Beth Stedman
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I always find it difficult to write my own about page. I’ve had a website for 15 some odd years and I’m a professional copywriter, but writing my own About page always makes me want to run and hide under a blanket — preferably with a good book!

Some of it’s good ol’ impostor syndrome and not liking talking about myself. But, if you’ve been around my blog at all you know, I talk about myself quite a bit.

I think the really hard part of About pages for me is focus, narrowing it down — how do you condense a person into a page? A life into a few paragraphs?

I am not one thing. I don’t just do one thing. To quote Walt Whitman, “I contain multitudes.”

So, what things shape me and my work most? What do I most want you to know?

I want you to know that my life is messy, unpredictable, and not what I expected it to be. I’d venture to bet, you’re is too.

So, in some effort to organize my messy life I’m going to break my about page into two sections: family life & writing life.

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 Family Life


My family comes first, because…well, they come first. My work, my creativity, all of it orbits my family life. This is partly because my family life demands a lot from me, more than I expected, but even more than that, it’s because I love this little family of mine more than anything (I know it’s a bit cliche, but it’s true).

My husband and I grew up together. Our mom’s were close friends when we were toddlers. Then our families moved to different sides of the country and we rarely saw each other. Until college. In college we reconnected, and fell in love. And we lived happily ever after... well, not exactly. But, we are still very much in love.

Early in our marriage we spent four years living in the Czech Republic and that time shaped us in substantial ways. In fact, the book I’m currently working on takes place in Prague.

Less than a year after we moved back to the states, and just months before my 30th birthday, my husband, Bryan, was diagnosed with melanoma. It quickly spread and progressed to stage 4 — a terminal diagnosis. That was seven years ago now. Bryan’s done natural treatments, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, TIL cell treatments, and every trial we could get him into — he was even patient 1 on a trial! Miraculously, graciously, he’s still alive. I’m thankful for that every day.

Around the same time as Bryan was diagnosed, we learned that our daughter, Sage, has bilateral polymicrogyria, which falls under the umbrella of cerebral palsy. She is pure sunshine and one of the best things that ever happened to me, but also one of the most difficult.

This year, just before my son’s tenth birthday, a psychologist told us that our son, Thaddeus, is gifted and in the top 1% for his intelligence and vocabulary. They also told us he has ADHD and is delayed in some areas, particularly in his social development. He’s an incredible kid and I’m honored to get to be his mom. I absolutely love this stage of life with him, but he constantly challenges me outside of my comfort zone — he has ever since he was born.

I can’t talk about my family without talking about these things. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. I wouldn’t be who I am without any of these steps in our journey. There’s a lot that’s gone wrong in our lives, but there’s also a lot that’s gone right — namely each other, and the incredible community that surrounds us.

My personal writing, and even my client work, is informed and influenced by my husband, my children, and each diagnosis that has been handed to us. These things aren’t who we are, but they do effect and shape who we are in profound ways. This is us.

And I want anyone reading my books, or working with me, to know these parts of my life.

If you’d like to know more about me (and us) you can see my old About page here. It didn’t feel like it entirely fit anymore, but it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever written.

 
 

 Writing life


When I was young I was a ferocious reader, well at least eventually. At some point earlier than my memory, I wasn’t reading at grade level and after some testing we learned I have dyslexia. My parents handled the whole thing incredibly well. I still remember my dad sitting in my bedroom telling me about dyslexia and all the incredible people who’s brains worked like mine. I felt like I got to be part of an elite club, and I never felt shame around the diagnosis. If anything I wore it like a badge.

My parents also worked hard to get me the help, resources, and tools I needed. Soon, I was a ferocious reader. I fell in love with books.

I remember my mom getting upset with me for always having my nose buried in a book. She’d tell me I was missing things and I needed to interact more. She may have had a point, but now I'm so grateful for all those hours I spent with my face pressed against pages of text and my mind lost in the imagination of story. Many of those early favorites continue to influence me now as an adult and shape my attempts at putting my own stories onto the page.

Despite my deep love for reading, the idea of writing a book didn't cross my mind. In fact, in college I very briefly entertained the idea of an English major — so I could spend my time reading — but quickly ruled it out because I struggled with spelling and grammar. Who ever heard of an English major that couldn’t spell? So, I majored in History instead, an almost equally writing intensive pursuit and I loved it.

Sometime during college I started blogging. I think my first attempts at putting words out into the virtual void of the world wide web happened in 2002 — nearly seventeen years ago! By 2007 I was blogging regularly and on my own website. Let me tell you, those first blog posts were pretty rough, but I loved filling a page with words. I loved processing out my thoughts in writing. I loved crafting an idea into written language. Slowly, over time people started to tell me they enjoyed reading my blog. Even more slowly, after even more time, I started to try out calling myself a writer.

After my son was born I began wondering if I could write a book. It felt like an insurmountable goal. I was growing comfortable with saying I was a writer — I did, after all, write — but author? I had bought into the lie that I wasn’t good enough for that. Such a common lie, isn't it? Yet an easy one to believe.

Eventually, I had a dream (a real in-bed-middle-of-the-night dream) when I woke up I knew I had to write it. It took me over a year to write that book, but I did it. I think only five people have read that story and it’s unlikely that I will ever do anything with it, but it’s special to me because it got me over the fear that I couldn’t write a book.

Shortly after that I did my first NaNoWriMo and it completely changed how I view myself and my writing. I wrote more than fifty thousand words in less than thirty days. I realized then that I could do this thing I had only whispered about — I could write a book. I could write multiple books!

Now, I am working on a YA fantasy series, while also helping other people write their books and develop other written content. It is a terrifying joy to me that I get to do this work, and an honor that I get to do it with other people who love words and writing as much as I do.