It took me years to begin to write seriously and many more years to find the type of writing that truly made me happy. For a long time, I thought that waiting so long to make my dream come true was a bad thing. Now, with the wisdom that comes with maturity, I realize that I just didn’t have that much to say early on.
In 2004, instead of looking for a job in my old career path that had lead me to making over $100K annually, I took a reporter’s position for $10 an hour. Really! I decided that I would finally commit to writing for a living no matter what it took. That led to a job a year later as the editor of another small paper – also pretty low pay.
What did I get out of taking what seemed like a step backwards to almost everyone I knew? I learned who I was as a writer. I found out I can write great editorials. I found out that I’m pretty prolific – at about 1000 words an hour. I found out I didn’t want to be a reporter anymore. Or an editor.
The next job I took, the one I currently have, I took on the theory that it was less stressful than management or the news biz, and I would therefore have more energy to write when I got home. Well…not so much. But in the past three years, I have finished two books. One I shelved voluntarily, because I just didn’t like the main character and the other, Red Mojo Mama, was a delight to write.
I fell in love with my main character, Lydia “Red” Talbot. She became so real to me that now I blog with her as my verbal sparing partner. She does the things I cannot do. She is the person I’m striving to be.
So, now, I’m a struggling writer with no retirement plan and an eye out for a more creative job. (No worries, my boss knows.) Would I change anything? Would I go back to the higher paying job? What about the powerful position of editor?
Straight up? No way. I’d rather be poor(ish because I know I’m not poor compared to so many others) than to not have pursued my dream. I have faith that someday, my books (two more in the works right now) will be bought and read. It’s actually more important to me that they are read. I want the world to know my characters. I want them to come alive.
So, if I had one piece of advice for other writers – anyone really – it would be FOLLOW YOUR DREAM. It’s really the only way to go.
What is your dream? What have you done to pursue it?
Buy “Red Mojo Mama” here!