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  • Writer's pictureYour Inspired Story Team

My Journey of Transformation: From Reader to Writer

I often get asked when I’m hosting retreats or speaking, "How did this whole writing thing come about?"

Sometimes, life takes us down some unexpected paths, and my journey from an avid reader to a passionate writer is one of those adventures that I'd like to tell you about.

The Beginning: How It All Started

It all started with reading. I was a voracious reader growing up. Books were my escape. They took me on adventures, introduced me to new worlds, and allowed me to see life through the eyes of different people. It was like magic.

There were some books that left a profound impact on me, like "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "To Kill a Mockingbird." As a young girl, these stories touched me deeply and made me think about the world, justice, and prejudice. They left me with a burning desire to do something with words.

I realized I’m all about people and their stories.

A Life-Changing Experience

While I was in college, I had a near-death experience that completely transformed my perspective. The story I had been telling myself was that I was not worthy and failing at life. In that life-altering moment, I realized I was being given a second chance at life. I walked out of that hospital with a promise to do something different.

At that time, I was told that I'd never have kids, but then I unexpectedly got pregnant. It made me reevaluate my conflicting priorities and what I wanted to do with my life. I have a background in political science, international relations, and public administration. I could read Russian, but I was torn between pursuing a career in international relations and my newfound passion for stories. I knew I could weave magic with words.

Working with High-Risk Youth

Fast forward to my time working with community learning centers in Denver, Colorado. I had the opportunity to work with high-risk kids, many of them affiliated with gangs like the Bloods, Crips, and Nuestra Familia. This experience taught me how powerful words and love can change lives.

It was incredible to see how these young souls could transform when they were shown love and compassion. They needed food, protection, family, and a sense of significance. They often joined gangs to fill these voids in their lives, and fear was a driving force behind many of their decisions.

However, through several personal experiences and facing their fears, they found newfound strength and respect. It was amazing to witness their growth despite their challenging backgrounds.

That’s when I fell in love with the human soul.

I’ve been writing stories ever since.

Transition to Writing

It all started with a book about a former skinhead who had left his past behind. Little did I know, the protagonist in my story was a real person with an incredible transformation story.

I started working on a book that I thought was fiction about a kid who walks away from his gang and has a price tag on his head as a result. I had a dream about the book and the story. Everything felt so real. I woke up one night while on vacation with my family and couldn’t stop writing. I had the character scenes, plots, chapters, and features ready.

Little did I know, the protagonist in my story was a real person with an incredible transformation story. His name was TJ Leyden. And together we wrote his powerful story.

That book took me on a path I never expected, and I haven't looked back. The world of storytelling had opened its doors to me, and I was ready to dive right in.

Creating the Inspired Writers Retreat

With my newfound passion for writing, people started approaching me to write their life stories. I quickly realized that I couldn't take on every project. So, I created the Inspired Writers Retreat—a place where aspiring authors could receive the training and guidance they needed to tell their stories.

I’ve taught hundreds of attendees that it doesn’t matter what your educational background, culture, career, or home life is. You can put your story on paper in a really effective way and create a best seller.

Over the years, I've seen remarkable success stories from these retreats, including New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers. It's incredibly fulfilling to help others share their inspirational stories with the world.

Facing Personal Fears

I previously mentioned that my journey took an unexpected turn due to a near-death experience. But recently, I've had to face some deeply buried fears. You see, after that profound experience, I told myself a lie. I had incredible amounts of unconditional love all around me, but I believed I had to prove I was worthy of a second chance at life.

This lie has driven me for years. But now, I'm taking the time to discover my deep unconscious and help from above to learn who I am without it. I'm embarking on a journey of self-discovery about who I am, what I stand for, and why I’m here on the planet.

It's both exciting and terrifying.

I believe in the power of stories to change the world, especially those that emerge from darkness into the light. Right now, in human history, we need more good stories.

I've learned that no matter what lies we've told ourselves, it's never too late to embrace our true purpose and unleash our full potential. I have no regrets about my journey, and I'm excited to continue on this path of fearless living.

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