As a writer, we have to make leaps of faith on a daily basis. Be it for a story line we have developed, dropping a character into a scene that might not work out, a title, a book cover, a blurb for a book…the list of leaps goes on and on. But there is one leap of faith we must eventually take that make them all pale in comparison.
That leap of faith I am speaking of is that one leap we must eventually make if we are to take being a writer to the “next level”. I am referring to (insert tense, build-up music)…
Quitting the day job!
(fade out creepy music)
That’s right. Every writer I know hopes and longs to get to that point where they can quit their day job and concentrate on their one true artistic passion – writing. But until recently that seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream for many of us. The ever-elusive publisher contract and/or agency representation seemed to never coalesce, so the prospect seemed to be so out of reach the dream faded over the years.
But along comes the ebook, and now any of us could make that dream come true. With the ability to self-publish, and get a higher percentage for royalties, even publishing at .99 or 2.99 means anyone who works hard enough (at craft and publicity) can make a living as a writer.
Of course there is one, big, screaming issue that everyone fears.
That constant, reliable pay check.
I actually make more money as a writer than I do my “day job”. But we all know that income from writing can fluctuate (or even dry up). Because of that I have hesitated on pulling the trigger with that day job. The challenges of this are multi-layered and dangerous.
- The longer you remain at your day job, the harder it is to dedicate to really cranking up the output.
- The sooner you leave your day job, the sooner the panic of not having that steady check coming in will hit you.
- The longer you remain at your day job, the more you resent your day job.
- The more you resent your day job, the poorer employee you are.
I want to stop right there. Why? Simple. If you are anything like me, you are NOT an employee. I have found, in this horribly hectic modern world, there are two types of adults: employees and non-employees.
- Employees are those that can work the proverbial 9-5 their entire life and never look back.
- Non-employees are those that feel the proverbial 9-5 a soul-crushing, energy wasting existence and are better off pursuing interests that not only keep them in food and shelter, but keep them alive in spirit.
Being the latter type is such a challenge. This is made especially so when you have a family to support. But the artistic soul is not a power to be ignore and when you do ignore it things go downhill quickly. Relationships are strained, your health goes to pot, your ambition dries up…the list goes on and on.
When I retired from theatre I knew I had to have something to focus my artistic needs on. Fortunately I came into writing fairly easily. I have spent the better part of a decade doing technical writing for various websites. That writing has been very successful to date. And now that my books are about to hit the ebook shelves, I have every bit of confidence they will enjoy success as well.
My time is coming. I have a plan. It’s a frightening plan because it requires a huge leap of faith for me. Am I ready? I don’t know, but soon enough I will find out. The day job will go bye-bye. I will cut the chains that bind me to the machine so I my soul can breathe again and my writing become the focus of my professional life.
But that leap of faith is across a vast chasm. And that first step is definitely a doozy! Hold your breath, here we go!