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Meet Rebecca Gutknecht

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Gutknecht.

Rebecca, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
During my childhood, my parents would create these wild adventure stories for bedtime – vibrant unicorns and their kingdom, mountain-climbing tickling monsters, and other various narratives. I lived those stories in my dreams and continued to bring that kind of creativity into life. My love to create comes from my family.

Throughout my education, I enjoyed any opportunity to write creatively with poetry, short stories, or my own children’s literature book. From high school to college, I edited my friends’ papers and resumes, even correcting their English in daily conversation. (Incorrect usage of their, there, and they’re just gets me) I am much more coherent in writing than physically talking – it’s a curse.

Thinking about this now, it’s just funny because I chose to go into teaching instead of a specifically English-related career. Combining my love of art, nature, and past experiences with volunteering for children’s programs, I thought education was the way to go. I immersed myself into the teaching world for five years. After completing my credential, I went right into elementary substitute teaching. There were things I enjoyed, but it ended up becoming a sore spot for me.

Fast forward, and now, I am working as a freelance writer. It’s amazing – writing just comes naturally to me most days. Projects range from travel trivia to articles and blogs. I’m always writing something new and entertaining. A lot of what I do focuses on weddings, creating website launches or wedding listicles. I think this realization from my past experiences is fascinating. Why didn’t I come up with this before? I love what I’m doing now, and I want to continue to blossom and grow with this new career path. I have dreams I am hoping to accomplish this year, maybe a travel/lifestyle blog – lookout!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Ahah! I would love to sugar coat it and pretend I haven’t had a few stumbling blocks along the way, but I have. After graduating with a B.A. and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, I went into elementary subbing. You know how all teachers go into their first classroom with a happy glow? Yup, mhmm, hi. I was bright-eyed, hopeful, and ready to be a light to children. Sure, I had good days with sweet angel students. I will never forget one 2nd grade class when I was called in late and had to make up a lesson on the spot – not unusual. This time, I had a stroke of genius. The lesson plan lightly mentioned a focus on compound words, like bookworm or afternoon. Instead of going with a boring exercise, we clapped ourselves into compounds (clapping each word together to create compound words). Those kids just took off with it. I saw the excitement, the pure enjoyment of learning. I am so thankful for that moment. Unfortunately, that joyful period didn’t last. Those times did not outweigh the bad ones. Over a period of a few years, I lost the spark for teaching. Anxiety took me down and it was a long time before I got back up on my feet.

After moving back to my hometown, I started looking for work in all forms of teaching: tutoring, subbing, full-time, art, etc. Stalemate, check! Instead of working in the traditional sense, I used my creative talents and went all into creating an Etsy shop, Sparkle Drop. From felt ornaments to wooden ornaments, and the oh so popular shell crowns, I boosted myself for a while. The holidays were especially good. I enjoyed crafting and adding a bit of sparkle to life. (hence, Sparkle Drop) All that sequin and sparkle goodness, you know?

Sales were dropping and I needed a change. Around this time, my sister was living with me and my husband. She got into Upwork as a freelance artist, and I figured, why not? If she can do this, I can too. Unlike her, I created a writing profile, something that would hopefully use my talents from teaching and a Liberal Arts degree. It took a couple of months, but I found excitement in this new territory: freelance writing. Why I never thought of this, I have no idea. I am happy, more content than I have been in a long time, and excited for whatever the future holds. To my sister, you are my lucky star. Thank you. For anyone out there feeling lost, you’ll find your way. It will happen in time. I promise.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a writer, a creative, a dreamer. As a freelance writer, I work with a variety of content areas, anything from weddings, college-centered blogs, retirement, or book promotions. If I had to choose one, I’d say I specialize in the realm of weddings. I can write about weddings all day – decor, themes, bridesmaid gifts, etc. I have a few articles for “Forever Bridal” magazine that are coming out in the spring and I’m pretty thrilled. If you can get yourself a spot in a magazine, I’d say that’s a great turning point. I finally did it. Most of my work is blog related, articles, listicles, marketing products, etc. I can play the field, no problem.

If appropriate, I love adding my own flare to projects, some sparkle and sass. Makes for a good read. I like to think that I can turn otherwise dull content entertaining. For Chegg, a college-centered website, I wrote an article about tips for writing conclusions and added a fun burrito metaphor. (Wrap up that burrito, baby – all the beans, cheese, and avocado folded up perfectly) I mean come on. If you can make conclusions fun, done. Bingo.

As a dreamer, I naturally have a million and one ideas for the future. I plan to start up a travel/lifestyle blog with past travels around the world – Greece, Japan, Belgium, etc. Books of all sorts. Magazines.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is hard to define. It’s different for each person. I used to think it meant money, a position of power, and all of those stereotypical versions of success. I have a healthier view now – success is change and movement. If you are able to strive for better, strive for yourself and continue to blossom into whoever you are meant to be, you are winning. I am hopeful for this new decade. I hope to create more with freelance writing and turn it into a true career. I hope for happiness, strength, and peace. I don’t want to necessarily look for markers, but an overall continued change. Cheers to 2020!

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Rebecca Gutknecht, Sue Takamoto, Trung Nguyen

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