I know what it’s like to sit on the wrong side of a food stamp worker’s desk when you’re feeling hopeless and helpless. You’re used to helping others, not being the one helped. Rebecca did in-home crisis intervention with families before she had to quit the job due to the level of stress it had been causing her and her family. I used to be a food stamp eligibility worker before depression took control of my life and I had to ask for help. I haven’t figured a way out of the hole yet, so I was eager to see how Rebecca had done it.
She did it little by little, deciding to write her way out of the hole. She talked about attending fairs and festivals to meet people and sell books and picking up small checks from consignment stores where she had placed her stories for sale. She learned how to format her books for Kindle and took responsibility for moving herself out of the “local author” niche into a competitive market. She learned the peculiarities of online marketing and Facebook ads to draw new followers. Through it all, she kept writing. She finished one book, took a break, then started a new one.
There was one point at which someone reported her for food stamp fraud because it looked like she was making more money than she actually was. As a local author, her books were on display around town and articles being written about her, so someone thought she had become more successful than her small royalties showed.
Through poverty. bereavement, and health problems (of which there were many; for example, Chiari and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), she kept on writing. Finally she was able to stop receiving food stamps. Her income began to support the family she had built.
The story was well-written, and I believe she went out of her way not to whine when she had good reason to give up. She wasn’t an overnight success, but she worked hard to accomplish what she did. She’s an example I will remember.