A few weeks ago, I made a big decision. Huge. It had been bubbling and brewing for quite some time in the back of my mind. I quit my day job to focus on writing. Gasp!
This is not to imply that I am in any way rich, or swanning about in a gold-plated bikini on a yacht, eating oysters and guzzling champagne. Nope. The husband and I have been working our behinds off for years to pay off our mortgage (done!) and we have enough money set aside to not freak out about minor set-backs such as kids needing dental work. We do, however, now need to rely on one main income and probably don’t have the cash to splash around on big holidays and stuff. And things.
I’ve been working for the same organisation for 10 years, and it struck me as a bit of a milestone. In much the same way that the big number 4-0 loomed at me a couple of years ago. That’s when I decided to get serious about fiction writing. For the 10 year work-a-versary, I thought, seriously, about how long I really wanted to stay and do the same thing.
I’ve had a long-winded career as a communications specialist and sometime marketing communications consultant. I know stuff about things, related to content writing, editing, PR, website structure, direct mail and print publications. Stuff. And things.
I know a lot about some of those things. Probably too much. It was time for a change, a fresh challenge and something to sink my teeth into. If I wasn’t going to do it in my forties, when would I?
So without further faffing about, here is my list of 6 reasons I quit my day job to focus on writing.
- Writing is fun. This might sound unimportant, but really it’s a BIG THING. I can’t tell you how many times someone at work had said, “that’s a big sigh”. I didn’t even realise all the air gushing was happening. Not a good sign.
- Money isn’t everything. Sure, it’s a big thing. But if I really wanted a six-figure salary and a team of people reporting to me, I could have had that a few years ago. I turned it down then, with good reason. I needed more time for my family, and that reason is as true now as it was then. We’ve been managing fine with an average income, not a super-stellar income.
- Work-work was killing my writing-work. This will be familiar to people with ‘brain jobs’. It would be easier to do something completely unrelated to writing at my day job, than to try to switch from dull corporate-speak writing to creative, descriptive writing. Pared-down technical or explanatory content and light and funny romance novels don’t really mix.
- I want to give writing a proper crack. By this I mean, I want to focus on it, complete a couple of manuscripts that have been hanging around for a year or so, and see what I can achieve. My debut novel, Girl on a Plane, is coming out in July, but I want to complete some other stories too!
- I love learning new things. Seriously, who learns all about writing a novel, social media and the ins and outs of the publishing industry in two years? I do! I love the challenge, and after working in one place and one industry for a long time, this part of my mind was crying out for something new.
- Commuting sucks! This is another reason that may sound silly, but each workday I was spending three hours in commuting time on overcrowded trains and dropping off kids at two different childcare locations. Over the course of a year, this was time-suckage on a major scale. I couldn’t get much writing done, because of the driving and then train-surfing (standing up, squished against other commuter-plebs). Now my kid drop-offs are much quicker and I’m straight back home to a quiet house to write.
So, long story short, I quit. Now I’m at home, trying to find a new routine defined by my own goals and timelines around my family life.
Was it a good decision, you may ask? So far, yes. It’s only been a couple of weeks, but I’ve written close to 11,000 words and my stress levels are much lower. The lack of money thing hasn’t reared it’s ugly head yet though…ask me in a few months.
By the way, if anyone wants to give me a gold-plated bikini or a yacht, I’ll be happy to acknowledge you in my next book. You can even be an international playboy or undercover princess/spy if you like.
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