The kick in the butt that got me writing for real

I wrote for years, with the idea of being a published author being a dream in the back of my mind.

Like anyone else, it was the dream I held close when I hated my job, or when my marriage was falling apart, or I was scared for the third time that month that I might lose my job when I had to call in sick because my kid was throwing up. The thought that “maybe someday I can work from home as a writer and not have to deal with this anymore” was what got me through.

But I never really went for it. I wrote part time – or rather, in my spare time. I did it for fun, always telling myself that someday I’d do it. Someday. Always someday, never today.

Then I lose my job. The economy started to go to crap and my entire location’s office was shut down. We had 2 choices: be laid off, or move to Atlanta. I couldn’t take my kids and move over 8 hours away from my nearest family. I couldn’t take the kids from their grandparents like that. So I had to choose to be laid off. I figured I’d find another job quickly. But I didn’t.

What did happen was I broke my ankle. Severely broke it. I’ll give you the story on that in another blog post (it’s rather funny now, although not so much at the time!), but long story short, it was a good 4 months before I was released to work again. Add to that the time before I broke my ankle that I was out of work, and that was quite a gap on my resume. Combine that gap with the fact that there were limited jobs, and I was pretty well screwed.

I found out about Examiner.com and Yahoo! Voices (at that time called Associated Content) through an online friend and decided it couldn’t hurt. I figured, if nothing else, at least it would give me a little gas money or something. The pay was not the greatest, not by a long shot, but it was a little something.

Then I was homeschooling my kids. I was still working on the novel idea, determined that “someday” I would publish it. But writing those articles turned out to be way more time consuming than I’d anticipated. Between research and writing articles, and homeschooling my kids, I had little time to focus on my novel.

I reached a point where something had to go. Giving up on my children’s education was simply not an option. That left me with two choices: give up on my dream or chase my dream with everything I had.

I was lucky to have incredibly supportive parents who told me to go for it. I realized that I was literally at the point where I had nothing to lose. I really didn’t. The only thing left to lose was my dream – and what was the point of holding onto it if I was never going to try?

Plus, the truth was, I’d reached a point where dreaming about it was getting to be kind of depressing. It seemed to be taunting me rather than tantalizing me. So, I decided to go for broke. I gave up Examiner.com and Yahoo! Voices, giving up the minimal income I was getting from them. I focused all my attention on homeschooling my kids and writing my novel.

And now, here I am. I have 2 books published, and will be releasing my second novel in January. I’m also working on a Christmas/New Year’s themed novella I hope to publish toward the end of November.

Sometimes we hold onto our dreams because we’re afraid of what might happen if we try. We’re afraid that if we fail, we’ll have nothing left to hold on to. I know that was certainly true for me. But when I reached the point where I had nothing left but my draem, it seemed silly to keep holding on for fear of what might happen. If I lose it, what did it really matter? I’d already lost everything else.

Maybe you’ve been holding on to some dream, telling yourself and others that you’ll do it “someday.” If you have, please listen to me: stop holding on to it and go after it. Now that I’ve done it, I truly don’t know why I waited so long. Is it exactly what I always dreamed it would be? Of course not. But I’ve done it. I’ve achieved it. I’ve faced the fear of what might happen, and found that living my dream is so much better than holding on to it as a “someday” fantasy.

Don’t wait. Life is only so long – and once it’s gone, you’re done. You can’t go back and do things differently. Pull out your dream, dust it off and go after it. Whether it’s a dream career, travel, or even just a hobby you’d like to explore more deeply, do it! Don’t put it off anymore.