Now that the Super Bowl is over, it's time to get back to the business of writing.
And that really is what writing has become to me now. My business. I am the Owner, President, CEO, Project Manager, Accountant, and my own personal assistant. Oh, and don't forget the janitor. I'm that, too. Because as a writer, I pretty much have to do it all.
But you know what? I LOVE IT! There is no other job I would like to have than this one. And here's the story about how I made the decision to take the risk of being a full-time writer:
About three weeks ago, I was close to reaching a major low. I had been unemployed since July 2010, and had suffered through awful temp assignments, useless job searches, and even spent 4 1/2 months of 2011 taking classes to make myself more marketable to employers. But without any experience in the field I was trying to enter, no one would look at me. And I no longer wanted to work as an administrative assistant because the job simply wasn't challenging enough for me. I was professionally lost, and the truth is, my heart was 100% pulling me toward writing.
So, three weeks ago, at my lowest of lows, I got a phone call from a company that wanted to slot me for a 15-minute screening interview. I actually cried. I didn't want that job. The thought of enduring another interview that would likely end up with another reject letter to damage my already-fragile ego for a position I didn't even want depressed me beyond words. On top of that, I was terrified I would fail as a full-time author. So, I was at that proverbial crossroads: do I take the interview or do I take the risk that my writing can support me?
That was on a Friday evening. Monday, I went to Whole Foods at 8:00. I only needed a few things and when I left, it was around 8:15. I had obsessed over the decision of interview or writing all weekend and was crying. Yes, you read right. Crying. I actually walked out of Whole Foods with tears in my eyes, and guess what I did? I prayed. Right there on the sidewalk and as I crossed into the parking lot. Now, I'm not a religious person by any stretch of the word. I'm spiritual and talk to God all the time, but very rarely do I pray. Well, that Monday morning I did. I said something to the effect of: "I need a sign, God. And I need a big one. A sign that will smack me so hard between the eyes that I can't miss that it was a sign. A sign that will tell me what I'm supposed to do, because, God, I don't know what that is. Am I supposed to take that interview, or am I supposed to write? Give me a sign God, and I mean a huge sign. One that if I miss it, I'm blind. I give this to you, God. Please show me the way."
About two hours later, I opened my email. Back in November, I had submitted a story to THE publisher all epub authors want to work with, Silver Publishing. For weeks, I had waited for a reply to see if they had accepted my story. I had begun to lose hope because so long had passed. That morning, of all mornings, I got a reply. They had accepted my story and wanted to publish it. I got my contract soon thereafter. Later, I just happened to check the reviews for an anthology one of my short stories had been published in late last summer. I don't even know what made me check, being that I hadn't checked the reviews more than a couple of times in all the months since the anthology was released. Guess what? There was a new review. Double guess what? The reviewer absolutely loved my story, saying he/she couldn't wait to see more from me. Later, on my Facebook author profile, I received an inbox from a large group who wanted to feature me as their author of the month in the next few months (I may be slotted for March or April, after my first self-published book gets released). I had 3 more major signs that Monday, for a total of 6, along with a ton of smaller signs. I don't think God could have answered my prayer any more loudly than that.
That Monday, I made the decision. I was going to take the risk and make writing my full-time job. Technically, I'm still unemployed because I'm not making an income, yet, but unofficially, I am just building my earning potential by treating my writing as I would any other job. I get up by 6:00 most mornings (although I was up at 4:30 today), and I put in at least 8 hours a day (usually 12-14) in some publishing capacity, whether I'm writing, researching, marketing, networking, or investigating the world of self-publishing.
I have created a business plan, tools to track my progress, a schedule to keep me on track, and I minimize distractions by limiting how much time I am on Facebook or other Internet sites to less than two hours a day. I figure if I was working in an office, I wouldn't be allowed to be on Facebook or playing games, why should I do that stuff just because I'm my own boss?
They say if you want to make it as a writer, you have to have a solid work ethic and treat it like a business - like it's your job. Well, I'm doing that. That decision three weeks ago changed me. I have purpose now. I have goals. I have a freaking business plan! LOL. I can't remember the last time I was this happy with my job. Well, I did have one job that I did thoroughly enjoy. I'd work for that boss again any day, even if I am writing. (Thanks JR). But besides that job, this one is the best I've ever had.
Thank you, God.