Finding My Way as a Writer
I recently had a bad day at work. The kind of day where I sat in my car, sobbing, calling people to see if it was rational to walk away from my job.
I ended up walking back in. But my job is miserable. I now have to punch in and out with a time clock. I feel the building is unsafe, and while I can usually handle my workload, my job is not fulfilling.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been so stressed that I came home and couldn’t focus on my writing or homework. I fell behind, significantly. And that’s not what I want in my life.
What really gutted me is looking at my old novels. Someone asked how my novels are going, and I checked on some of them. I had to move the files from a thumb drive to my new computer, and then was devastated to see that I hadn’t worked on some of them in years.
Where did the time go?
For most of my life, I’ve wanted to make the jump to writing full time. My life, my career, on my own terms. Most of the time, that also seems really scary. I’d have to get my own health insurance. There are no paid vacation days or sick leave.
Still, I would love to quit and not have to deal with commutes, sitting in a cubicle, and working at someone else’s beck and call. I’m not at the point now where I can support myself solely on my writing. But I think I can be soon.
There’s a quote I read recently: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
It was spoken by Émile Coué, but when I read it, I hear my grandmother’s voice. She told it to me all the time when I was growing up. She believed in the power of positive thought: If you think it, you can do it.
For example, if you train for a race, you need to not only work on your speed, but visualize yourself take off running, and passing the finish line in first place. Believe it, and then you can do it.
As a kid, I didn’t put much stock in it. Now, of course, with mindfulness becoming more popular, I see the wisdom in her words. But the thing is, to improve every day, you have to keep trying. I can’t put my writing in a box in a dark closet, and expect it to get better. I have to put in the work, every day, and in every way.
I decided I’m going to apply for different jobs and do more writing. It’s what I need, both for my mental health and personal goals. I’ll probably lose some money at first, but hopefully I can do what I love.
Striking out on your own is not like following a treasure map and digging for gold, where X marks the spot. It’s venturing out into the ocean on a raft, not knowing what storms you’re going to encounter, but knowing there’s no turning back.
It would be safer to stay on the land, but it’s not going to take me where I want to go.