Since I was a kid, I have wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write books and see my name in print. So I wrote stories and I read a lot of books and I dreamed about the day that I would write my own.
As these things have a way of happening, I grew up and I took a job. Of course, there aren’t really any companies that pay people to write novels, so needless to say, I wasn’t fulfilling my dream. But I had bills to pay and I was getting a steady paycheck. I was afraid to quit my job and give that up. After all, not very many writers actually make it. Why did I think I could be one of them?
Then I had a baby. I definitely couldn’t quit my job then. I needed a steady income to take care of her. I also couldn’t work on my writing after hours since I spent all the free time that I had taking care of her and being with her.
Fortunately, the universe forced me to make the decision that I couldn’t — or at least my boss did: I lost my job. At the time, I was devastated. I had never lost a job before and I didn’t know what I was going to do. Over the next few days, I thought long and hard about what I was going to do, and eventually, I decided that I was going to take advantage of this opportunity and focus on what I really wanted to do: Write. Not only would it make me a happier person, but it would provide my daughter with a model for how to be bold and go after her own dreams when she was older.
Here’s how I managed to pursue my dreams of becoming a writer despite my fears — and how you can, too:
I Focused on the Big Picture
The main thing that holds most of us back is fear — and that was certainly true for me. I feared failure. I feared financial insecurity. In some ways, I feared that all my dreams would come true and then I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.
In my case, the way I overcame this fear and decided to pursue my writing instead of just looking for another job was to think about what was really going to make me happy. I realized that not only was I going to live a better life by pursuing my dreams, but I was going to show my daughter how she herself could grow up to live a happy life in which she was engaged by the work she was doing or any other activities she decided to pursue. My happiness and my daughter’s future happiness became the most important goals for me.
I Found Ways to Provide for Myself
It can take years to finish a novel, get an agent, find a publisher to accept it and finally see it published. But until you actually start selling books (or get a publisher who’s willing to give you a big advance), you aren’t going to see a dime. That meant that if I wanted to pursue my dreams of writing and still provide for my family, I had to find some alternative work. But I didn’t want to get sucked back into the 9-to-5 routine and spending most of my days focused on making money instead of concentrating on my writing.
Instead, I found a compromise. I started to work as a freelance writer, which allowed me to keep my writing skills sharp while also making money. I focused on doing just enough freelance work to pay the bills while also leaving enough time each day to work on my personal writing.
I Stayed on Target
Doubt seems to be inevitable. For me, it usually happened when work was light one week and I wasn’t making the money I needed to make. Sure, I had more time for my fiction, but I also had less money in my bank account. It was during those times that I had to focus on what I was trying to accomplish. Instead of becoming panicked and starting to look for more work, I gave more of my focus to my fiction and got in touch with the reasons that I was doing what I was doing.
When doubts strike, I just try to focus on why I’m doing what I’m doing. If I allow myself to become distracted or to return to my old routines, I know I will never achieve what I want to achieve.
It’s time to get back in touch with what it was you always wanted to do with your life. Figure out what it is will really make you happy — and then make it happen.
Are you living the life you’ve always wanted? What needs to change to make it happen? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Amber Satka primarily writes on financial topics, many of which can be found on her app site at www.carloancalculator.org. She is a former office manager and current mother and writer. Her leisure activities include bike riding and spending way too much time on Pinterest.