The Day I Turned Pro and Never Looked Back

Craig Stanland
3 min readMar 2, 2023

It was early afternoon, and the subway platform was quiet.

I was waiting for the R, my mind awash in the conversation that had occurred only 10 minutes ago.

A conversation that the week leading up to it was filled with fear and anxiety.

I had a lot to digest.

I’m grateful my editor suggested we record the conversation so I could review the 90 minutes we spent dissecting my manuscript.

The R pulls into the station, and I take a seat near the door.

I’m thinking about the massive idea she suggested,

“There’s one chapter, the one with you working out in Prospect Park, where you write in the first person. It’s the only chapter in the entire book that’s written in that tense. You shine at writing in the 1st person. I suggest you revise the manuscript from self-help to 1st person memoir.”

I was two and a half years into writing the book at this point. Two and half years of attempting to capture the lessons of being arrested by the FBI, going to prison, losing everything, and planning on how I was going to kill myself.

And she’s telling me to toss it and start from scratch.

I was scared of the call because I thought I couldn’t handle this kind of…



Craig Stanland

I write about my journey from corporate success to federal prison and finding joy, mission, meaning, and fulfillment beyond professional and financial success.