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Marni Derr

My Story

In a few words, or more.

The Artist

Not long ago my mother pulled out an old box filled with items I had created from my childhood for my grandfather. On top was a ghastly picture of a group of penguins, followed by almost as silly poem. It was dated 1975. I was seven years old.

The box was filled with other drawings, stories, and poetry I had written over the years and I recall how I dedicated every waking moment from 7 – 17 to becoming a Disney artist and writer. Nevermind that writers and artists are, generally speaking, separate jobs.

The Writer

When everyone told me that I’d have to have a ‘Real Job’ before becoming a starving artist-like-troll-living-under-a-bridge, I set out to find someway to make my dream a reality. I could be very stubborn when someone told me I couldn’t do something.

Luckily I hit working status right as the computer/internet boom was in it’s infancy. I worked and quit half a dozen jobs before I began teaching others how to use software and hardware by writing. I fell into it actually, and I’ve been writing, developing, and teaching ever since.

You can do the math...

I won’t bore you with the minute details of the past 25 years. If you want to read that drivel, head on over to my new blog.

Or, just sift through my work below to see what I’ve done and what I’m doing, no need for us to calculate how long…

Past, Present, and Future

The Technical Writer

So as I stated before, a couple dozen ‘let’s find out what I want to do jobs’, and I became a technical writer. Surprisingly enough, I was good at it. I took my love of tech and combined writing with my need to help people and badda boom badda bing! I was making a living writing. I’ve worked for Xerox, Tektronix, Freightliner, AKQA (a Nike partner) and a dozen other small contracts throughout the years. I wrote one of the original books on Joomla for Peachpit. I was a writer and author making a decent living.

However, my creative side was shriveling up like a dried prune…

The Web Developer

So what could I do while living well, but barely living? I went back to school. I learned CSS, HTML, PHP, and JavaScript and a smidge of graphic design. I was creating something again, and better yet, I was writing about it so others could create too.

So what could go wrong? Nothing at first. I was sitting in my pajamas, at home and working. No more 9 – 5 (or these days 8 – 6). I was happy. I was creating. But work was up, then down. There and then gone. And I was slowly going broke…

Back to Our Roots - Writing

I was a successful tech writer. I was a pretty successful web developer/designer. So what happened?

Let’s just skip the excuses, I wasn’t doing what I really wanted to do. Oh, I like creating websites. I love the excitement of a site done well and a happy client. But where did the childhood dream go. I wasn’t creating art. I wasn’t writing the fiction book that had been pooling in my head for 20 years…

I kept working (I was incredibly luckily, don’t read this as a complaint). But the more I chased the money ‘for a rainy day’, the farther my dream kept sailing away.

How to Take What You've Learned and Do What You Love

Work Samples and Links

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