Friday, December 27, 2013

Writing Saved Me by Katya Armock

Please welcome Katya to Fearless Friday. She has a touching real life experience I know you'll want to read.
Five years ago, I had a stable job that paid well and could draw the arc of my career in a logical, ordered way. I had it all according to many people’s definition of success. The problem was I felt incredibly depressed, stressed and angry. My body couldn’t take the insomnia, the repression of negative emotions or the fact I like to eat when I’m upset. I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Thank the powers that be for my husband’s diligence to see me through, a supportive friend and some unknown inner strength to change.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I took baby steps toward change, and that in and of itself lessened my burden. I started by asking my employer if I could work part-time. They agreed. I did this for about a year while I researched other options for a potential career change. I worked with the Enneagram, read The Pathfinder and took several courses through Landmark Education. I finally decided to pursue a degree in Veterinary Technology.
My ego made this a harder decision than perhaps it should have been. To be a vet tech, you get an associate’s degree. I already had a master’s in social science. It also paid a whole lot less than my current job. Yet I took a part-time vet assistant job and started back to school.
In many ways I loved what I was doing. Working with animals had been a hobby for most of my life and now it was my vocation. As the program went on, it became apparent that changing my life was not going to be such a smooth road. I didn’t excel at some of the hands-on work. I also suffered two injuries. The second was a bulging disk in my back that pretty much ended my career before it even really began. The physical work of restraining large dogs and standing for hours on end just wasn’t possible with the way my injury manifested, and after months of treatment and physical therapy, it was obvious that this was going to be a lifelong condition I would need to manage.
I felt like I wasted the last two years going to school for a degree I now couldn’t use and working at a low paying job. My ego reared its ugly head again, telling me I’d ruined my life. I fell into depression again. It didn’t help that I took a third shift office job that showed me that sitting and doing menial tasks ended in back pain too.
I started to think again about writing. I once dreamed of being a writer when I was in college. Back then I was a good deal less jaded than the demands of bills and my own expectations for a certain standard of living made me over the years. I had once enjoyed it just for the fun of the experience, but when I tried to turn it into a career, the passion became drudgery. With all I’d learned about myself and life, I began to wonder if I couldn’t try writing again with a different attitude. This time I’d do it for fun—and only fun.
I started out on a romance, writing off and on. I went to RT with a friend and found it invigorating. I completed my manuscript and entered it in my local RWA Chapter’s writing contest thanks to a friend who kept pestering me to just do it. Turns out I placed second and got some very helpful feedback from the judges. I decided to pitch it to some small presses. All four asked to see the manuscript and two offered me contracts.
A few years later, I now have two books published. Some days my ego runs rampant telling me I ought to try to make more money and push myself until my eyes or fingers bleed just to churn out books to sell. So far I’ve pulled myself back from the brink and remembered I’m doing this for fun, and the little bit of money I make is just a perk.
And I even found a way to use my Veterinary Technology degree. I also pet sit part-time, which is much easier on my back, lets me set my own hours, and still lets me work with animals. My degree has helped me market myself—especially to owners with older pets or those with medical conditions.
Is my life perfect? Nope. But I don’t expect it to be. Do I have bad days? Yes. I still struggle with depression and the difficulties of dealing with chronic pain and physical limitation. But I am blessed in so many ways, and for that I am grateful.
 Author Bio:
I like books that are funny and fun to read (and hot!) but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. My first two books, To Hiss or to Kiss and To Growl or to Groan, are steamy paranormal romances featuring a jaguar shape-shifter and an animal psychic. Book Three of the Hidden Lines trilogy is in the works and is tentatively titled To Snarl or to Snuggle.
These days you’ll find me writing, pet sitting, juggling a number of freelance gigs, and reigning as my home’s domestic goddess. I live in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. Alas, I have, as of yet, been unable to teach my husband how to purr.
Her gift could save a missing girl…or destroy her relationship forever.

After receiving a troubling Tarot reading, Chloe just knows something big and bad is about to happen. Her ability to communicate with animals and shape-shifters is going awry, and her growing psychic abilities are beginning to scare her. Despite her unease, she won’t let anything interrupt her trip to Scotland to spend the holidays with her shape-shifter boyfriend’s family. Jorge is everything she’s always wanted, and the fire between Chloe and the passionate panther-shifter burns hot. But meeting his family has her nerves in knots.


  1. For such struggles you've done incredibly well, Katya. I guess the trick is to keep things in perspective, which is what you've managed to do. Congrats on that, and your success in your writing. Here's to a fabulous 2014 on all fronts!

  2. Thanks, Anne. Perspective is key. Everyone has struggles. We are defined by how we respond. I could write just as long a post about blessings in my life.

  3. Fascinating post, Katya and I can relate to so much of what you have written here. Good on you. Keep up the good work!

  4. It is a constant struggle to find that balance between doing what we think we should be doing and doing what we want. Oh yeah, and then we have to make money and pay the bills too! Great post. I think many people can relate to your path and are on one similar. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Sorry I haven't checked in sooner, Katya. I've been so sick! Thanks so much for your great post.

  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm glad people are finding my journey relatable--although I wish at times we all had easier paths in this life.

  7. Katya - your story reminds me of that saying:
    Nothing is ever lost on a writer. We are all so
    lucky to have a place to put all out 'stuff'!
    Onward & upward, Katya. What doesn't kill us makes
    us stronger! Best, Mary Kennedy Eastham
    Author, Squinting Over Water & The Shadow of A Dog
    I Can't Forget