How I Made the Leap to Become a Full Time Writer
If your dream is to become a writer, and you’ve been talking to people about it, then no doubt you’ve heard that making money from writing is impossible.
Let me tell you something from experience – it is entirely possible to make money from writing. I’ve said this before, and people who know me are probably sick to death of hearing it, but I’ll say it again because it’s true:
The people who say it’s impossible to make money from writing are the people who didn’t try hard enough.
Being a writer had always been a dream of mine, but up until around three years ago, that’s all it was. It was one of those things you say you want to do, but don’t actually do anything about. And then, on a whim, I started a blog and everything changed.
I loved blogging, I still do, but I still wanted more. I wanted to write novels, short stories, maybe even the odd poem, and the dream that had burned within me for all of those years slowly started to become a reality as I wrote my first short story collection and then my first novel.
They were soon followed by another novel, a short story collection and a collection of funny poems. I now have four novels, three short story collections, the poetry collection I mentioned above and three non-fiction books available. And a whole host of ideas for more.
For the first year of writing my blog and books, I also had a full time job. I was the relief manager in a club, and while I didn’t hate the job, it didn’t inspire me to leap out of bed on a morning like writing did, and I began to think seriously about making writing a full time career.
I began looking into freelance writing and ghost writing and within a couple of weeks, I had several regular clients and I was getting approached by writers, publishers and website owners to write for them. Within around four months, I was making more money in my spare time from writing than I was from my actual job.
You see, I was lucky in a sense. I hadn’t told many people about my writing. Why? Well in the early days, saying I was writer when I was really only writing a blog was, in my mind, like saying you’re an actor when you haven’t actually been cast in anything.
And for that reason, no one told me making money from writing was impossible. It wasn’t until I was writing full time for more money than I’ve ever made in any other job that I discovered that the general consensus seems to be that this is impossible.
What made me make the leap from writing to top up my income, to leaving a safe job to pursue this crazy life? It was, by that point, the plan, but it was a long term plan, and then one day, one thought changed everything for me.
I had started ghost writing in June 2016. Once I realised the potential of it, I told myself that if I could make it work, I would leave my job in January 2017.
Around mid-September 2016, I realised that I was having to turn down well paid jobs because I couldn’t fit them in around working full time. And I really began to resent going to work for less money than I could have been making if I’d stayed home. But I was still apprehensive about going it alone.
I kept thinking to myself “but what if it doesn’t work out and I don’t make enough money to live on?”, “what if I have a bad month?”. So I continued working in a job I didn’t want while writing on the side.
And then one day in October 2016, I was at work on a quiet Tuesday afternoon and it suddenly hit me. The single thought that changed it all. I don’t know where the thought came from, but once I had it, I knew with an utter certainty that it was true:
If you don’t do this now, you never will.
I knew then that it was only self-doubt holding me back. I knew I could make a real living from this; I already was. And the only thing stopping me from making a lot more money was the fact that I had a full time job.
I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen right there and then and I worked out my finances. At that moment, I had enough savings that I could afford to go three months without making a single penny and be fine if it came to it. I had planned on having enough money to go six months, but that voice wasn’t having that.
If you don’t do this now, you never will. It was on a loop in my head.
I have always been one of those people that encourage others to live the life they want to live. And I knew I had to give myself that chance. The timeline I had set for myself and the target savings I had in mind were just ways to put off making the leap because it was a long way outside of my comfort zone.
Well, it was time to leave my comfort zone and start to really make the life I wanted for myself. And that’s what I did.
I went home and wrote my resignation letter and the next morning, on my day off, I went into work and handed that letter in.
I’ve never once regretted that decision. I am free to do the thing I love for a living and working rarely feels like a chore. Sure there are some days when I feel like I’d rather go off and do something that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a laptop, but who doesn’t feel that way about their job sometimes?
When I feel that way, if my deadlines allow it, I take the day off. If they don’t, then I suck it up and get on with it, reminding myself this is the life I chose. I find it a whole lot easier to be motivated to work when I’m doing it for me instead of to make a rich executive richer.
Are there bad months? Sure. But in two years, I’ve never had to dip into that safety net I tried so hard to build up.
There are so many opportunities out there if you’re willing to go and look for them. There are so many different ways you can make money from writing if you’re willing to work hard and push yourself.
If writing is a dream where you see yourself swanning around Paris, rich and famous, maybe it’s better being just a dream, a place you go to in your head when you want to escape the day to day reality for a while.
But if writing is a dream where you see yourself doing a job you love every day, then go for it, and know this: writing for a living is not impossible. It’s hard work at times, but it’s more than doable.
Give yourself the chance to live the life you’ve always dreamed of. You owe it to yourself to be happy, and you CAN do this.
Bio and Links
Born in 1982 in North East England, I knew from an early age I wanted to be a writer. Life got in the way, and the dream was put on the back burner, although never forgotten. I am now a full time author and freelance writer and I write my own blog, My Random Musings.
I have published four novels, three short story collections, three non-fiction books and a collection of funny poems.
Blog link: www.myrandommusings.co.uk
Amazon Author Page: https://goo.gl/FrXC4V