Melissa Frey

Fiction Writer, Freelancer for Hire, and Paleo Enthusiast

Author: Melissa Frey (Page 2 of 5)

I Am a Fiction Writer: The Case for Authenticity

I am a fiction writer.

There; I said it.

I write fiction. That’s what I was put on this earth to do; I believe that 100%, with every fiber of my being. So why is it so hard to claim it?

Finding my calling wasn’t easy, and I’m not even sure I had that one epiphany moment where the pieces just fell into place and writing fiction presented itself as the obvious choice. No; there were many epiphany moments that have led me here, have shown me my life’s purpose.

But still I fight it. I’ve listened to others for so long sometimes I forget how to listen to the voice inside me, the one God uses to tell me what His plan is for me. The one that quietly but insistently whispers to the depths of my soul. The one that tells me my life’s purpose. The one that is supremely difficult to hear but is still there, still trying to get through to me. The one that I’ve let others drown out too long. Including myself.

Well, no more. I’ve done a considerable amount of research and soul-searching in the past few months (sorry this blog’s been so quiet), but sometimes taking a step back is necessary for clarity. And this past weekend, I started hearing that voice again, quiet, yet loud and clear: “Step into your calling, Melissa. You were uniquely created to do this; the world needs you to do this. Life is short; you can’t guarantee that you’ll have tomorrow to start this. Start now.”

My last surviving grandparent died a few weeks ago, and burying your oldest relative can make you realize just how short life really is. So, in part, this is for her, the grandmother I know supported me and would have continued to support me every step of the way.

But back to my question about why it’s so hard for me to step into my life’s calling. To explain, I’ll give you a brief (BRIEF, I promise) background on how I got here.

In college, instead of following my heart, I listened to the people who told me to find a “good” major that will be “guaranteed” to make me money. So I got a BBA in Accounting. And the whole “guaranteed job” thing worked – for a short time.

Then I had the opportunity to stay at home and focus on what I really wanted to do for a career. I’d always wanted to write a “real” book (I’d written a short one in high school that I’d hesitate to go back and actually read), so I started. I got one page in, didn’t know where I wanted to go with it, then stopped. For almost a year. Then, thanks to a new author I discovered and went absolutely crazy over (in case you’re wondering, it was Stephenie Meyer), I suddenly discovered the direction I wanted to take my book. The first draft was done in less than a year! And I knew I wanted to write fiction for a living.

Then life got in the way. Funny how that always happens, right? I think it took me another year to get through my first round of edits (my second draft), then life threw me a curveball and I didn’t work on it for over a year. It may have even been two. Slowly, deliberately, I got back into it, but only fit it in here and there, editing in spurts. At the beginning of last year, I finally felt brave enough to send my completed third draft out to some readers. Everyone who got back to me had really good feedback, and really liked it! So you’d think I’d get really inspired and prepare my manuscript to send to literary agents, right?

Uh…not so much.

So here I am, eight years later, with a book in the final edits (fifth and final edit, I HOPE) but still not 100% complete. Why?

My why for writing is pretty solid. I love it, I want to do it every day for the rest of my life, but yet I don’t seem to stick with it. So what else is going on?

For me, I struggle with the money. I hear it now (and have heard it all over the Internet, believe me): “You have to write for you, not for the money. You have to write because you’re a writer and you can’t not write. You have to write to create art. You have to write even if no one ever reads a word.”

“Yes,” my inner voice (not the smart, quiet one from before, but the annoying stupid one that yells really loud and seems to only want me in misery) interjects, “I know all that! But you still have to have a job and make money. And you can’t make money writing fiction, can you? Nope, because of the rise of ebooks and self-publishing, the path to traditional publishing is dead, and you have to be a marketer above anything else. That’s the only way to sell books. Everybody knows that. Everybody’s telling you that. You have to go learn that.”

So my keep-me-miserable inner voice is telling me all the things I shouldn’t be doing, for all the reasons I shouldn’t be using, and the result is – you guessed it – misery.

(Not to say I’m miserable, but not following your calling is a sort of soul-crushing misery that I’m binding today and throwing out the back door!)


So here’s my manifesto, the things I’m writing down here so you all can keep me accountable:

1. I must write to write.

I love it, so why am I not doing it? Even if I make no money doing it, ever, I still must  write. If it truly is my life’s calling, the people who need to read my words will read them.  Somehow. Even if it’s only one person.

2. Stop listening to everyone else.

There are so many intelligent people out there, even people who have monetized their craft and are making good money writing and selling books. But why do I think my path will look the same as theirs? I need to learn to drown out every voice except that quiet one deep inside and figure out where it’s leading me. Where God’s leading me.

3. Put away all distractions.

Learning is good, but at some point I have to stop learning and just act. Oh yeah – and Facebook.

4. Be my truest authentic self.

I’m not into building a huge platform online and spending all my time on that. There are skills I can learn and have learned that will help me in today’s online economy, but my heart’s in the fiction. That’s where I truly shine. My focus should be on that.


So I hope you’re ready! My fiction’s about to take over this blog. I hope you’ll join me on the journey! Let’s see what fun we can have along the way, and not worry so much about the destination. Whether my book is published and sells millions of copies or it never sees the light of day, if I am my authentic self, the rest will follow. Whatever “the rest” is.

An Open Letter to My Seasoned Coworkers from a Millennial

An Open Letter to My Seasoned Coworkers from a Millennial 042816

Dear Seasoned Coworker,

There are so many things I wish I could tell you in person, things I wish you understood. Here are the top three: First, I’m not as lazy as you think I am. Second, my smartphone will be on my person at all times (it’s too expensive to be left anywhere else), and third, and most importantly, we’re on the same team.

That day when you rolled your eyes at me for checking Google before I cracked open a phone book, I wasn’t mad. I actually kind of get it. For years, the phone book was the gatekeeper to everyone’s phone numbers, and you probably can’t understand why I don’t even bother with phone numbers anymore. But I can honestly tell you that I have no idea how to use a phone book. This may be why you think I’m lazy, but I’m really not.

You see, the world has changed, and is still changing. I’m sure that’s readily apparent to you. But what you perhaps do not understand is that I’ve lived in a constant state of change my whole life. With the advent of the Internet and social media, which are changing literally by the second, my entire life has been a succession of one change after another. It’s truly exhausting, but I’m adaptable. I’ve adapted by taking in previously unheard of amounts of data and filtering them like an expert to retain what serves me and discard what doesn’t.

Remember when you were upset that I was constantly sending emails back and forth to vendors and customers and you weren’t able to catch every detail? I’m not trying to circumvent you, I promise. Delegation is part of my filtering process, which is necessary to keep my head above water in the endless stream of information assaulting me from all sides. I am trying to take things off your plate, especially things that I know frustrate you. Plus email is infinitely faster for me than making a phone call.

We all need to slow down. I get that, more than you realize. I do that with a yoga video I found on YouTube. I meditate in silence, then draw inspiration and spiritual guidance from books on my iPad. I play soothing music on Spotify, pull up recipes on my favorite blogs, then FaceTime my nephew three time zones away.

My life is a constant influx of information. Call it being a product of my environment, and that’s probably true, but this is where I am, who I am, who we are: our lives inexorably tied to a screen. True, we need to learn to unplug at times, but to disregard technology entirely would be a disservice to all the friends we’ve never met in person, or all the people we’re able to help that live on the other side of the world, or the mentors we can learn from that happen to live in a different state than we do.

But here’s the bottom line, what we really want to say to you: We need you. We promise you’re not irrelevant. Your methods may seem outdated to us at times, but you’ve walked this earth longer than we have, and we would put ourselves at a disadvantage if we ignored all that knowledge and wisdom.

So work with us, please. We’re young, yes, but we have so much to offer the world. We just want to make things better, and you can help us do that.

We want to incite change in our company, our environment, the world, and we want things to change for the better. But we can’t do it alone.


Your Millennial Colleague (you know, the one on their iPhone)

Wellness/Paleo Website Launch!


This past February, my husband and I took an amazingly relaxing trip to Tampa, Florida. (Above is the sunset in St. Petersburg.) We almost didn’t make it out of Michigan due to a snowstorm, but as the palm trees came into view, we could almost feel the weight (probably the weight of the snow) lift off our shoulders.

We took the week and rested, ate amazing food, laid out and walked on the beach, drove all over the Tampa Bay area, and watched Supernatural. (Thank you, TNT) And after our minds finally cleared, we decided that we needed to start something.

At first, we weren’t sure what we were going to start. We knew that between my own Paleo/health journey and his desire to become more fit we’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge about wellness, health, and nutrition. So we brainstormed, planned, scrawled all over some white boards, planned some more, thought way too much, and came up with an idea. A website! (Not very original, but bear with me.)

We knew so many people who wanted help getting their health back on track, so we wanted a place where people could go to find help on their wellness journey. Somewhere people could peruse articles, check out some Paleo recipes, and gain inspiration to start and maintain a healthy lifestyle day in and day out.

Our website isn’t up quite yet, but we wanted to start getting the word out. If you are considering starting your journey to a healthy life, are ready to get started, or are simply curious, sign up to get notified when the site launches! It’s really only a few clicks away. (Get notified here.)

Also, we’d love to connect with you on Facebook! My Facebook author page is here; send us a message! If you have any questions or already have ideas of things you’d like to see on the website, email us at

And don’t worry; my blog will still be here! I will just transition my health and wellness posts to

What would you like to see on the new site? Blog posts, recipes, pictures, something else? We want to create content you’ll love! Sound off in the comments!

5 Ways You’re Probably Holding Yourself Back

We all do it.

We have great intentions, lofty goals, but we somehow never see the results. Somehow, some way, we’re stuck. Frustrating, isn’t it? I’ve lived in this place a long time, and am currently clawing my way out.

Beach Sunset Taking Picture in Florida

But in the process of learning how to move forward, I’ve learned a little about the things that were holding me back. Perhaps they’re not mind-blowing revelations for you, but identifying the problem is the first step in finding the solution.

1. You’re Not Learning

It’s easy to binge watch Netflix. Not that anyone here’s done that before… Ahem. What’s not easy is challenging yourself, pushing yourself, learning and absorbing all you can.

Does it matter what you’re learning? Not really. It’s about training your mind to process and retain information. So learn anything and everything you can. I mean it. Want to learn the migrating patterns of a particular bird? If that’s your thing, run after it. We have this amazing thing called “The Internet” that might help…

Learning to learn can be a beautiful thing. And it helps you grow as a person; sometimes just the act of learning itself will help you grow. Just try it.

2. You’re Thinking Horrible Things

Imagine you love someone a whole lot. Like a ton. Remember your first girlfriend maybe. Or think of your husband. Or your kids maybe. Now what would you do if you heard someone tell them they were worthless? Besides wanting to punch them in the face (don’t do that), you would, in no uncertain terms, tell them to leave immediately and never speak that way to your loved one again.

Have you ever told yourself those kinds of things? If you have, you’re undoubtedly reading this right now with a lump in your throat. Push those thoughts as far away from you as you can by replacing every negative thought with at least one positive thought. Bonus: if you can find a way to make the negative a positive, you are well on your way to conquering that evil voice inside your head!

I’ll be the first to tell you that this is in no way easy, but it’s well worth it, I promise.

3. You’re Listening to the Wrong (External) Voices

Anyone ever tell you something you should do? No? So you’ve never been around people before? Everyone, whether they mean to or not, has at some point given you advice. It’s not a bad thing – until we start listening to them more than we listen to our own voice.

What’s the best way to avoid this? Know yourself. It’s hard, so hard. But completely worth it. Figure out who you are, and do it relentlessly. Then you’ll be able to take all that advice, filter it through your personality, then use what serves you and discard what doesn’t. Again, it’s hard. But anything worth pursuing is.

4. You’re Allowing Fear to Run Your Life

Ouch. I’m stepping on my own toes here. Always (read: every single time) ask yourself your motivation behind choosing to do or not do something. Is fear holding you back, telling you you won’t succeed, or that you’re not good enough, or that _________ (fill in the blank)?

Don’t let fear run your life anymore. Jeff Goins sums it up well: “…courage isn’t the absence of Fear; it’s the willingness to face it in spite of how you feel.” So let’s all do one thing to be courageous and laugh in the face of fear. Then another. And another. And soon, fear will go and bug someone else.

5. You’re Convinced This is All There Is

You’ve been there, haven’t you? Somehow someone (probably yourself) convinced you that where you are is where you’ll stay. Sometimes it definitely feels like that. But here’s a quote I love, and though I usually use it to pertain to travel, it fits here, too: “Life’s not meant to be lived in one place.” (Author unknown) That isn’t only talking about your geographical location, but maybe for you it is. Or maybe it means something else.

The point here is that you learn, grow, venture out, try new things! The worst that can happen is that you find out something you don’t like – but maybe you’ll stumble onto your life’s purpose. And what could be cooler than that?


All that to say: we don’t have to stay here, people. We can live in victory, in freedom, in complete and utter happiness, if only we discover how to let go.

Because only in letting go can we find true freedom. (Tweet that)

What one thing can you do today to start moving forward? Let me know in the comments!

God Alone: A Study in Making Much of God

So here’s a few thoughts I had on Psalms‬ ‭72 (from the NLT) today:

The psalm at first appears to be all about the king and how he is asking for his kingdom to be prosperous, requesting that all the people in his kingdom are blessed and filled to the brim with the things they need. At first glance, this seems to be a little conceited. Why would the writer be asking God to make his own name great?

“…May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful… May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more. May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth… All kings will bow before him, and all nations will serve him… Long live the king! …May there be abundant grain throughout the land, flourishing even on the hilltops. May the fruit trees flourish like the trees of Lebanon, and may the people thrive like grass in a field. May the king’s name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun shines. May all nations be blessed through him and bring him praise.”

Then the last few verses came, and one word jumped off the page. And I got it.

“Praise the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things. Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and amen!” (emphasis mine)

Did you catch it? The end of the psalm shows that God ALONE does all these things. And all the king’s prosperity is for God’s glory, not his own.

Can’t we relate? We shouldn’t desire to be known simply to make our own name great; we should desire to be known so we can make God’s name the greatest of all.

And then…(I love this last part.)

The writer just drops the mic.

“(This ends the prayers of David son of Jesse.)”

How great is that?

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭72:1-20‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To tell me how you’re making His name great, connect with me here.

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