Living Chosen with Janeen Ippolito
I work as a freelance editor, coach, and marketing strategist. I’ve also run multiple businesses, and I’ve been a teacher in various capacities for over fourteen years. Plus, I ran a publishing company for seven years. But if you had told eleven-year-old me that these would be my areas of expertise, I would have laughed at you. Because everyone knows that it’s impossible to make a career in these fields. No, eleven-year-old me was heading to veterinary school. I even visited the University of Georgia’s veterinary school open house. I was going in a solid science field that paid well. Turns out, God had other plans, and His plans are always way better than mine.
One thing that upended my plans was humbling. I brutally failed some higher math classes and did poorly in higher science classes. At age sixteen, I went into remedial math tutoring, all the way back to multiplication tables. While I could have still gone into the sciences, I had no interest in going through more mathematical ordeals that made my brain hurt. I studied hard for a year to get a 490 on the SATs, which meant I didn’t have to take a college math class (essential, because I was on an academic scholarship, and a D in math would have been disastrous). In college, I was finally diagnosed with a numerical processing disability that negatively impacted my ability to do higher math.
The second thing that upended my plans was surprising. In my senior year of homeschooling, there was a class I wanted to take, but it wasn’t available at the local co-op. So I did extensive research, chose a number of reputable books to study, created a syllabus and writing assignments for myself, completed them, and presented my findings to my evaluator. Little did I know that I had managed to absorb the principles of teaching. It just made sense to my brain—in the exact way that mathematics didn’t. Go figure that God understood my brain since He made it.
When I was in college, I ended up self-designing my major in Cross-Cultural Studies, ESL, and Writing since the Anthropology department had been dissolved the year before I began college. Again, I had to create my own learning plan and prove to qualified professionals that it was a valid field of study. I was also a go-to person for study tips, organized notes, and paper editing help, just through word of mouth. When I graduated, God continued to open doors for me to teach, edit, and write.
Admittedly, I’ve been sheepish at times, because I don’t have a degree in teaching, editing, business, or writing. Instead, my major was interdisciplinary, a mixture of all of those areas with a deep focus on understanding people and how to communicate with them. But God has opened doors, provided additional training and courses, and shown me that sometimes, the greatest ability is to have a deep desire to love Him, bring Him glory, and sacrificially love people like Jesus did. I’ve been able to help authors get published, delight readers with my words, help students love learning, and help books reach the right audience. My passion and gifts are nothing like I expected or planned when I was eleven, but I’m thankful for them every day. And I can’t wait to see what God has in store next.
Janeen Ippolito believes that books change the world. She’s the multi-published author of 20+ books, including bestselling fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s also an experienced editor and marketing strategist, and for seven years was the CEO of Uncommon Universes Press, a publishing company with award-winning books. Oh, and she hosts the Author Elevate Podcast and speaks regularly at conferences. In her spare time, she helps her epic husband with his youth swordfighting ministry, indulges her foodie ambitions, reads whatever she wants, and explores a slew of random hobbies. Her life goals include traveling to Antarctica and riding a camel while wearing a party hat. She loves to collaborate and encourage, so connect with her on social media or at janeenippolito.com