My seventh grade teacher raved about an article I wrote for our classroom newspaper and suggested I might have a career as a reporter. I appreciated the accolades but never believed I could make a living as a writer.

In my twenties, I moved to Portland, Oregon, and volunteered as a writer/editor for a local women's magazine. When the editor-in-chief suggested I pursue freelancing as a career, I repeated the seventh grade refrain, "You can't make a living as a writer." She convinced me I could and offered to show me the ropes.

A decade later, I make a great living writing about the shortage of male teachers in public school classrooms, tips for maintaining weight loss, the best wildflower hikes in the U.S., eco-friendly cruises, creating a non-toxic nursery for your newborn and the best places to meet singles – all while wearing my pajamas and drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke.

My work has appeared in Backpacker, National Geographic Traveler, Natural Health, American Way, Shape, Women's Health, Arthritis Today, Family Circle, Parenting, Hemispheres, Midwest Living, Parents, AAA Living and Chatelaine. I'm also the author of three books, including The Green Year and Moon Charlotte.

When I meet aspiring writers who say, "I could never earn a living as a writer," I love changing their minds.

I teach freelance classes and work one-on-one with aspiring freelancers, helping them turn their passion into published (and well-paying) articles.

I'm also a wannabe farmer, growing potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli in an urban garden, the owner of four rescue mutts – Molly, Milo, Roxie and Noelle – and a passionate dog rescue supporter. I play broomball poorly but enthusiastically, love traveling solo and spend weekends planning home improvement projects with my favorite handyman.