray, Chris comes in with sleepy eyes, looking at me like I’m a complete crazy person.

Chris: “What are you doing? It’s 3am.”
Me: “There’s… a roach. And I’m going to kill it.”
Chris: “With that?” (pointing at the spatula)
Me: “Yes!” I say with conviction.

I turn back to the cabinet to show him where the sucker is… and… the roach is gone.

We tore apart the rest of the cabinet and searched around the entire cabin, and he was nowhere to be found. Right then, I realized I had a fear even greater than seeing that huge palmetto bug — and that was not seeing it.

But… after all this time battling my demon (literally), fear gave in to exhaustion, and I just wanted to go to bed.

And then I had an epiphany. I was no longer afraid… at least for the most part. I had given in to my own imagination — worrying about what might happen if one of these things touched any vulnerable inch of skin — that I was paralyzed. When in reality, my imagination was way more evil and powerful than this sucker.

I mean, when I really sit and think about it, I’m pretty disgusted that this thing may be lurking around here somewhere, but after forcing myself to face my fear that night instead of waking Chris up, I realize that even though something may be severely uncomfortable to take on, it’s not impossible. Psychologically difficult, yes, but impossible? Nah.

There comes a point when there’s a mental shift and you just say “fuck it”, and dive right in. Sometimes it’s forced upon you and you just have to do what you gotta do to make it through something bad, but other times — the times that count even more — you have to voluntarily take a risk and put yourself in a situation that may scare you. One that takes you outside of your nice and cozy comfort zone.

And my experience tells me that usually, the reality is nowhere near as scary as you always thought. We, as humans, are actually quite resilient.

The point is to not be afraid to do something that scares you. No one gets anywhere by staying inside their little shell. As I’ve said before, complacency is the enemy of success.

What does a roach have to do with all this? I’m not sure, but I’ll tell you that now, I can do the “Roach Walk” at night without heart-pounding anxiety. I still don’t like them, and I’m still a little freaked out by them if I’m completely honest, but one day, maybe I won’t be at all.

Maybe late one night, I’ll get another visit from my old friend and I’ll name him Ralph, or Maurice, and maybe I’ll find a way to help him off the boat instead of smashing him to bits (doubtful, but hey). Who knows.

But –at least for the time being — I can go to sleep at night without being afraid to open my mouth.

So tell me… what are you afraid of? Post in the comments!

I Quit My Job

I quit my job and landed my dream job

In my last post, I talked about complacency, and how it was keeping me in a job that was no longer a good fit for me. I had outgrown it, and it was time to move on. So I quit.

Now before you go thinking I just up and quit my job without any sort of plan, I’ll admit that I didn’t quit until I knew I had landed what I think is the perfect job for me. My dream job, if you will. But let me back up a little first.

I had been contemplating my options for quite some time. I knew I was no longer happy doing the work that I was doing, but the thought of quitting my job was just so terrifying. How would I make money? How would I help support our lifestyle?

Getting a job where I go to an office every day was not something I was willing to do (I hope to never again have to do that), and having no job was not an option either.

I’ve been rocking my side income pretty hard, and I knew that if I had that much extra time to dedicate to side hustles, I might be able to eventually bring in enough, but there was just too much up in the air, because that meant no benefits, etc.  Getting another job working remotely would be doable, but those positions are few and far between.

Until one such position just fell into my lap. Or my inbox, rather.

You see, I had been following the blog of a certain NY Times bestselling author and his company (who offers online courses in personal/business development) for quite some time, and one day after finishing a blog post, I saw a note at the bottom that casually said, “Oh and we’re hiring for a few positions… check out our careers page for more info.”

I clicked on the link just out of curiosity and skimmed through a few of the positions for things like podcast editor, network analyst, etc. and then saw one that jumped out at me, and I knew instantly that the job would be mine.

He was hiring a QA Specialist, which, based on the job description, is essentially a proofreader. Someone to read all of the content that he and his company puts out. Every email, every sales letter, every book, all online course material, and more.

Better yet, it was a remote position, and one which doesn’t require me to be as tied to my laptop nearly as much as the other job did. My last position required me to use a remote access program in order to do my job, so I had to be connected online at all times, and the amount of email that I exchanged each day was insane. When I wasn’t at a marina that had reliable wifi, I had to use my phone as a hotspot, and that ate up a TON of data.

I was SO excited, because as a self-professed grammar snob, this position was so up my alley that if I didn’t at least take the chance to apply, then I was a big, fat, chickenshit. I don’t know how to describe it, but I just knew it was going to be mine.

I also knew that there would be a ton of people applying for this position, so I wanted to stand out. After 8 years in my former career, my resume was lacking. I started to draft one up, and I knew if I sent it, it would be just another standard resume, and me? I’m no standard girl.

So I created a resume that was so perfect – so different – that I knew I would at least get a phone call.

I was so familiar with the writing style and “voice” that he writes in, that I knew I could use a creative and casual approach. Instead of a boring, old resume, I went to their website and created a replica of their landing page, except I changed everything to be about me.

In fact, I dropped the f-bomb right on the third line (well, a variation of it, anyway).

I put a big photo of me at the top in place of the owner’s photo. I changed his eye-catching, “draw you in” bullet-points listing his achievements to a few interesting things about me. I wrote:

  • I live on a sailboat
  • I can spot a typo like a mo-fo
  • I’m looking for my dream job

I put a mock “Call To Action” button that said “HIRE ME”.

Below that, I didn’t list a single qualification. Instead, I showed them with web graphics and icons, and instead of listing the information from my then-current position, I pulled quotes from my bosses over the years and made a section of “testimonials”.

In other words, I nailed it.

That night, I followed the application instructions which consisted of taking a test in which I had to check spelling, grammar, copy flow, technical errors, inconsistencies, etc. I spent about an hour on the test and hit submit just as we were getting ready to leave for dinner.

And just then… my browser crashed.

NO!

I mean seriously, what are the chances that this would happen right as I was applying for my dream job?

Chris calmly said, “Honey – take the test again while it’s fresh on your mind… dinner can wait.”

But I was so huuuuuuungry. And I already had a job so I didn’t really need this job, right?

Luckily, Chris knows me well enough to know that sometimes I just need a little push. Especially when food is at the forefront of my thoughts, and I’m starting to get hangry.

“Just do it”, he said. “It won’t take long because it’s all fresh in your head.”

Luckily I took his advice and finished the test in about half the time that it took me initially. I was also very glad that my browser crashed the first time because I caught a few mistakes that I had missed on the first go.

Whew! Got her done. Let’s go eat. NOW.

The next morning, I got an email from the HR girl at the company I had applied to. It started out, “I’m very sorry, but…”  Crap. That’s never a good thing. Oh well – at least I had stepped outside of my comfort zone, took a chance, and at least tried for the job, right?

Wait. Not so fast… her email read, “I’m very sorry, but we got your application, and the software program we used for the test is acting up and we can’t retrieve yours.”

I quickly replied and explained my browser crash and said that maybe that was the one that wasn’t showing up on their end, but that I had taken it again – did they get that one?

“I’m sorry – the software is acting up and we didn’t get your test at all.”

Well, shit.

She asked me to retake it. Just to be safe, I asked if there were any way she could just send me everything in a Word document or some other format so there was no online software involved to screw everything up. Luckily she was happy to comply.

So I took the test. Again.

This time, I went through every single detail, even more painstakingly than I did the first two times, and caught a few technical mistakes that I had missed the first time (timers on videos not accurate… that sort of stuff).

A few days later, I got an email from the same girl asking when I would be available for a phone interview. We made arrangements, had the interview which went really well, and I moved to round 2, where I would be interviewed by someone on the editorial team.

The second interview went pretty good – I’m not always super quick on my feet, and she asked some tough questions that caught me off guard, such as “what is your best life hack?” I mean, could you name your best life hack right off the top of your head? I know what I said probably made zero sense, but overall I felt good about the interview.

So I made it to round 3 of the interview process. The final round. Wow – this was starting to feel like a Miss America pageant, but without the swimsuit round (thank goodness). This would be a video interview with the head of the editorial team.

I prepared by meditating, writing down key points I wanted to highlight, took some more deep breaths, and waited for the call. He called right on time, and just as I answer the call and he says hello, Jet, our dog, hears his voice and starts barking, which he usually does when he hears a strange male voice outside of the boat.

I laugh and very calmly said “Jet… shhh! No one’s outside, buddy.”

He keeps barking. Great. +1 for me.

“Ummm… can you please excuse me for a moment? I need to assure my dog that you’re not an intruder.”

I finally got Jet calmed down, and we resumed with the interview. Which I felt that I completely blew. For some reason, the video aspect of it made me super self-conscious, I was afraid that the internet would go down, and I felt like I stammered through half of it. I was so nervous, and I know it showed.

At the end of the chat, he said that I was the first person he had interviewed and that he had a few others that he wanted to speak with. He told me that he’d let me know something in a week or two. In other words, don’t call us, we’ll call you.

I waited two days and even though I felt that I was no longer in the running, I sent an email thanking him for his time and consideration. I subtly reminded him in the email about a couple of key things that I felt made me a good candidate for the position. He replied and thanked me, saying there may be a delay in a decision because of the 4th of July holiday.

Fast forward about a week and a half. I received an email from him asking if I was available to chat again… that he had a couple more questions he wanted to ask. I gave him a call and he asked me two questions. The first one was a question that centered around working remotely. The second question he asked was, “Can we make this official?”

Hell yeah, we can!

I was so excited. I’m still excited, and I’m two weeks into it!

I honestly feel like this is my dream job… or as close as I can get to it working for someone else. I know I have a lot to offer, and I’m so excited to be on a different path, one which will challenge me in ways that I’ve not yet been challenged. Plus I get paid to read the stuff that I was already reading for free anyway, and the perks are awesome.

Here’s the lesson I learned from all of this, as cliched as it is:

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you always got.

So if you aren’t happy with where you’re at – don’t let fear keep you idle. Oftentimes it takes stepping outside of your comfort zone in order to really find or do something that makes you happy. You have to be willing to see the signs and to walk through the doors that open for you.

Look at the challenges as opportunities to grow, and believe me, it’s not always easy – and I still suck at video chat (I hate being on video), which I’ve had to do almost every single day for training, but you know what? I will get better at it. Or not. But at least I’m not afraid of it anymore.

You can’t let fear or complacency paralyze you. You’ll never get anywhere by doing that.

You also can’t assume something won’t happen or can’t happen because of your situation, and let that assumption keep you from trying. I’ve been so scared to apply for another job because I thought there was no way a company would hire me to work from our sailboat. The irony is, I later was told that what made me stand out the most as a candidate was that I lived on a sailboat.

There are so many ways we can let fear and complacency get in the way of our own success, but this experience taught me to never stand in my own way again.

So now it’s your turn – I wanna know about the kind of things that are keeping you “stuck”, or about a hurdle you overcame to get you to the next level. Tell me about it in the comments below.

(P.S. Don’t worry – I’m still rockin’ the side hustles, and you’re gonna see some really cool stuff on here soon!)