I left my 9-5 job in the spring of 2018. At the time it seemed terrifying and exciting all at once. I mean, for once in my life it wasn’t the safe decision. I was leaving decent pay, benefits and amazing people for the great unknown.
I had no idea how scary it would be. Or how hard it would be to slog through the query trenches. That’s what we “in the biz” call looking for agents. It’s a tough gig and you get hit with a LOT of rejection. I detailed that a bit last week so I won’t say too much here, but it can be tough.
Think of it like this: You find your dream job. Everything is going great – you’ve got exciting prospects, you can see the potential long-term future and you’re doing work you’re passionate about. Then you get 150 words to sell someone on an idea. In my case an idea which I’ve put countless hours and eight years of my life in to. Oh, and 500 other people are looking for the same job, with one position to fill.
But I digress. As scary as it was to leave my job, I’m so happy that I did. It gave me this feeling of helplessness. That I don’t know what I’m doing feeling. That’s the best feeling in the world. Do you know why? Because it never lasts, and you’re much better for it.
Once that feeling goes away it means that you’ve learned a new skill. Not mastered it, most likely, but learned enough that you don’t feel like you’re floundering. And that’s a great feeling. It’s in those moments that we grow the most, I find.
Since I left my 9-5 I’ve managed to write two books, rewrite the same two books (it’s like the same, but better!) and learn an entirely new industry. Regardless of whether I go back to tradition work in the future, I’ll always have that.
The biggest lesson? If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Simple enough, no? But the Blank Page isn’t that simple. Most writers I know (myself included) are chronic procrastinators.
“I was going to write today, but how the heck can I do that when there’s dust on the mantlepiece!”
That actually happened to me, by the way.
I started giving myself deadlines. Like I would have back in the 9-5 days.
Some days the words flow. I’ll sit at my laptop plugging away. Barely aware of anything around me. Lost in words. Other days I’ll be pulling my hair out trying to string together more than a few coherent sentences. But I stay sitting until I’ve gotten to my word count. An arbitrary number designed to give me targets, help me achieve goals.
I’m a writer. Regardless of what happens going forward, I can say that. I’ve got the books to prove it.
It will be tight, but November 15th still looks like it’s going to be the day. Far from Ordinary will be available both in paperback and e-book format.
Wish me luck on this next jump into the Great Unknown.
I’ll need it!