Today’s post is part of Indie Life, a blog hop for independent authors hosted by the Indelibles. Click here to see a list of participating blogs.
* * *
A few months ago, I took a leap of faith, quitting my full time job in favor of a part time position. My goal was to spend more time writing and start to become a true career author. I still have a long way to go on this journey, but here are some of the things I’ve learned so far:
- This is my destiny. I had my doubts at first. Some well-meaning people tried to convince me not to do this, and I shared their concerns. But I am now convinced that this is what I am meant to be doing, and though I still have some big obstacles ahead of me, I have faith that somehow things are going to work.
- The double rule: a fellow writer, someone much farther along this journey than I, once told me that whatever amount of time you think it will take you to write something, it will actually take twice as long. He was right, and I now call this the double rule.
- The excuses rule: you can always find an excuse not to write. Something’s happening with the family. Something’s wrong with the dog, cat, or goldfish. All the food in the refrigerator needs to be arranged in alphabetical order. The excuses rule is that, no matter what emergency (or so-called emergency) is going on, I have to keep writing. In other words, there are no excuses.
- You can’t do this without some financial preparedness. I did not abruptly storm into my boss’s office one day and quit. I created a savings account, built it up over the course of several years until I had enough money to live on for roughly 18 months. Then I quit my job. Having that money set aside gives me the confidence to keep writing and keep dreaming, knowing that I will not end up homeless and destitute, begging for scraps of food outside the local McDonald’s.
- Anyone can find a way to follow their dreams. Regardless of your situation, you can find a way to make this work. It just takes time, discipline, and perhaps a little creative thinking.
- Hire a professional editor. This part frightened me, putting my beautiful manuscript into the hands of an editor and getting it back covered in red ink, but I didn’t need to be afraid. An editor’s job isn’t merely to point out your mistakes but to help you tell the best story you can. When I finally started working with an editor, it was the first time that I didn’t feel like I was all alone on this journey.
- The education rule: I once believed that I shouldn’t take this step until I’m “ready,” until I “know everything I need to know.” That’s ridiculous. The life of the writer, indie or otherwise, is all about asking questions and learning more. The most important thing I’ve learned is that I still have a lot to learn, and I always will.
So, my fellow Indie Lifers, what have you learned since going Indie?