Too Good To Be True? Veterinary Science, Sylvia Plath, and Teen Angst

Monday, April 22, 2013
By Allena Tapia

You were probably missing from my high school. I graduated in a class of just 49 people, and finding a twin soul was rough. A degree in English and career in freelance writing has solved a lot of that, allowing me to (finally) meet many of you and recognize a fellow reader/writer/poet when I see one. But, you were not there for me when I needed you in high school, fellow writer!

You probably excelled in English, Theater and Comm classes, right? You wrote dark poetry that elicited giggles from your classmates but relieved your angst. You stayed up all night reading Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton until dawn, paying the price the next day in class. You got more excited about the new bookstore at the mall then you did about the new Claire's or Deb. Right? Is that you?

Well, it was certainly me.

Another problem I had in high school was that good examples of the writing career were not apparent to me. Now, I don’t mean to say that all the Plath and Atwood I could read weren’t excellent examples. But I identified that kind of career with a lightning strike. In addition, my work and writing was shorter, different, opinionated, argumentative, reflective. I had no idea that people got paid to write such things. I had no clue that whole careers could be built around that.

My problem was this: I had no idea this career existed.

Instead, I managed to convince myself that Veterinary Medicine was my future. I eschewed math and science, hid in libraries, and hated research—yet I spent 6 years of my education and life pursuing that path.

Do you know why I wasted those years? In retrospect, it wasn’t just the simple lack of knowledge. It was also this: I thought writing as a career was simply too good to be true. I didn’t believe that doing something that I loved with a passion could really pay the bills and constitute a career.

I decided that if it was too good to be true, then it simple wasn’t.

Can you imagine if I had never dropped that attitude? If I had never given the freelance writing career a chance? I’m afraid to think about it.

Today, I’m here to tell you something that might indeed seem too good to be true. There is a lucrative, fulfilling career to be had here. You can be paid for your writing, completed from your home, and done on your own schedule. I do it every day. And not only that, but there is an even more exciting subcategory to it:

There is a real market for book reviews out there.

So, not only can you be paid for writing, but you can also be paid for reading, and then writing about what you just read.

Now, if you’re my twin soul, which I suspect, then the very idea of that was probably pretty exciting. Interested? I’m teaching a virtual class on it starting April 29. Let’s connect, and I’ll show you how it’s done. We may not have connected in high school, but we can certainly give it a go now!


Allena Tapia's class, How to Become a Paid Book Reviewer, starts Monday, April 29. Enrollment is limited to ten students and early registration is recommended.


Allena Tapia is a full time freelance writer and editor with over 7 years of publishing experience. In addition to writing, editing and translation, she teaches part time through a local community college community education program. Her students there have described her teaching style as engaging, informal, approachable and friendly.

Allena’s book reviews have been published by paid outlets such as Bitch magazine, Sacramento Book Review, and Kirkus Indie. She has written for Huffington Post, Latino Leaders, Hispanic Business, Green Building and Design, and MediaBistro. She’s held contracts with The New York Times, Gale Cengage and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Renee Roberson said...

Oh, yes. Twins we are, Allena!

Unknown said...

Our journeys have definitely intersected. I'm going to check out your class. Thanks for sharing.

Margo Dill said...

It's true, it's true! I am paid by two different sources for book reviews AND I even make money off my blog where I am posting reviews. :) It's the greatest freelance gig because you are reading (which helps yourself as a writer) and helping other authors by writing about their books. Then in turn, they often want to help you, too! :) WOW!

Allena--great idea for a class that hope many people will take advantage of!

Marcia Peterson said...

Very inspiring, Allena! Your class sounds great. :)

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