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October 11, 2012
Long time visitor/reader, first time poster from The Great White North (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada).
I'm looking forward to learning all I can from everyone here while forging friendships along the way.
I've always wanted to write professionally but never knew where to start. I'm officially out on 'that ledge' and trying not to look down as I begin the journey of what I hope will be a long, fun and very satisfying career as a professional writer.
My only question at this time is this:
How in the world do you convince the people around you that this is what I want to do and need to do in order to be myself?I'm a natural communicator, teacher, pragmatic thinker, fairly decent writer(I think) and way too creative to be working for someone else. I'm don't have a fear of failing but rather a fear of living a life that truly isn't mine.
Any thoughts, comments, suggestions on how to make the transition easier on my support network would be GREATLY appreciated.
February 11, 2010
I moved your introductory post to its own thread so it didn't get lost in another member's.
First of all, let me welcome you to the forum!
Now for your question….
Dealing with people around you who just don't get it is a fact of life for many freelancers. And in most cases they mean well. Your family, for example, doesn't want you to struggle financially. And that's something many people associate with creative jobs.
That didn't change for me with one of the closest members of my family until the financial side of it set in. They were in a bad living situation and needed to move. But they told me they couldn't afford the initial deposit (a four figure amount) on the apartment they were otherwise approved for, so they were going to have to stay put (not a good idea). They didn't ask me for money. They probably never would have guessed I had anything to loan them. But I did. I walked into the other room and brought back a huge wad of cash. I handed it over and told them to just pay it back whenever they could -- no rush. (And they did.) That's what it took for them to realize that writing wasn't just a hobby. It was a career choice. And it could be a damn good one.
Most members of my family didn't give me grief. And friends understood the creative side of things, so that made life easier. Even my husband is amazingly supportive. I can't imagine what it would be like to have most people not understand. But if that's the case, the best advice I can give is to either explain what you do to them a bit better or show them something tangible -- a paycheck, a great byline, etc. The former is easier for some types of writing than others of course -- explaining that corporations need writers vs writing fiction for example.
Best of luck with it. And in the meantime, just keep building your network with other writers. They understand what you're going through, and they won't question your desire to write.
October 11, 2012
Thanks for having me.
As I had mentioned, I've been wanting to do this for the longest time. I've had a "few" pieces published locally and submitted the odd letter to the editor but never knew I could actually make this my profession. My first article was published locally and my dad, who reads the news paper voraciously every morning (and thinks if it's been printed, it's law) read my piece and called all of his friends to brag. I have to admit that seeing my name in print was like a moment of clarity. I knew I could do this as a profession. That was back in 2004.
As an old soul-man, I did the 'Hunt" for information, gathering as much as I could about freelancing, the craft and and the industry. In fact, gathering so much information has led me to contract a condition which I like to call "information constipation". I became obsessed with getting to know the industry so I could give myself the best possible chance of succeeding. But I forgot about the one thing the industry needs and that's the writing. I stopped writing.
Fast forward 3 years and I was writing again but not with any regularity. I rifled off the odd letter to the editor and they were published but I was torn. Torn between applying the information and taking the next step into writing for a living or just making a living. I had just been laid off from a job and I should have seized the opportunity then but I didn't. I panicked and applied for other work. While in an interview for another position, the interviewer asked me the "what do you want to be doing in 5 years" question. Without hesitation, I blurted "I want to be a writer". He was probably expecting some cookie cutter answer most would give about longevity, stability etc. He hired me on the spot. The job was incredibly stressful. I was there when the recession was just starting and should have been thankful to even be working but I wasn't grateful at all. I wanted to be out on my own writing.
Be careful what you wish for. I was let go as the recession hit it's full stride. Didn't qualify for benefits. It's been almost 4 years and I'm tired of just working to survive. Job hopping is growing more tiresome than actually working.
I'm confident I can make a go of it with my writing. I've seen evidence that my writing is good enough. So with all of my information and my little bit of talent, I'm taking this on full time and hoping to never look back.
I kind of figured I would have to prove my talent/value to those around me with either a paycheck, a byline or a huge 'wad' of cash as you had done. (funny how we always ask questions with an answer already in mind) LOL
Thanks for the response Jennifer. I'm excited to be in this community mingling with like minded people.
June 15, 2011
Hi Michael and welcome to the Forum!
I can relate to your story in many ways. I spent 30+ years in the Corporate world. I always wrote and managed to integrate it into my work (marketing, newsletters, proposals, etc.) Like you, I researched freelancing to the point of paralysis.
My job was full of ridiculously long hours, stress. and had become a major factor in my poor health. One day I was frantically working on a client project that had to get to the printer so they would have it in the morning when my boss and a room full of executives insisted I drop what I was doing and join them in a meeting that could wait. They refused to adjust to the looming deadline on what was one of our biggest clients. I slammed the phone down on the conference room of executives and after the meeting stayed until 10 PM that night to finish the job. After that I sent my resignation.
I was not proud of how it went down (a product of my stress) and fortunately my boss was understanding. That was in 2008 and I have never looked back. It hasn't always been easy, but every year has gotten better and I am in the best health I've been in for years (except for some lousy eyesight).
The Just Do It philosophy resonates. You've come to a great place. Jenn has a wealth of information to share and is generous in her support. I wish you much success and happiness in your new career.
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