top of page
  • Leah E. Welker

Hello World—How Did I Get Here?

Updated: Feb 23

A pile of magazines and a square block full of black pencils, eraser ends up. On top of the magazines sits a retro camera, which is, ironically, out of focus, being just in the background of the picture.

I have a blog.

Goodness gracious, that is terrifying.

How did I get here? I've never wanted a blog. I've never felt compelled to put my words out there for all the world to see, read, and inevitably judge—a self-consciousness made all the worse by a background in editing, which means I "should" write stuff that is completely coherent, beautifully packaged, and error-free. Or so people think. Truth is, editors (and writers) are human beings too, and not only do they make mistakes even when they are performing at 100%, they cannot be performing at 100% all the time. Or even most of the time. Sometimes, like when they are writing a blog or a social media post or talking with their friends, they want to just be . . . human. Let their hair down, relax, make mistakes, get messy.

Except I've never been able to do that in an online venue before. I hate social media with a passion. I am perfectly content never posting about my life, let alone my inner world. I am perfectly happy only having a few close friends, perfectly happy with a quiet, undisturbed life. And I, as I said, never wanted a blog.

I never wanted to be in the public spotlight, center stage, with all the lights beaming down on me. Quite the opposite. I've always been perfectly content working behind the curtain, letting and even enabling others to vaunt themselves on stage. I'm a master planner, administrator, power-behind-the-throne kind of person. I never wanted to be the person sitting on the throne. I always knew what kind of hot, dangerous seat that was.

I kind of dreamed of making a living off of writing, sure, but I always knew that to be successful at it, I would have to expose myself. I was always unsure whether the cost of stepping out of the shadows would be worth it. For most of my life, the answer has been no.

And then a few things happened.

First, I got an editing job that checked all my practical-mind boxes:

  1. It was salaried.

  2. It was secure.

  3. It paid well enough for financial independence.

  4. It had a good mission and good people.

  5. It was a place where I could grow.

And for a while (four years, actually), that was great. In fact, that was what I think I was meant to do. That job delivered on all those promises and then some. And yet, I just couldn't settle. Literally—each of those four years, I had to move for one reason or another. And figuratively—I just wasn't finding my fit. In my wards (church congregations), in my friend groups, in my work.

Compounding everything, I found out that I cannot work in an office environment; not sustainably, not for a career. My introversion could not handle it; I was drained every day from simply existing in that space. And this wasn't even an "open office" floor plan! It was cubicles, supposedly the (cue sarcastic voice) soul-draining isolators of the corporate world, and that was still too flimsy a defense. And this was among mostly fellow introverts! It wasn't like people were constantly popping into my cube or making a racket the aisle over. Everyone was so kind and considerate. I had the best bosses and the best coworkers and the best purpose-driven work.

And I couldn't do it.

I struggled with that for a while. I'm a realist. A dreamer in some things, yes, but also a hardcore realist. I know the grass is usually not greener on the other side. I know that usually you just need make happiness where you are. More than that, I felt so . . . ungrateful.

At the beginning of my final year, I was determined to find a way to make myself stay. I talked with mentors and supervisors and career coaches. On my own, I listed out my difficulties ad nauseum, and I created a plan to systematically alleviate each one. Then I implemented that plan.

It still wasn't enough. Six months into that last year (which was the timeline I gave myself to test my plan), I had to admit defeat.

Other factors started aligning. Family ones that I won't get into (I'm not spilling all the tea on this blog, especially not the kind that's not mine to spill), and also, most important, spiritual ones.

I'm religious. Specifically, I'm a Christian, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm never going to hide that, in my books or in my website or in my blog—not only would that be inauthentic of me, it would be unproductive. Anyone who is going to despise me for my beliefs is going to find out about them eventually and rightfully hate me all the more if I tried to conceal them.

To truly be real with you, dear reader, as you deserve, I have to show you my whole self. And my faith is at the core of that self and of everything I do. Call me crazy—fine. That'll hurt (I call myself crazy enough as it is, thanks), but fine. But I won't give you cause to call me a liar.

At that time in my life, in the middle of 2022, I began feeling strong spiritual promptings that I was meant to quit my job by the end of the year and that, in 2023, I was to focus fully on my family and my writing.

That terrified me. To no end. My inner realist said I was crazy, that I was throwing away the best, most secure job I was going to get. That I was going to be a failure as a writer, embarrass and impoverish myself, disappoint my family, and be written off as yet another foolish dreamer to fall by the wayside.

Even my inner dreamer was hesitant. Even if I was successful, did I really want to deal with what that would mean? That would mean stepping out of the shadows and into the light.

Only repeated promptings gave me the courage to follow through. I would never have done it and would never recommend such a move to anyone otherwise. (Seriously, aspiring writers: don't quit your day job without serious thought, planning, and support. And definitely prayer, if that's your thing.)

Even so, I told myself (and everyone who asked) that I was only going to take a sabbatical, and a short one at that. Just a few months, just the first few months of 2023, just to help my family with some things and give this writing thing a go for a bit, to see if it was something I could stand to do as a full-time job. Then, after having gotten that craziness out of my system, I would look for a "real" job again—only, this time, one I could do from home, because by then I had discovered a WFH job was simply a nonnegotiable for my long-term success and wellbeing.

That's what I told everyone, including my wonderful parents, with whom I was already once again living because, nice job or no, this is a dang expensive area to buy a house in, or even rent, and I was supposed to be saving up for a house. Instead, that savings, along with my parents' continued generosity and blessing, would carry me for those few unemployed months.

And so that's what I did. I gave my notice, I said my fond goodbyes (those people really were the best, and I miss them), I packed up my cube, and I left, just a week or two before Christmas.

So the end of my 2022 felt like an unusually long Christmas vacation. I started writing, but I often do that on vacation. It was only after the new year rolled around when it really hit me that I wasn't . . . going back. That this was truly happening. And that felt . . . amazing.

So, I rolled up my sleeves, sat down with my laptop in my cozy bedroom, and got into a groove. (No, I didn't spend every day in my PJs—that's not my style; wasted opportunity, I know, but I feel more productive when properly dressed, thanks. But was I in jeans and a t-shirt? Yes, yes I was, and that was glorious.)

Just a few months, I told myself. So don't get too used to this, Leah. Just a few months, just to see if I could do it. Or even stand it . . . .

Ha! Stand it? Stand writing for eight hours a day?

Could I make myself stop?

It was as if the floodgates had been opened.

I'd tried to keep up with writing over the years, just to get ideas down, just to continue my development. It was my hobby, and I thought always would be. That made it comforting, carefree. But it was only a hobby I could keep up when my brain wasn't dulled by work (which was always mentally intensive) and my energy tank not emptied by, again, work, plus a commute and church responsibilities.

I fully dove into writing at the beginning of 2023, rested from a Christmas "break" and my introverted batteries fully recharged and keeping a charge, and . . . .

I artistically exploded.

I honestly can't remember much from that time. I helped out my mom with finishing up an addition on our house, but other than that, it was write, write, write, write, write. Even when I wasn't writing, I was thinking about writing. While I was eating, while I was sleeping, while I should have been listening to my mom's instructions about this construction detail or that, or while I should have been keeping up a semblance of humanity in general. When I did a few weeks of pet-sitting in another state, when there was nothing except a couple of cats to disturb me, literally all I did was write or think about writing.

A lot of that was being caught up in the artistic fervor of my lifetime, being swept away by the story itself, to the point where I was feeling every emotion my characters felt—which meant I felt nearly as terrified as they were when their lives were in danger, and I frantically had to write their way out of it before it was too late. My wellness tracker kept telling me to take it easy (and get more sleep); it suggested I "read a good book" to relax, which made me break out into hysterical laughter and is a running joke between me and one of my sisters to this day.

But if I'm honest, one of the reasons for my obsession was the timeline I'd given myself and my parents. Just a few months. I didn't want to take any longer than that before I had to have something to show them, a proof of concept. To show myself and them that I could do this. I could write something worth reading. Worth publishing. That their trust in me was well-placed.

But the story kept going. In my head, it hadn't seemed like it would be so long. And yet everything I knew had to happen took so much longer to happen than I thought it would. Even though I enjoyed every minute of getting to the end, I was frantically typing as fast as I could to get there.

And then . . . I did. In the middle of March. Three months (counting my start before Christmas) and 425,000 words later . . . I was done. That is, done with what I had always called in my head the "first" book of a "trilogy." (Only problem was . . . that first book was way too long. So, really . . . what I had just finished was books one through three of a six-book series. But that's a tale for another time.)

I took a couple weeks to fiddle with it, edit it, read through it again to make sure it even made sense. And it did, remarkably. I knew I was going to need to do more with it, but by the last week in March, I thought I had something that was ready to share with my family. "Proof" that I wasn't insane—or if I was, well . . . at least it was the marketable kind of insanity.

Proof that maybe, just maybe . . . I could do this.

And that . . . was its own kind of terrifying. Because that meant . . . I had to keep going. All the way. No more "just a few months," no more "just getting it out of my system." I had caught the sickness and it was there to stay.

I, like a character in a book, had undergone a transformation, and I was past the point of no return.

Moreover I felt the mission of the books calling to me. They had a purpose. I had been given them in that massive dump of inspiration for a reason. Never had my writing just flowed like that, just clicked, all the foundational pieces fitting all together so beautifully, right from the first draft. That book was meant to be shared—not just with my family, but with the world.

Which meant that I had to write the next two (cough, three) books in the trilogy (cough, hexalogy). Then I had to publish them. And do all the things it took to get them into the hands of the people who would need them.

Even if that meant stepping into the light.

And so now, nearly one year and three more books later, here goes the first big step.

Now I have a blog. A website. A company. A plan. They're not perfect. Gosh, how I wish they were more perfect. But they'll never be perfect. I'll never be able to plan it all to perfection, never be able to execute it all without a hitch, never be able to orchestrate it all above reproach. I'll never be ready. So it's time. It's all good enough. I am good enough.

I am terrified, ya'll.

But I'm taking a deep breath . . . and taking that step.

Hello world. Here I am.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page