When I was 16 or 17, I wrote to Hearst and Conde Nast asking for direction. How could I be in publishing? What college classes should I take and what early jobs should I focus on? They sent fat manila envelopes back to me stuffed to the bursting point with information and topped with signed letters encouraging me to pursue my writing and publishing dreams.

I lined my bedroom walls with layouts I liked, articles that moved me, and fashion sketches that gave me butterflies.

Shannon HeadshotInstead of heading to New York City, I worked in the legal field and for non-profits. I studied graphic design and doubted myself. I studied journalism and had a crisis of confidence. I ended up getting a degree in Communication and worked briefly in PR and for two magazines — not quite Hearst or Conde Nast — but one of them was a wonderful publication.

Eventually, the Internet and blogs came along as well as the company I work for now — an online media company that answered the question, “Where are the women in the blogosphere?” Trust me, they’re all over it.

I started helping women support themselves or supplement their incomes by monetizing their blogs — places where they find their voices and build communities. Late bloomer that I’ve always been, I finally realized that a blog could be my personal publishing platform and I could, in a different way, fulfill my early publishing dreams.

I’m having the best time finding my own way in the online world writing a positive lifestyle blog with my daughter. You can find us at Salt Lick Lessons.

Besides that I’m working on the most exciting project. It’s a curriculum for young girls to help them develop into strong, well-spoken, ambitious, self-reliant young women who have figured out how to live their best lives. It will be a combination hard copy and online, interactive program. Ever the Generalist, this makes me feel like I’m not wasting my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.

Online publishing. The empowerment of young girls. I feel like my long-time interests are coming together in a personal and meaningful way. My friends in the Flying M-Inklings check my work, ask the hard questions, and keep me accountable. Their discipline, talent, and passion for writing are remarkable.

I’ve been married to Leif for 26 years and still really dig the guy. Our terrific 20-something kids are Zach and Brittan, and we filled the empty nest with two little fur babies, Aspen and Scotch.

Shannon Collage

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