Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of the unknown. But isn't pushing through fear one of the ways we grow?
Here are the Cold, Hard Facts: I'm not making enough money, my kids needs always come first, and I have medical issues.
What this means is that I'm not succeeding in my endeavor to support myself through writing. Now, that's not to say I'm a "failure," as my ex-husband used to call me. It just means I need to adjust my planning.
I've had five clients this year, which isn't bad since it's all been "word of mouth." Still, we're just looking at a month of groceries, here. It helps a lot, don't get me wrong. But I'm still paying out an average of $1,500 a month from my savings. So I need a New Plan. I'm thinking of doing a May Promo. General one chapter critique (up to ten double-spaced 12-point font pages) for $25. My usual price is $30 an hour, so this could be a savings of up to $65. A query/cover letter critique: $10.
I'm also thinking of doing a "Swag Promotion" for my three Young Adult titles. I found an app online that I may try out that would help with promotion and tracking. Not mentioning the name of it here just yet...if I use it and like it, I'll write a whole column about it.
But here are issues I'm having regarding my career choice and its obstacles. First off, I have to have surgery soon. I see the surgeon next Wednesday so I will have more information on that coming up, but this already has my clock ticking the seconds until I'm incapacitated for a while.
Secondly, my children are messy. Like, horrifyingly, lazily messy. This comes to no shock for most parents, I'm sure, who are in the same boat with me, paddling as if it's life or death. But here's the rub: now I have ants. Broken rules (a.k.a no food in the bedroom) encourage creepy crawlers. So I am on my boys constantly to clean up after themselves, which sounds easier than it is. Children have a natural aversion to work. In between nagging, I spend hours cooking healthy meals to combat all the sugar and carbs they suck up into their little esophageal vacuums. The rest of the time I'm coaxing them outdoors to do this thing called "exercise," which seems to be in short supply these days.
Third, it's Spring. Which means...putting away all my winter garb and pulling out the summer clothes. In a tiny house like mine, storage means everything.
So why am I placing myself in this situation?
Excellent question! So glad you asked. Because I often need to be reminded. One major reason is my health. When I worked a desk job, I gained nearly fifteen pounds. That weight won't come off now. It's stuck like fatty glue. But now I have time to exercise and prepare healthier food, so at least I'm not still gaining five pounds a year. Bless you hard-working desk statues. I detest sitting for long periods of time, anyhow (I'm a very jittery person)...which makes it ironic that I'm a writer. But on my own terms I can get up and exercise for an hour or just walk around the block a few times. I have longer than thirty minutes to scarf down a lunch, and if I don't want to write that day because I don't feel well, I don't have to! Freedom is priceless. And sleep is a luxury few have.
Another reason is my kids. My youngest came out of the womb a difficult, moody child. Seriously. He gushed out of me, covered in goopy innards, looked at me and said, "This sucks." I earned the title "Saint" from my female friends thanks to a patience gleaned from years of working retail. When I went to work full time, his sullenness and anger grew into a snowball of ice shards. Now that I have more time to spend with him, he's less anxious and I've even heard a few chuckles, although he probably wouldn't admit it. My older son takes walks with me and explains what's going on in his life. He feels heard and loved, and that alone makes being around for him worth it. Both my kids are intelligent, creative people. And I'm not saying working parents don't have incredible kids (I was one, too, after all), but I'm able to spend a good amount of my day enjoying it.
One of the biggest factors for quitting my day job, however is because of my depression, as I've mentioned before. If I can't explore my creativity, I fall into a deep slump and the pity-party becomes out of hand. Despair hangs from the chandelier and frustration throws up in the sink. Nobody likes a sloppy funk.
And here's a little tidbit you probably don't know: my father inadvertently influenced me. I will share why in my next post. But this caused me to change my life around in a way that would permanently affect my future. So, I'm not about to set myself back again.
If you're reading this and considering going forward with your hopes and dreams, please be advised that success may not come swiftly. You'll need a Plan A. Then a Plan B. And possibly a Plan C and D. But failure isn't an option, either. Although it's looking like I will be finding a non-desk job this fall or winter if my money situation doesn't improve, at least I know I gave "quitting my day job" a whirl. And maybe it's the kick in the pants I needed to keep going. So nope, no failing here. It's all a win-win.