Tuesday, September 8, 2020

What Comes Next?

When I started posting publicly about our move, I got a lot of questions from people who aren't exactly in my inner-circle. Those that knew me knew my plans - they understood why Matt and I were moving and why we'd chosen Seattle. More than that, they were at least aware that I was playing with the idea of leaving education.
Why Seattle? Basically this.
The questions weren't altogether welcome. My answer to "What will you be doing in Seattle?" was "Having an adventure!" I just wasn't ready to talk about the rest of it with the general public, and I felt like people were asking for answers at a time when I didn't have them. I was coming to terms with something life-changing and scary.

I get that people are curious; there has been so much interest in this move as people live vicariously through a journey they will probably never undertake themselves. But I needed time to make the decision, move, settle in, and reflect on what I wanted for my life, without outside voices getting in the way, so I've played it pretty close to the chest.

I guess now it's time to open up.
Leaving Education

This is not a "why I left education" post, but it is a "what comes next" post, so I guess I need to address this.

I loved teaching, and I loved my job as a CRT. For a long time, I couldn't imagine anything more rewarding than seeing the "lightbulb" moment, or building relationships with my students. I thrived off the sense of accomplishment I felt when I helped a teacher solve a problem or handle a difficult parent. In short, I really did love my job. But moving across the country gave me an opportunity to explore something new, especially because school and teaching looks so different this fall due to COVID.
I'll never forget the pure joy of getting my first name-tag and my own classroom.
The bottom line is that I was ready for a change, and I had been for awhile.

When I first started thinking of leaving education, I felt pretty lost. I got into teaching in part because I didn't know what else to do, what else was out there for me. I knew I loved to read and write and talk about reading and writing. I knew I was good at teaching because of my experience in my Canterbury Tales course. If I hadn't found teaching, I'm not sure what path I would have chosen.

Years later, I still didn't know. I sought out a coach who could guide me through the steps of discovering my passions and interests, develop my resume, and concisely explain the vast skillset I had developed while in education. That course was helpful, and I finished it and the school year with a mindset that I wanted to get into technical writing.

If I had gone into technical writing in 2008, when I graduated from Stetson with my Bachelor's, I think I would have done well. But these days, it seems most technical writing jobs require some knowledge of coding, and after a few weeks of exploring that option, I decided that wasn't for me.

Then copywriting fell in my lap.
The Right Fit

A friend of mine who works in marketing and was aware of my new career goals tapped me for a project writing copy for an email campaign, and the rest is history. I discovered very quickly that I enjoyed copywriting, that I was good at it, and that it was fulfilling in a way I thought was exclusive to teaching. I realized, in fact, that a lot of my work as a teacher and CRT involved copywriting, and I had spent years honing this skill without realizing it.

When I first saw my writing published on a website that isn't this blog, I felt a sense of joy and professional accomplishment I hadn't felt in awhile.

Teaching and coaching have taught me how to hear what people have to say. I can decipher their needs, challenges, and desired outcomes, even when they can't fully articulate them themselves. This skill, along with my genuine love and talent for writing, makes me an ideal copywriter. I can't believe it took me this long to figure that out!

Obviously, breaking into a new career is difficult. It's especially difficult when you're in a new place and in the middle of a pandemic! But I don't feel anxious. Right now, all I feel is excited. I knew leaving Florida would mean closing a chapter in my life, but I wasn't sure what the next chapter would bring. Now that I know, I can't wait to get started.
There are still things to iron out. Right now, I'm working as a freelancer, but I'm weighing the pros and cons of seeking out full-time, in-house jobs. I originally thought freelancing wouldn't be for me - I'm used to having a set salary and set hours - but I've actually been surprised to realize I enjoy the freedom. For now, at least, this suits me. The nice thing is that I don't have to decide right away. 

I've learned something important over the last month or so: I can take my time. 

I went from high school to college to grad school to a job without any breaks; I've never had time to decompress and just think about things. Now I do.

I can explore this new path and decide what I want and what works for me.

I can truly embark on some self-discovery while I figure things out.

I finally have time.
Launching ABK Writing Services

As I work on getting my new career off the ground, I could use your help. Everyone has been so supportive of this move, and I'm hoping that support extends beyond the road trip and challenges of downsizing. 
  • If I've ever written an email for you, edited an essay, or proofread a proposal, please consider writing a testimonial for my website. (You can email me or DM me if you'd like to do this and aren't sure how.)
  • Follow my professional Instagram, which I plan to use for all things writing related, including updates on my personal writing and my path to publication. Someday. Hopefully.
  • I'm learning how to use my network to my advantage, so if you know anyone who works in advertising/marketing, I'd love if you could help me make a connection with them.
  • And finally, please consider me if you or anyone you know is in the market for a copywriter. Maybe they're launching a small business, need to spruce up their webpage copy, or are looking for a blogger for their existing platform. Whatever it may be, I can help!
At the moment, I'm focusing mostly on webpage copy and emails, but I have experience writing and editing articles, brochures, slide decks, FAQ, applications, speeches, and, obviously, blog posts. You can peruse my portfolio (which I update frequently with each new project) here:
I can't explain how it feels to be on the brink of something that feels so right after I've felt so lost. It's been a long time since I was this excited about the future. 

So many things about this are new and scary and different and HUGE...but I finally feel like I'm on the right path, and that is priceless.



  1. I couldn't be more excited for you! It is such a joy to watch you develop your next career!

  2. Congrats Ali! Freelancing is great because you get to call all of the shots. If you do take a permanent job, it will be a good one b/c it will have to offer more than the perks and $ that you're providing for yourself right now as your own boss.

  3. A career change is scary but I am happy that you're taking the plunge!