When I was a child, I like many other girls was a subscriber to the American Girl magazine. At some point as a subscriber, American Girl published book excerpts from Amelia's Notebook, written and illustrated by Marissa Moss. Soon enough I begged my mom to purchase multiple books from the series. Even though I knew Amelia was a fictional character, it felt like she was real, with the cover resembling a composition notebook and the lined pages filled with doodles and Amelia's little-sister-angst, drawing her older sister Cleo with a "jelly roll nose". Reading the series was like reading someone's actual journal and wishing you were just as clever as they were. I remember trying to replicate Moss's illustrations, with hopes that someday I could do something like that effortlessly.
Of course at the time I had no idea what a graphic designer was, or that I would become one. But I knew I liked to write and draw, and that someone got paid for doing it.
Years later, I was walking in a thrift store and found one of the books from the series. Within seconds, I was flipping through the book and remembering key details. It was almost a year since I graduated college and I was feeling very discouraged. I applied to over 100 job positions, with little luck. But at that moment, I felt the same feeling I felt years ago while reading the series. Even though it was difficult, I still felt the excitement of wanting to do what Marissa Moss had achieved. I remembered why I was trying so hard in the first place, and for the first time in months it didn't feel hopeless.
That night I looked up Marissa's website online and sent her an email thanking her inspiring me then and now. Within a day she wrote back:
I can't tell you how much I appreciate that you took the time to write this to me! I'm touched that I could inspire you as a girl and again as a woman. I hope you stick with it and follow your dream to become a graphic designer. It's tougher now than when I started out, but I believe in talent, hard work, and determination. If you have faith in yourself, I know you'll get where you want to go.
Marissa's response was well needed at the time, and within two months after reading her email I landed a job as a graphic designer. :)