Working as a "full time" writer for the last seven months has been interesting. I've learned a lot, both about myself and about what needs to happen. So here is the first of my list of "lessons learned" from the last half year.
#1 Be Prepared
After working for ten years at one company, I had a dream. I don't remember the details of the dream, but I woke up in a cold sweat, panicked because I knew I had to quit my job and write.
This has been a dream for most of my life, but it's been a “future” dream, something to look forward to when my job was unbearable or my family life was hectic.
I think everybody has goals that they never really expect to attain, things that are on the list but keep moving to the bottom for one reason or another. Being a professional writer was one of those dreams for me.
I love writing. It's the one obsession that has never faded, even while I ran through cheese making, tatting (that's lace, by the way), electronic toys, hydroponic gardening and probably at least a hundred other short-lived hobbies. I'm nothing if not versatile.
I woke up that morning knowing that this “someday” dream had moved to the top. Irrevocably.
The panic came because I want, and need, stability. For ten years my job had been my focus, the center around which my life revolved. And while I spent most of my free time (lunches, breaks) writing, it was the job that supported the structure.
I made sure that it didn't overtake my life completely; I left work at work when I went home and didn't let it interfere with family or church, but it was the most stable thing in my life. It allowed for the hobbies, the writing, the dancing, it allowed me to give to others and provided me (oddly enough) the freedom to play.
The ego boost of being needed was nice, too.
When the dream hit it was totally out of the blue, unexpected in the way that a snowstorm is unexpected in August in Death Valley. As the flakes hit your face you just shake your head and hope the whole world still exists when you leave.
I spent the next year panicking, and I built as much of a foundation on that panic as I ever did on the reality of work. No health insurance? Help! No income! NOOOOOO!! I can't I can't I can't I cant...
I spent way too much time and energy during that year resisting the idea. I knew without question that it was necessary, that this was the next step for me, but my brain took the reality and ran away to hide.
I did spend that year building up my savings, making sure I would be ready. Honestly, I thought it would be someone else's action that would precipitate it.
I was wrong.
Lessons Learned #2