About two years ago, I wrote a post about why I was not yet a full time writer (travel blogger).
I had said that “I do still have an office job, the one I call my ‘day job’, but I am not ashamed of it. In fact, I quite like what I do and because of that, I am good at what I do, and for that I want to continue to do.”
Well, guess what I’ve just done?
I handed in my notice at work last week, and today, they officially announced to the rest of my colleagues that I will be departing from my position, to pursue a dream of writing a book.
You did WHAT?
Hey, I am not the first, and certainly I will not be the last. I bet there is a small little dream, somewhere in your mind that you wished you had done some time in the past.
I had promised myself that I’d achieve something this year
Earlier this year, I shared my 2016 writing goals. Let’s re-cap what I wrote:
- Blog at least once a week: I kept it up for a while but I got lazy along the way. So I never kept this promise to myself for the entire year.
- Socialise with other writers more: This is one promise I actually kept. I started meeting up with two people I know from a previous writing course I did back in Australia, and we continued this meet up once every few months to talk about our successes and challenges. This has been one of the biggest motivation for my writing journey this year and I want to thank them for being there with me!
- Write 10,000 words towards my novel every month: Ah, now we are hitting the main topic of this post. Did I write anything towards my novel? Nope. Unfortunately, unlike blog posts and feature writing, a novel was something I simply didn’t have the energy for after my full time job. Yes, I know there has been stories of authors who wrote a novel during their lunch break or late into the night. As I said in point one: I got lazy. So, that meant so far, I’ve written about 2 words towards my novel!
- Get in the UK market: I want to think I achieved this goal. Earlier this year I took an assignment from BBC Storyworks for three pieces of custom content for a major hotel group. So technically, I broke into the UK market however, as it was a marketing copy, I didn’t get a byline for it. So that means I am still in the process of making a name of myself in the UK market! So, let’s say, I am taking small steps on this goal.
- Read War and Peace: Aha! Finally a goal I can say I completed. Yes, I did read War and Peace, and it was an incredibly awesome but painful 3 months of reading!
So, I quit to write (kind of)
Kind of? What kind of commitment is that?
I know. But hear me out.
I did quit. I handed in my notice last week, with full intention to take a few months to complete some of the above goals, including finishing off that novel.
As it turned out, my manager and my colleagues actually likes me! For a couple of days there were negotiations with offering me to take unpaid leave from the company just as a ‘backup’, with no commitment that I must return to my job at the end of this leave period as long as I give them sufficient notice.
It is flattering to know that I am valued for my work, that my departure will actually be felt, rather than simply just another employee leaving the room.
With their guarantee that I can choose whether I want to go back or not, I agreed to the unpaid leave.
You might think I am taking the coward way out, but to be honest, with or without this safety net, if you were serious enough to achieve a dream, you would want to achieve it either way right?
That’s where I am going with. I know I will have a guaranteed job if I choose to return. I know this means I can’t boast about the idea like every other writer/blogger out there that I’ve cut off from my professional life to seek an alternative lifestyle. My decision to take the leave option means, that I’ve minimised my own personal risk which make me less desirable as a writer to follow.
But hey, I didn’t pursue this dream to be popular, to be exotic as a writer. I am doing this because I want to. Even if this novel flops, I will know that I’ve at least tried!
What’s in store for me as a full time writer?
To be honest I can’t see my life changing all that much. I already spend a lot of my night and weekend times writing, what will change after my last day at my job, is that I will actually be spending my days planning and writing!
It’s a good thing. It means I will be blogging a lot, and with the end of the year coming up, you’ll sure be hearing a lot from me about winter travel, about Germany’s Christmas Markets and our exciting journey to Budapest, Bratislava and Prague coming up!
I am also going to do some serious pitching. Spend some time evaluating the market here in the UK, and revisit that goal of breaking into the publications here. I will never give up! And having a whole day to myself to concentrate on my writing career, let’s see how far I can go!
And of course, there’s the novel. There is a workshop in March for aspiring authors to meet potential publishers. The condition is that I need some kind of a draft of a book done to make attending the workshop worthwhile.
So, March is my deadline. I will work towards having at least 60% of the novel drafted to take along to this workshop, and see where it all takes me from there.
I know being a full time writer is not easy. And I know there is a chance it will all fail and I’ll return to my job with my tail between my legs. However, I will come away with this experience knowing that at least I’ve tried with no regrets!
Am I going to miss the money?
This is one of the main obstacles for anyone looking to start out something new.
What about the rent? What about our bills?
Am I going to be OK without a regular income?
And I will not lie: I will probably miss the money. It’s a good thing that we don’t live all that extravagantly!
Most of us like the comfort of having a regular, constant income. Trust me, as much as I am a risk taker, I too, also prefer to know that I have enough money to at least survive the next month, let alone, have extra money for all the life’s luxuries.
However, I’ve never let money hold me back from at least attempting to achieve a dream.
It’s not the first time I’ve “taken time out” to pursue something I want to do. Each time, I’ve taken the stab and each time it had worked out.
And yes, while I did always go back to a more traditional job (remember, I like my job!) I come away with the knowledge that I’ve at least done whatever I’ve set out to do.
Everyone worries about money.
While it’s not the source of happiness, money is unfortunately a necessary evil in today’s society. Even those people who tell you they don’t worry about the money, worry about money.
The difference is, while there are people out there who strive to make more money everyday, getting greedy with their fancy cars and a luxury house, there are the likes of us, who only just worry about having enough. And once we have enough, we are happy.
At the moment, I am happy. I’ve managed to save a bit of money on the side as a backup, but I want to believe that I am able to make some income with my feature writing while I get my book together.
And whether I go back to my job or not?
Well, we’ll just have to find out when the time comes!
What sort of risks have you taken in your life to achieve a dream? What scares you about your decisions? Comment below to share your experiences with us!