I’m often asked how I got where I am—doing what I love and getting paid for it. I didn’t go about it in the traditional way, and I suppose that’s a big reason I’ve started this blog.
I came by success through hard work, drive, inspiration and true bliss. Yes, hard work and bliss can be in the same sentence—when the “work” is something you care about and when you’re inspired by the knowledge that success is certain, not merely possible.
It sounds corny, but it’s true. And the reason I’m sharing this is that I believe you can have it too.
When I first realized it wasn’t too late to “become a writer”, I was working at a personal injury law firm doing uninspired work. It paid okay and I was good at it, but I didn’t feel valued or engaged because I really didn’t care. It wasn’t the right place for me. I dreaded work, maxed out sick time, and would sit at my desk playing around on the Internet. Sound familiar?
It was in this time-wasting that I realized mediocre writers were being paid to create content for websites. And if my high school and college instructors were telling me the truth, I was better than mediocre.
I took on a writing job. It paid crap. But it was my first foray into professional writing. Just a few months later, I would walk out of that job with no notice and no guarantee of the next gig. But I walked out of there so inspired, I was convinced I couldn’t fail.
Side note: I don’t recommend you leaving your job without a solid plan. And just in case you one day need to re-enter the workforce, I don’t recommend you leave without giving some sort of notice. In hindsight: it was unprofessional and slightly selfish. While I can justify the selfishness (sometimes it’s necessary and okay to put yourself before all others), I suppose it could have been handled better.
But at the time…you couldn’t tell me nothing! I was stepping into the life of a professional writer!
Fast forward a few months, and then a few years, where I would spend hours trying to find work and coming up short for my mortgage at the first of the month, and my inspiration and fearless excitement would be tested.
And it would be tested again and again.
Now, some seven years later, it’s still tested from time to time. As a writer, it’s tested every time I make a mistake (they happen!) or read comments from Internet trolls. As an entrepreneur, it’s tested when I second guess my business choices.
But regardless of the situation, I never wonder what would have happened if…
When I walked out of that law firm, part of me was scared to death. But, I knew that by jumping off the cliff, I would either land flat on the hard ground below, or I would learn to fly.
Thank goodness it was the latter.