Releasing the Safety Line #writerlife #misconceptions

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*Deep breath, brushing nervous hands over jeans* I don’t normally make a deliberate decision to step into hot topics. Like many, I was warned to avoid topics of politics, religion, and sex if I wanted to escape social interactions unscathed. Being fairly open-minded, I tend to keep my opinions on heavily discussed topics (of which I have many), to myself. So far I’ve done pretty good. Today, I’m going to skirt that edge because there is a misconception out there which has found a way to burrow under my mental skin, causing cuts of self-doubt.

Insecurity exists in each of us, there is no way to avoid it. It helps drive us up and over hurdles plunked in front of us by a merciless hand of Fate. It’s the crux of determination, without it you wouldn’t push yourself to accomplish what others tell you can’t be done.

I am not exempt. At all.

I’ve been seeing a huge discussion rise about writers, specifically women writers, following a “hobby” with their chosen career path, because their big, manly husbands are carrying their family’s financial security.

*honestly stunned* What the hell, peeps?

Not the manly husband aspect (mine fits), but carrying our families’ financial security because “we want to indulge in a hobby”? Are they really that uninformed? Granted, the biggest crock came out of a mouth use to causing issues, but much like when you’re on a diet and suddenly everyone’s eating chocolate, the echoes of this nonsense kept getting my attention.

Writing is not easy. It is not a hobby. It is a CAREER. It is WORK. Writers–female or male–don’t make writing their career lightly. They’re the brave ones, the ones to be lauded for their courage. Even their families deserve a round of applause. It’s just as hard to give the one you love a chance to rise or fall on their own, while your family is buckled in for the ride.

I’ve spent the last twenty plus years in the corporate hamster wheel, where 60-70 hour weeks were the norm, office politics were trickier than a seeded minefield, and game playing was a necessary survival skill. While I danced my way through, I decided to replenish my soul with something that was solely mine, my writing. In 2011 I published my first novel, and by the end of this year I’m hoping to have my sixth out. By no means has my writing come close to replacing my “professional” job, but the dream existed. However, so long as I had the security of being able to be an equal partner with my Knight in our family finances, I wasn’t inclined to give up the “professional” aspect.

Until I was politely laid-off after 18 years of service, and came to the realization I no longer wanted to put that much effort into something or someone who could give a crap less.

My Knight, being the manly man he is, sat down with me and we began to talk. We discussed our finances, our family, our boys, our goals, and then my brilliant beloved said, “We have a little bit of breathing room. What do you want to do that will make you happy?”

I opened my mouth to answer, “Write”, only to close it. I was already writing, being laid-off wouldn’t change that, and like most writers, I know that sales don’t magically appear on your doorstep with an oversized check. Writing is work, but the rewards take time–marathon vs. sprint, peeps.

Which meant I needed something else, another avenue to generate an income. Not equal to what I was making, but enough to live. So, I turned to a lifelong passion I’d just begun to indulge in–editing. Freelance editing, to be exact. Discussions abounded, a partnership struck, a business plan developed, a marketing strategy set in place, and I unhooked the safety line of a guaranteed paycheck and leapt into the wild unknown.

Am I scared? Oh, hell yeah, I’m shaking in my damn shoes. Success, or failure, is all on me, no big bad to point fingers at later, just little ol’ me.

Not to say I’m putting all my eggs in one basket, I have a deadline for determining if this will work or not. In the meantime, I’m passing around my “professional” resume.

Am I relying on my husband’s financial contributions for our family? No more than I was when I had a scheduled paycheck coming in, but we both know the ROI (return on investment) won’t show for the next few months.

Doesn’t mean in the darkest hours of night, while I’m staring at the shadow covered ceiling unable to sleep, I’m doubting myself and my choices. I’m haunted by the nasty voice of my insecurities who mutter, “Do you have the right to take this risk?” or even worse, “You think this is a job? You’ve been writing for years, look how much that’s gotten you. What makes this different?”

As they laughingly circle, there’s a kernel of furious determination fighting back.

Yeah, I do deserve the chance to find out if I can do it on my own. If I’m going to put 70 plus hours in a week, it’ll be because it’s for me, my company. You try to tell me something can’t be done (You’ll never get published–You’re too old to be adopted–Odds are against you having a normal, loving relationship–You can’t start a successful business after forty), and I’m going to shove your ass into a chair and say, “Watch me.”

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