Living the Writer's Life: Cindy Cyr
From Tragedy to Triumph: Her Writing Career Brought Family to the Forefront
When Cindy Cyr’s boss refused to give her leave to travel to her dying sister’s side, the wheels of change were forever put in motion. But Cindy was able to make sweeping changes to her life pretty quickly, thanks to the opportunities she found through writing. Because of her bold actions, she’s never again faced the pain of being barred from spending time with a loved one when they were in need. Discover how her new path has paid off a hundred-fold since.
Tell me about life before writing.
I was in marketing and advertising, working for a big newspaper conglomerate. Then my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. She lived a thousand miles away from me, and I wanted to spend more time with her. But I had limited vacation at my job. I went to HR and said, “I’ll take unpaid leave, I don’t care.” They told me, “A sibling doesn’t qualify for that kind of personal leave.”
But they said that if I could get permission from my boss, I could take unpaid leave. So I went to my coworkers for support and they were like, “We got you. We will cover you.” Plus, because I was in sales, I could really do a lot over the phone and email. I laid out this whole plan so my boss would say yes, and she ultimately said no.
It was really devastating. My sister died very quickly. She was diagnosed in March and died at the end of June. So it was four months from the time she was diagnosed to the time that she passed away. I never wanted to be in that position again where I was kept away from what was important.
That was really the catalyst for me. Writing became my out. It was how I was going to be able to quit my job and have the freedom to go wherever I wanted whenever I wanted. I was able to quit within a couple months after she died.
So you had a very strong “why” when it came to pursuing your writing career.
In the end, family is what matters. Those relationships, the people in your life. That’s what is more powerful and more valuable than any fancy car or house or bank account.
How did you get started, and what kind of writing do you do now?
I stumbled onto Dan Kennedy, and that led me to AWAI. And I very quickly signed up for Circle of Success. Then I was able to go through the first course and quit my job and replace my income fairly quickly.
Now I do a little bit of everything, from long-form sales letters, to emails, to what I like to call client hero stories. A really big strength of mine is telling someone’s origin story.
What does life look like for you today?
Well, I travel a lot. In the last few months, I’ve been to Costa Rica, California, and Mexico. In May I went to Portugal and Italy, and I just got back from going to Mackinac Island [in Michigan] and Door County [Wisconsin], where I spent a couple weeks with my dad and my cousins.
The time factor has been important. When I became an empty nester, my parents were living a thousand miles away from me, and I would go every other month and spend two weeks with them.
And when my mom got ill in February of 2020, it was evident that she needed full-time care. My dad couldn’t do it on his own, so within two days I was able to say, “Okay, let’s just pack our stuff and let’s go.” So my husband and I went March 1st, 2020. My mom ended up passing away the end of March, but because Covid hit right after, she would’ve been in a facility with nobody there by her side, not understanding why we weren’t there because of the brain injury.
Instead, we were there. I couldn’t have done that without the freedom I get from writing for a living.
Tell me how this shift to writing for a living has really affected the people around you.
For my older son, Austin, I never would’ve dreamed this, but I was able to help him launch a career as a financial copywriter. He’s doing very well. And my younger son, Dalton, is musical. My writing career meant that I had the freedom to travel around the country with him as a touring musician.
My husband also works from home, so we spend our mornings together. We walk on the beach or go for a ride in our kayak. This morning we went for a bike ride.
Also, I have a friend with some medical issues, and I’m able to say, “Okay, I can take you.” Nobody else can get off work to go do that.
What would you tell someone who’s where you were once and is just starting out?
First, really dig into your why and understand what that is and have it posted in front of you at all times. That’s what’s going to get you through those moments when you think, Oh, I can’t do it.
The other thing would be to surround yourself with a community. I think the writer community is really beneficial to helping you on your hardest days.
Cindy's Living The Writer's Life story was originally published in Barefoot Writer. To learn more about how you can start living your dream writer's life too, click here.
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