“Someone must have really believed in you.”
I was at a family reunion this summer when one of my relatives said this to me.
We were talking about writing and how ten months ago I quit my stable corporate career to become a full-time writer.
A fellow creative, my relative said he understood how hard of a decision that must have been and how, in order to make it, someone must have had a lot of confidence in my writing abilities.
I thought back to on my choice and realized he was absolutely right.
A year ago, when I was struggling to find time to write amidst 12–14-hour work days, I called my writing mentor. I was talking to her about the constant struggle to find time to work on my novels and she asked me a shocking question: “Why don’t you quit?”
After a stunned moment of silence, I responded. “I don’t know.”
Up until that point in my career, it wasn’t financially viable for me to quit. But now…
“Do you think I should?” I asked. Aka, am I crazy, am I good enough, is it worth my time, do you think this will go anywhere?
My mentor responded: “Yes. Do it.”
So I prayed about it. I talked to my husband, other mentors, family and friends about it. Almost everyone said the same thing—now is the time, go for it. As one of my brother’s said;
“You can try it, and if it’s not for you, corporate America will always be there. But if you don’t try it, you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering what would have happened.”
Because I don’t want to live with regrets, or let fear stop me, and because becoming an author has been my passion and dream since high school, I made my decision. One month later, I was meeting with HR and signing my resignation paperwork with shaky hands.
If it hadn’t been for my mentor who had the faith in me to even suggest I leave my job, I probably wouldn’t have ever thought to do it. And if it hadn’t been for the confidence of my family and friends, I probably wouldn’t have followed through with it. The writing life is hard, I won’t sugar coat it. We need people to come around us and encourage us.
In my corporate experience, I’ve worked some insane hours, sometimes in my second language. I’ve had to give last minute presentations to top executives, run meetings where zoom wasn’t corporation, take over jobs for three individuals and do them all at once. I’ve even worked immediately after major surgery and had to cut back on all my pain meds so I’d be lucid enough to function. That was painful. And those are just a few of my roles.
Basically, I’ve done some really hard things over my six years of work in corporate. But none of it compares to writing. Writing is by far the hardest job I’ve ever done.
It’s hard because there’s no milestones, KPIs, quarterly check in, or clear ROI. Metrics are hard to set and harder to track. There is no objective standard of good for a book. What one reader might think is a brilliant story, the next person might hate.
It’s so subjective. And when you’re working on a book and it just isn’t quite working, you can’t just google the answer, form a project plan, task force, or talk to industry expert to get the answer. Often times, you’re on your own.
Creative endeavors are hard.
Don’t get me wrong, they’re also a blast. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to spend every day writing. But that doesn’t make it easy. Writing is not for the faint of heart.
It took my mentor and the people around me having faith in me for me to even consider doing it full time.
Thank you Nova McBee, Robinson clan, James, and Hilary. Thank you for believing in me.
Who do you have in your life who believes in you?