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From College Dropout to International Bestselling Author | Geraldine Solon

My journey through life has been far from linear; I've navigated a winding path filled with unexpected turns, many of which have led to serendipitous encounters that have significantly shaped the direction I'm meant to follow.

While most girls played with dolls, I collected different kinds of notebooks, stationaries, and even paper napkins, all with a burning desire to infuse their empty pages with poetry and short stories, giving them life and purpose. On Sundays, I waited patiently for the newspaper to be delivered, eagerly anticipating the crossword puzzles my dad and I would tackle together. He always made sure my siblings and I had the latest books by Enid Blyton, nurturing our love for reading.

During my school days, rather than immersing myself in mathematical equations, my mind often ventured beyond the confines of the classroom, undertaking thrilling adventures fueled by an unrestrained imagination. Unbeknownst to me, this very imagination would unlock the door to my future career.

While I might not have excelled in Mathematics, I was drawn to English and Language and Arts. The power of words equated to a force that deeply resonated with me, and speaking in front of an audience or crafting an essay felt like second nature. Early on, I recognized the importance of honing my strengths and refining my skills.

In third grade, I won the essay writing contest, a feat that earned me a spot in my school's newspaper. Discovering that I possessed a gift to share with others ignited a profound excitement and kindled a burning passion within me.

I am grateful for the many facets of education, extra-curricular activities, and deep friendships I formed in school. Yet, I knew back then that education meant more than learning in a school setting. My focus was on acquiring life skills that would pave the way for successful adulthood.

I learned the value of hard work and discipline at twelve years old when I was hired to be a commercial model for a prestigious retail brand. Alongside my involvement in sports, my weekends were a blend of early morning tennis or softball practices followed by afternoon photo shoots.

Earning my own money at such a young age provided me with a sense of freedom, independence, and empowerment. I no longer needed to get an allowance from my parents, and this opportunity gave birth to more possibilities. It was during this time that I internalized the notion that the creation of something beautiful and successful demands dedication and self-discipline.

When I was about to pursue a college degree, I shared with my parents my deep-seated passion for writing and my desire to embrace a field associated with it. However, during that era, the role of writers held far less esteem compared to the present, and the prospect of it being a financially rewarding career was dim. In response, my parents strongly encouraged me to acquire a Business Management degree, foreseeing a wider array of opportunities in that direction.

Endowed with an innate entrepreneurial drive, I heeded their guidance, inadvertently stepping into a degree where the curriculum extended beyond my initial expectations, delving into a multitude of mathematical subjects. Yet, I found my strength in Marketing and Management, which enabled me to harness these skills in all my professions.

After three years of college, and at nineteen years old, I dropped out of school. This decision was not a means to evade the pursuit of education, but a target decision with a goal to join the workforce. My first job was as an Assistant Manager of a boutique. Recognizing my latent potential, my boss promoted me to the role of Boutique Manager within a mere two months. I was then relocated to a different city and entrusted with the role of District Manager within a year.

I was the youngest employee working 6 days a week, 12 hours a day managing a new business from scratch, employees, and the staff house where they housed me. A pivotal juncture arrived when my boss presented me with a quota during the inaugural month, a challenge that ignited a spark within me. Grasping the gravity of my responsibilities propelled me beyond my perceived limits, and I not only met but tripled the stipulated quota within that first month. This triumph garnered the commendation of my boss, who rewarded my efforts with a substantial salary increase. This experience offered a profound lesson that you never know what you are capable of unless you step out of your comfort zone and maximize your potential.

After that, I landed some pretty impressive job roles. Each of these positions became a learning experience, helping me develop personally and professionally. Along the way, I gained a deeper understanding of my strengths and weaknesses. However, amid these exciting and notable jobs, a persistent thought from my childhood kept resurfacing, urging me to pursue my first love—writing.

Back in 2010, during my stint at Stanford University, a literary event came onto the scene. At that point, I was knee-deep in writing a novel, so I decided to check out the event. It turned out to be a fantastic opportunity as I got the chance to mingle with editors and agents. They critiqued the opening chapter of my novel, and their insights proved valuable, giving me the nudge to further hone my writing skills. This experience also shed light on the distinction between art and craft for me-where art represents your inherent talent, and craft is the skill that can be sharpened and refined through practice and study.

The following year saw me collaborating closely with a writing coach, who skillfully guided me through the intricacies of crafting a novel with a lasting impact. In the year 2011, bubbling with excitement and tinged with nervousness, I introduced my debut novel, "Love Letters," to the world. Mere six months later, I proudly released another work, "Chocolicious." Both novels soared to impressive heights, securing spots on Amazon's overall top 100 bestseller list and even earning me several accolades.

However, crafting a book was merely the opening act of the process, and any seasoned author would readily admit the challenges woven into the rewriting and editing process. Successfully launching the book required understanding the ins and outs of the publishing world. In that era, independent publishers were on the rise, and I was fortunate to find a supportive mid-sized independent press that embraced my work.

The journey didn't conclude with publication, because I needed to get the word out about my book. In the ever-evolving landscape of the publishing industry, staying ahead of the curve was imperative. While juggling my writing, a full-time job, and familial responsibilities, I devoted two to three hours each day to researching and marketing. As an author, my inner goal was to inspire, entertain, and make a difference. As an authorpreneur, my objective was clear: to raise awareness, establish a platform, and cultivate a steadfast readership.

Diving even deeper into the industry, I pursued continuing studies in writing at Stanford University, fully immersing myself. My thirst for knowledge led me to acquire a collection of craft-centric books and attend various writing events, to forge connections and stay attuned to the industry's pulse. My involvement extended beyond this, as I served as Treasurer, Events Coordinator, and Vice President within the Fremont Area Writers Club.

Then, in 2016, after dedicating a decade to Stanford University, I made a momentous decision: I bid farewell to my job and started a new chapter, relocating to a Philippine island to devote my full attention to writing. Balancing the demands of a full-time job, family, and household responsibilities had always been challenging. The choice wasn't made lightly, as relinquishing a stable position came with significant risk. Yet, my dreams overshadowed my fears; I knew with certainty that this path was my destiny.

Fast forward seven years since that pivotal move, and I find myself standing in an awe-inspiring period. Seven years without a conventional job, yet within this time, my creative output has flourished beyond measure. Eleven novels and a guidebook for authors on marketing now represent my path. My writing path has not only encompassed novels but also extended to screenplays, resumes, blogs, product descriptions, articles, speeches, and more. I've also delved into the world of editing, teaching workshops, and providing coaching services to a diverse range of clients.

The wonderful thing about working on your own is the freedom it brings. You control your schedule and set your own deadlines. But, here's the catch: without dedication to your vision, hard work, and discipline, achieving desired outcomes can be tough. Even though I put in long hours, often during the wee hours, the fact that I'm passionate about my work keeps it from feeling like a job. My main struggle lies in maintaining focus amid distractions, but building solid habits and staying committed really make a difference.

This passage has been nothing short of a soaring flight toward my aspirations. I am a firm believer that success hinges on chasing your dreams, living your passion, working hard, embracing discipline, and being committed to your vision and purpose.

As I stand at this juncture, reaching for new heights, I cast a fond glance back at that childhood dream that once hinted at the road ahead. The intricate twists and turns that have led me here are filled with a profound sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the opportunities seized, the challenges surmounted, and the unceasing support of those who believed in my potential. Yet, this is not a conclusion; rather, it is a vibrant transition, a stepping stone to the horizons yet to be explored. This sense of coming full circle fills me with a deep sense of appreciation, amplifying my eagerness to embrace more remarkable paths that stretch before me.

With every word penned, every story shared, and every connection nurtured, I find myself invigorated by the promise of what lies ahead. The whispers of my childhood dreams have transformed into a resounding echo that propels me forward, beckoning me to embrace the unexplored paths with the same fervor that guided me from the very beginning.

In this eternal cycle of growth and renewal, I remain committed to the art and craft that have shaped my journey. The pursuit of passion is a lifelong voyage, and every chapter is a representation of the strong spirit that defines me.

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