Do you feel that?
That little tugging sensation on your heart?
You’re not sure what, but something is pulling you to change. Not in a confess-your-sins-oh-ye-sinners way, but to shift directions, to embrace your calling, to finally do what you were put here to do:
You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. You know your job is to set them free, firing them like a cannon into a world in desperate need of them.
But you’re afraid.
You’re afraid of quitting your job and living without a safety net. You’re afraid of the concerned, disapproving looks your friends will give you when you tell them you’re giving it all up to write for a living. You’re afraid of not having enough money for food, of the power being cut off, of watching your family shivering and hungry, all because of your “selfishness”.
And most of all?
You’re afraid you’re wrong about yourself.
Maybe that tugging sensation you feel is just an illusion. Maybe your ideas are crap. Maybe you’re just a fool with delusions of grandeur, and this whole fantasy of becoming a writer is just that: a fantasy.
So, you do nothing.
You cower in your safe little job. You learn how to start a blog or a novel or a screenplay. You drown your dreams with junk food or booze or shopping sprees, all the while telling yourself you’re doing the right thing.
But are you?
“No,” a little voice whispers inside of you. “No, this is all very, very wrong.”
The suffocation of your soul
Have you ever watched a fish suffocate?
You go fishing one day with your rod and reel, hook a fish, and reel it in, dragging it out of the water so you can get a better look at your catch. It’s lying on land, its gills pumping furiously, its eyes bulging, its mouth opening and closing in silent screams. Every once in a while, it flips around, trying to work its way back into the water, but it’s no use; the poor thing is hooked.
Minutes pass, and you can see the strength slipping out of it. It fights less and less, its eyes dull, and eventually, it goes still.
It’s horrible. It’s also strangely familiar.
When I was working in real estate, I had persistent nightmares about suffocating. I would wake up, covered in sweat, taking deep, ragged breaths. It got so bad I couldn’t bear to wear turtleneck shirts, because I could feel them tightening around my neck.
In retrospect, the reason why was obvious. My subconscious was trying to warn me that I was suffocating, just like a fish.
Hooked by money, I’d been pulled into a world in which I didn’t belong. Sure, I still wrote stories and dabbled with blogs, both equivalent of trying to slip back into the water, but a part of me was also fading away. After three years, friends actually commented about how my eyes were dull, my skin pallid, my energy low.
I was dying inside, and a part of me even knew it, but I was also trapped.
Born with a degenerative disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I’d slowly lost the ability to move anything but my face. My medical bills at the time were a staggering $120,000 a year, and I was paying them, but only because of the outrageous money I was earning doing real estate finance work over the phone. If I’d lost my job, I would’ve been forced to move into a nursing home – a death sentence of the worst kind.
So, every time a new real estate deal came along, I swallowed the bait. Hook, line, and sinker.
I told myself I was being smart. I told myself I would build my writing career on the side. I told myself I would save up a nice little nest egg, and then I would quit.
But it never happened.
Boredom sucked the creativity right out of me. Instead of going home to write, I went home and watched movies, played World of Warcraft, and yelled at the referees on Monday Night Football.
I was comfortable. Not happy, no, but my bills were paid, I lived in a half-million dollar condo, and I could afford all the distractions money could buy.
It was killing me, but I didn’t care. Because you see, the most dangerous predators aren’t violent beasts with razor claws and pointy teeth; they’re men in suits with sparkly smiles and big promises. They make you feel happy and warm and secure, and before you know it, you’ve fallen asleep. That’s how they get you.
They would have gotten me, no doubt about it, but I was lucky. I got hit by a car.
The gift of tragedy
The first thing I remember is the smell of smoke.
I opened my eyes, trying to figure out where the smell was coming from, but one of them was full of blood. With one eye, I looked around, slowly realizing I was lying underneath the dashboard, and instead of sitting in my wheelchair, I was pinned underneath it.
And I couldn’t feel my legs. Oh God, I’m paralyzed, I thought, but then I noticed the flames licking out of the air conditioning vents, and it seemed unimportant.
“Jon? Where are you? JON!”
My longtime nurse, Ron Sargent, was sitting in the driver’s seat, bruised and bloody but alive. He looked around wildly, yelling my name.
“I’m down here,” I said.
He looked down. “Oh, Jesus,” he whispered. Then he noticed the flames too.
He jumped out of the van, scrambled to the other side and pulled open the shattered door. He glanced up at the fire, shrunk back, and then looked at me. For a moment, I thought he was going to leave me, but then his eyes went hard, and he lunged underneath the flames.
He grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled. I screamed, pain finally flooding into my legs. He pulled again, harder, and I felt my legs cracking and popping. I screamed again as I toppled onto the pavement.
I looked up at Ron and noticed something smoking. “Your hair’s on fire!”
He pulled his shirt over his head and put out the flames. Then we just sat there looking at each other, him with singed hair and a blackened ear, me with a pair of crushed legs and a five-inch cut across my forehead.
The paramedics arrived and hauled us off to the hospital. I learned that I had 17 broken bones, a concussion, and worrisome bruising around my abdomen, but I wasn’t paralyzed, thank God. Doctors spent the next month trying to put me back together, and I finally left the hospital in a lower body cast that must’ve weighed 100 pounds.
The man who hit me never went to jail. As it turns out, he wasn’t on drugs or alcohol; he was just late for work at Wendy’s and decided to cross a busy intersection going 85 miles an hour. Apparently, that’s not a crime, despite him nearly killing five people (including me).
But I was never angry about it. On the contrary, I felt like I’d been given a gift.
Coming so close to death woke up something inside of me. Food tasted better, colors were brighter, and all the crap cluttering my condo seemed a lot less important than it used to be.
Gradually, a rebelliousness took hold. To the dismay of my caregivers, I refused to shave or cut my hair. I stopped wearing suits. I wheeled around outside like a lunatic, cracking jokes and winking at girls and thinking in silence for hours upon hours on end.
Six months later, when the casts finally came off, I went into work and quit.
I didn’t have a plan. I just had learned the difference between living and dying, and this wasn’t living. If I ended up getting hauled off to a nursing home, so be it, but I was done with the real estate business. I didn’t care what it cost me.
And it cost me everything.
The courage to leap into the darkness
You know how people say you should follow your passions, and everything will be okay?
Well, it’s a bunch of bullshit.
After quitting my real estate job, I got kicked out of my apartment, lost my nurses, and had to beg friends and family to take care of me. Life was most certainly NOT okay.
In the middle of it all though, I found myself tinkering on the computer, writing down lessons I’d learned from billionaires about personal finance. I shared them with one of my best friends at the time, a Bank of America executive named Jason Hilliard, and he said, “Holy crap, this is good. You need to start a blog.“
“Nah, I can’t do that,” I said. “I’m so broke I’m living with my mother. How could I teach anyone else about personal finance?”
He laughed. “So what? Most entrepreneurs lose everything at some point during their lives. You’ll have it all back again in a year or two, though. You just need to stop your little pity party and remember how totally awesome you are.”
And he was right.
We tell ourselves we’re not qualified to write about a topic. We tell ourselves we need to accomplish X, Y and Z before we can pursue our dreams. We tell ourselves we need to prepare, be smart, maximize our opportunities, and not make any mistakes.
The truth, though?
We’re just scared. When you’ve been doing something else your entire life, and suddenly you have the opportunity to change everything, making excuses is easier than leaping into the darkness with absolutely no idea where you will land.
At first, I froze up too. Sure, I finally had time to write, but I was so depressed about everything, I couldn’t see how anyone would value what I had to say. Thankfully, I had a good friend to snap me out of it.
After mulling over our conversation for a couple days, I started a personal finance blog called On Moneymaking, and within two months, I was averaging over 2,000 visitors a day and got nominated for the best business/money blog in the world. Offers started pouring in to buy the blog, and I sold it for $10,000… after writing only 11 posts.
If that wasn’t crazy enough, I then received an email from Brian Clark over at Copyblogger, inviting me to become an Associate Editor. In the space of two months, I went from unemployed and living with my mother to helping manage one of the most popular blogs in the world.
The more I write, the more I realize building a career as a writer isn’t about smarts or talent or even discipline. It’s about guts.
You never know if people will like what you write. You never know if you’re good enough to make a living from it. You never know if your entire life will fall apart, and you’ll end up sleeping on your mother’s couch, gorging yourself on Ben & Jerry’s and watching Three Stooges reruns all day.
But it doesn’t matter.
Real writers take the leap.
Am I saying you have to quit your job?
Yeah, I am.
Unless you’re already getting paid to write, that is. In that case, get down on your knees and thank God for being so lucky, because lots of writers would kill for a job like that.
You need to stop treating writing as a hobby and start thinking of it as a profession. In other words, not something you do on the side, but the center of your life, the reason you exist.
Somehow, someway, you’ve gotten sucked into a world where you don’t belong. Instead of trying to fit in, it’s time to start planning your exit.
Not in the distant future, either. Write your resignation letter today, and date it for one year from now.
If you really have moxie, give the letter to a friend, and tell them to mail it for you in one year. Under no circumstances are they to listen to you if you try and talk them out of it. The letter is going in the mail, and you have one year to prepare.
Because you see, there’s never a moment where you have certainty. There’s never a moment where it’s clear it’ll all work out. There’s never a moment where you’ll feel safe enough to jump.
You just have to do it. Here’s how:
- Ruthlessly cut expenses. Get rid of cable TV, your cell phone, eating out, going to the movies, and anything else not absolutely necessary to keep you alive.
- Find a part-time gig. Maybe you do freelance blogging, little articles for your local newspaper, or direct mail for small businesses. You won’t make much in the beginning, but it’s something to keep you going while you make the transition.
- Construct a fallback plan for when everything goes to hell. Who can you move in with? Which bills will you stop paying first? You need to know the answers to these types of questions, because there’s a good chance it’ll happen.
It is, but whoop-de-do. So is everything else worth achieving.
You either do it, or you die a coward
That’s harsh, I know, but listen:
You know what you’re supposed to do. You can feel it. The same part of you that looks at your job and tells you it’s wrong is also reading this post with you right now and whispering, “Go. Go. Go.”
When will you listen?
You might say, “Jon, you don’t understand; you don’t have kids.”
It’s true. I don’t.
But I do understand needing to take care of your family. When I quit my job, both of my parents were unemployed, and I was terrified I was going to pull us all under.
Initially, it was rough. Not only was I just barely hanging on, but I also had to help my father fill out the paperwork to get food stamps, because I wasn’t even making enough to keep food on the table.
He didn’t blame me, though. On the contrary, he watched how hard I worked, writing from dawn until dusk, and he left me a little note that read, “Go for it, son. You’re my hero. Maybe the only one I have left.” I have the note hanging on my wall.
In my opinion, one of the greatest tragedies of our profession is how many writers use their job as an excuse to never pursue their dreams. Sure, they know it’s killing them, but they look at their family and their bills, and they think they’re being responsible.
But that’s a perversion of the word.
Responsible is taking the gift God gave you and doing something with it.
Responsible is finally publishing that blog or book or screenplay, not for fame or riches, but because you know it’ll touch people.
Responsible is not just telling your kids to pursue their dreams, but pursuing yours too, so they can look at you and realize it truly is possible.
Fast forward five years, and not only am I supporting myself through my writing, but I also take care of both parents, six full-time employees, and a toothless, 11-year-old Yorkshire Terrier. All in all, it costs $31,000 a month – a sum I’m more than able to pay.
Oh, and I’m doing it from a wheelchair. Without being able to move anything but my face.
So, your excuses? They’re just that: excuses.
You were put here to write. Your family and friends want you to write. Millions of people out there need you to write.
And throw aside anything that gets in your way.
230 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Writers Struggling to Find Their Courage”
Jon, I love you. Will you marry me? 😀
Kidding of course, but this is an amazing post and I figure you should start off the year with all great things as a result, including a marriage proposal!
You hit it out of the park again. Many thanks for everything you do!
I love you too, Leanne. 🙂
Thanks for the reminder, Jon. Continued success and prosperity to you in the new year.
Thank you, Jon. After reading this post I’m really raring to go for it. I’ll quit my job in September this year, to blog full time. I am already earning a little bit from my freelance blogging gigs, so that should support me for a bit. Like you said, no more excuses, no more hiding. This year I choose freedom; I choose to write!
Woot! Go for it!
I salute you.
This is your best post, better than all your other posts, awesome though they are.
You’re absolutely right – after reading this post, no one can pretend any more.
We do need YOU to write.
Thanks again and Happy New Year.
Thank you, Rohi. Happy New Year!
Thank God I get paid to write :).
Seriously, I thank God! I’ve wanted to write since I was small. My college English professor, the head of the department advised me NOT to pursue writing as a career.
So, I wasted years studying something else, and more years working for city government.
On the side I wrote a blog about music. Little did I know that my next 3 bosses, editors of magazines online and off were readers of my blog! I fully credit my first three gigs as a writer to the years I spent blogging on my own.
Here’s the rub. I did have to quit my job to jump into this world. I was making about $27k a year working for the city, and my first editorial position was freelance for $1k a month. Quitting was a huge leap of faith!
After two months they hired me full time for more than what I made at the city job. Two years later I was making 45K at a different job, plus 2k a month freelancing on the side.
I won’t say how much I make now, but who cares – I get paid to write!
By the way, I can’t tell you how many people told me not to quit my job. I’m glad I didn’t listen to them.
Love it. Hats off to your courage, man.
I think this could be great advice if you have no children to support, no mortgage on a house you couldn’t sell in this market, a mom to move in with, and you really do write as well as you think you do. (Let me repeat that last one. This can work IF you write as well as you think you do.)
You can still treat writing like a job and a profession, even if you pull 40 hours a week somewhere else. I do accounting 9-5 but I’ve still put out a novel and a few short stories a year for three years (counting my upcoming 2014 releases.)
Most writers I know, even successful mid-listers at major pubs hold a “day-job”. I think this kind of advice, couched in ‘this is what you MUST do’ and ‘anyone can do it’ language is dangerous. Some people will be best served by doing the above. A lot more won’t.
Of those writers working a day job, how many of them secretly wonder how their life would be different if they did it full time?
And how many of them will always regret never having tried it just once?
Fwiw, I am married with a kid and I don’t have a full time job beyond my writing. I’m building a business. I’m writing books. I’m guest posting.
It is scary, and I’ve made sacrifices to make it happen. But I also did it the other way for too long, and these sacrifices are far better than always wondering when I would finally write.
I’m a novelist. I have a day job (and two kids). Do I secretly wonder what it would be like if I wrote full time instead? Of course I do. I consider this at least once a year. Each year, on balance, I decide to carry on with the day job. (I’m lucky to even be able CONSIDER giving up the day job, money wise. I’d have to work harder and earn more from my writing, but that’s perfectly possible to do).
So I regret never having tried it? Not yet.
Why? Well, there’s a whole load of reasons. I’ll write a blog post on it one day. Mainly, I LIKE having a day job. It gives me time away from home, different people to talk to, a sense of satisfaction, a pay cheque I can rely on.
BUT, it’s a considered decision. The answer will certainly not be the same for everyone. Or even the same every year.
It’s a great post. Very thought provoking. A bit prescriptive, but brilliant.
Thank you for making me think about things.
I’m from an accounting background too. Congratulations on having written your three novels. That’s no mean feat.
I have two children to support and I quit my job about 6 months ago.
I found this post to be very passionate and inspiring. For me this is the kind of inspiring writing is what gave me the courage me to take the plunge. I understand you see it as dangerous language but I see the alternative as being far worse.
Living a life of silent desperation in a morally corrupt corporate environment had become unbearable to me. I got to the point where I felt I’d rather be dead than live a lie.
I was no longer prepared to compromise my ethics, say what people want to hear and turn a blind eye when executives threw their colleagues or peers under the bus to save their own neck.
I think if someone with Jon’s challenges can achieve what he has albeit the fact that he’s a writing genius, then I do think that mediocre writers like us can for a path too.
Before I decided to take the plunge I made sure I saved up enough money to support myself and contribute in other ways to my home. I ensured that my children weren’t impacted by my choices.
Ultimately each person must apply any information they read anywhere to their individual situation with a modicum of wisdom and common sense.
One thing that helped me a lot is Jon’s guest blogging course which goes into great detail around how to build traffic around your blog.
All the best with your writing. I hope your books become bestsellers in the not too distant future.
I have a lot of respect for you. I have been reading your blog for a while now and must say you have a powerful gift to write. This post is thought provoking and challenging, however I do agree with Leah. The advice is best suited for people with minimum risk and should not be applied by everyone with a rebellious streak.
I’ve done it.
Quit my job to start writing and consulting, sharing my “vast” knowledge with the world, expecting to rake in lots of money and live the dream. One and a half year later, I long for the feeling of going to work, any work, where I know I will get a paycheck on time, pay my bills on time and have absolutely nothing to do in the evenings than to spend time with my 2 year old, and watch mindless entertainment on TV, stress free.
Passion? Well that is subject to responsibility.
Responsibility? You are right I have to make the most of the gift God gave me. The gift? My 2 year old daughter. If I mess up with her because I could not provide or because I worked 14 hour days to chase a dream, I sorely neglected my responsibility!
So I would gladly go back to “boredom” if I only could.
Beautiful. Perfect. Wondrous.
Thank you for writing this and for giving me the message I needed to hear.
Lots of love xXx
Thank you, Lauren. 🙂
I couldn’t say for sure as I’m not them. But the ones I can think of off the top of my head? I doubt it for most of them. They’re doing work they’re passionate about. I’m not “passionate” about my job but I like doing it. If I got to a point where I could support myself on my writing I would try to find a way to dial back to part time, but I doubt I’d leave my job entirely.
I do know a writer I’m confident wants to leave his day job and write full time. But alimony payments don’t wait until you get traction after you’ve quit your job. He’d be in legal trouble at the least if he did that anytime in the next six years.
I just can’t think of anyone I know, barring single and childless people, or else someone who has a spouse who can support them, who SHOULD take this advice, much less MUST take it in order to succeed as a writer.
Jon, your post is a slap in the face! But it’s all truth and so timely. Today I went back to work with dread and trepidation after being on vacation for a week. I had hot flashes as I drove in and had to keep chanting positive affirmations to myself just to keep going. I have all the excuses in the world; I’m a single mom, I have to feed my kids, I can’t let them down, my employer needs me, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been doing amazing things these past year on the side (blogging, coaching, writing books, featured in a national magazine, etc.) but I’ve been too concerned about how I will make ends meet if I quit. My heart is telling me to make the leap but my head is holding me back. I want to quit today or work fewer hours but I’ve been scared to approach my manager about it.
An alternative game plan is to quit in March because I will receive a huge bonus from work at that time and likely tax refund so I am reasoning that I can quit then. In the meantime I can save half my earnings, cut back on eating out, and entertainment. Does this sound reasonable? Is being reasonable what I should even be concerned about? I just don’t want to be reckless and ruined I suppose… Another swift kick in the rear please (and some answers too).
I think it’s fine to be reasonable. The important point is this:
You have to start working toward it, not hoping it’ll happen one day.
For some people, that means quitting your job today. For others, it means preparing for a year or two.
And whatever you do, plan for a worst-case scenario. Like I said in my post, things often get really bad before they take off. You need to be ready for that.
And sometimes it doesn’t work out at all. But if that happens, at least you have the peace of knowing you tried.
I didn’t see the word ‘must’ anywhere in Jon’s post, nor did I get ‘anyone can do it’. What I did get is that it is perilous, fraught with pitfalls… and full of the possibility of doing what makes your soul sing everyday of your life, for the rest of your life.
No matter what your circumstances are, it’s a difficult, dangerous choice. He made that pretty clear. Thanks for this post, Jon. It’s beautiful. You’re a hero in my book, too.
Perfectly summarized. Thanks Tam.
Wow. This is the most epic blog post I’ve ever read.
My favorite part is:
“Because you see, there’s never a moment where you have certainty. There’s never a moment where it’s clear it’ll all work out. There’s never a moment where you’ll feel safe enough to jump.”
I know I certainly learned from the financial crisis that there is no such thing as certainty – even in a “steady” job.
Thanks for inspiring us all.
Thanks Jake. 🙂
Actually there is one certainty : uncertainty
You make a great point about how the GFC proved that nothing is certain.
One of the catalysts for me quitting my day job in finance was a video I had watched where Seth Godin talks about how the corporation was a by product of the industrial age and that it’s dying.
His view was that corporations are going to try and do more with less and the stability in a permanent job is actually a very risky way of thinking in todays world. Stability in the corporate world is an illusion – and a dangerous one.
His view seemed to be something along the lines of … ‘If you don’t take the entrepreneurial plunge now … You will be pushed off the cliff and won’t have ANY control on where you land’
Interestingly I’ve come across the term “corporate refugee” several times in the last few months.
Thanks for your interesting perspective Jake.
Wow, Jon. Excuse me a minute while I get up off the floor — this one hit me in the head like a 2X4. “Responsible is taking the gift God gave you and doing something with it.” My new mantra. Thanks for the New Year’s kick in the butt!
I love that line too. The world needs more people out there using their gifts to solve the big problems of our day.
Most welcome. Always happy to supply a kick in the butt. 🙂
So Jon …when’s your next post? *he says as he prepares his butt for a kick*
In all seriousness though … I really enjoyed reading it. Beautifully written. Your busker analogy is very much at play here.
Every sentence draws you in further and onto the next sentence. (Can I borrow your brain for a guest post for Copyblogger?)
That was TRULY inspirational 🙂
I think all those who have second thoughts about their jobs or whether they should pursue a writing career, should read your post. Yes, most of the times we tend to make excuses, that’s what they really are, and perhaps sometimes they are genuine, we also know the solution lies in our hands.
You’ve truly been through a lot as I’ve read your earlier posts at Copyblogger, and all I can say is that you have achieved a great deal simply because of the will power and the ‘go for it’ attitude that says never die….commendable indeed.
Thanks for sharing this with us. And I wish you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. God Bless 🙂
Happy new year to you as well, Harleena. 🙂
Why is it that it often takes a personal tragedy or financial collapse to jar us (force us?) from our “stable” orbit and take that quantum leap?
Obviously, as you say, the answer is fear … plain and simple.
Thanks for sharing this personal story, and for the reminder to not be a wuss and instead just have guts and go for it. Happy New Year, Jon!
Happy New Year, Mark!
Any post that gets a marriage proposal in the first comment is obviously dripping in awesome sauce.
If you have true talent, true ability then don’t let it go to waste. Don’t let it sit quietly in the corner for fear of failure (or success).
If you truly cherish your ability, your talent, and your essence, you’ll stop waiting and start DOING.
Thanks for the reminder Jon. Time to type up that letter now.
Go for it!
WOW! What an inspiring blog post, Jon! I love what you said about writing a resignation letter. I’m gonna write my resignation letter today and give it to my best friend.
Personally, I have a 2 year plan to write full-time which some people think is crazy. This post was just the rocket fuel I needed as assurance I’m on the right track!
Have a great new year!
Happy New Year!
Glad to hear it! A two-year plan is great. I said one year in the post, because I wanted to give everyone something concrete to hang onto, but really, it’s about planning your exit and being committed to your work. And you’re doing both of those things, so bravo. 🙂
I have no quirky comment other than I love love love this post. Three love’s.
Thanks Esther. 🙂
Thank you for the inspiration! I can truly relate, real estate finance does suck the life out of you 😉 I had planned to quit in the next 90 days, but was waffling recently. Not anymore!
Yeah, it’s one of the most boring jobs in the world, I think. Glad to hear you’re planning your exit. 🙂
You totally rock. I love your work and I think this may be your best post ever. I became a lawyer because my parents told me I should get a “real job” when I told them I wanted to be a writer. I’ve spent a decade hating what I do. The time has come for me to get serious about writing and break free. Your advice is timely and excellent, and I am going to pin it to my wall and read it every morning.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It’s funny… I planned to go to law school after getting my bachelors. I studied for the LSAT and everything. Before taking it though, one of my old professors suggested I spend some time with some different types of lawyers and make sure it’s really what I want to do.
So, I did, and I was shocked, because every single one I spent time with was totally miserable and regretted their choice to become an attorney. After a few weeks, they totally talked me out of it. In retrospect, I couldn’t be more grateful.
Jon – Looks like you’ve done it again, Zen Master! Hope this entry outscores your earlier masterpiece. As we’ve discussed, my inspiration was a little different: Taking what I’ve learned from a long, challenging and rewarding career in law and politics and use it to show others how to become citizens again, instead of mere consumers. Thanks for the motivation-renewer!
OMG I can so relate.
I became an accountant, and then did my CPA, and then my MBA, embraced the ‘greed is good’ ideal … All because my folks told me to. And boy did that suck!!!
Jon (apologies for spelling your name incorrectly earlier – how embarrassing!) – that was sterling advice from your professor. Wish I’d had such a guardian angel! I cannot say how glad I am that you didn’t pursue a career in law or you would be all bitter and twisted now, working a job you hate and not writing awesome stuff to inspire people! You would have been wasted as a lawyer.
Ash, I feel your pain. Here’s to bursting out of our parent pleasing boxes and to living and loving our true profession!
Thanks, Jon. you’re an inspiration. Every entrepreneur needs to hear these kinds of stories to see the importance of staying motivated through adversity.
Most welcome! Thanks for reading.
OK so after 15 years in the finance industry and corporate world I finally decided to grow some b@lls, quit and start my own blog on productivity and mindfulness.
Ironically enough my wife things I’m out of my mind and so do all my ex colleagues. Hah.
I’ve quit a job paying almost $200K a year and I’m driving hard to monetize my blog.
I’ve cut back on expenses. Massively! I’m doing the guestblogging course which is AWESOME and has taught me a lot about writing. I’m also doing a course by Noah Kagan on how to make your first $1000 and am loving that too.
I’ve never worked so hard or worked towards such a seemingly distant goal … But I’ve never been happier either.
Onward! (As Marsha would say)!
Good for you, Ash. I’m looking forward to seeing everything you accomplish.
Thanks Jon so much for this post!
As I read it, it took me back to a time not too long ago when my soul was suffocating at my day job. I finally built up the courage to quit, to work on my business full time and I feel happy as ever. Many people thought I was crazy to leave such a “great career” that enabled me to live such a “good lifestyle,” but enduring the unhappiness I felt inside was something I could do no longer.
And If I could add anything to all the great things Jon said above as an encouragement to those considering making the leap – its just to make sure you build a great plan for how to really make a great living doing the work you love. It’s easy to get caught up in the euphoria of being able to write for a living, and a great plan for how to make your business a success along with all the steps Jon listed will put you in a prime position to really live “the good life.”
Best wishes to all!
Yes! A plan for for turning your writing into a business is essential.
Congratulations on taking that brave step Sonia.
A great plan is absolutely essential. I’m trying to work through that at the moment myself. How long did it take for you to come up with yours?
Jon, you’ve inspired me to action. Just the kick in the rear I need. You’re not only your dad’s hero (that gave me a little tear), but you are ours too. Thank you for writing 🙂
Go for it, Teri!
You’re a remarkable and talented man. Thank you for this wonderful article.
May god bless you with an amazing new year!
Thank you Jon. You always go deep and raw with yourself so other people will benefit and will be true to themselves, talents and dreams
I love how you talk about having the courage to go after what you want.
Your father’s support utterly moves me – ‘Go for it son. You’re my hero…’
Your support is leading me right now into an entirely new career of writing.
Let’s see where it goes.
Thank you for your incredible writing and story.
My very best – Michael
Looking forward to taking the journey with you, Michael.
Two years ago I quite a 22+ career in higher ed to pursue this writing gig. I have no regrets but I wouldn’t just tell people to make the same blind leap. It definitely requires looking at your own circumstances, what you’re willing to live with (or without in our case) and how much you want to pursue your writing as a career and passion. Lots to think about. For me, it was as you said, a wonderful, freeing decision.
I agree with that.
Just what I needed today Jon. Thank you so much. I had an epic birthday in 2013 (80) and have been thinking my writing dreams and hopes are gone. What a wimpy excuse. I’m back at it. Happy New Year to you and all the other writers on here.
Good for you! It’s never too late!
I’ve been reading your articles for a while and always enjoyed your style, but this article really sets you apart.
You are my hero! I’m one of the lucky ones, I love my job and just have a blog as a hobby. Writing is fun, but not a passion for me.
However, my job is something I’m passionate about and you just reminded me why I enjoy working and that it is time to push it up a notch. What a great way to start out the new year.
Thank you for sharing!
Most welcome! And yes, if you love your job, by all means stay with it.
Love it, Jon. Perfect post to start the new year.
Jon, you’re writing is beautiful! It’s a master class.
You’re right. I am scared. Scared of succeeding as well as failing and losing my home, ending up homeless and hungry. But I can’t stay working where I am any more. The job I loved is being turned into a nightmare by design and desire to kill off a treasured institution.
I cut my hours to the core so I can at least pay my mortgage. But it’s still not enough. You’re right. It’s just like being sucked into a vortex and finding myself lost in a horrible world sucking me dry. I need to leave.
And, you’re right again, it’s all about guts. Do I have the guts to quit completely? I hope so. But somehow quitting my job altogether, walking out and pulling up the draw bridge behind me is a challenge to my confidence. I’ve done it before and the stress nearly killed me.
One lesson I learnt from that, on top of all the mod cons I can live without and save money, is don’t have any more pets. It was the thought of having to put my elderly cat into a shelter and wondering if he’d die there that killed me the most.
I suppose it comes down to how committed to writing I am. And how much I trust my talent. Let’s see.
One thing I found is that when I quit my day job … A whole lot of other things opened up (that I couldn’t have anticipated while I was working my day job)
In my case quitting my job freed me up to network more during the day and I met with some extremely inspiring entrepreneurs who are further down the same path I’m on. They keep me motivated and believing that there is a path to freedom … I just have to blaze the trail.
The point is we all need to have some people in our lives who have blazed that trail to know that the trail can be blazed. And I only met these people as a direct result of having quit my day job.
Unfortunately it often takes closing that one door to open up the others. I can’t have achieved the progress I have while still working my day job.
You don’t have to quit today. Just start preparing to quit at a future date. Build the framework to make it easier, and gradually, your confidence will increase.
Jon, I love you dearly, as you know. You have enough guts and fire in your soul to grow a flower garden in a desert. But not everyone is like you. And your advice – to give up the day job (okay, within 12 months) and focus manically on being a writer – is perilous.
I know a man who did just that. His wife supports him by working shifts in a factory. He has guts and fire in his soul, plus talent. One day, he will be a published author. But only after he’s weathered 100 rejection slips, paid the last of his savings to critique services and psychotherapists and purveyors of voodoo dolls with Literary Agent written on them.
Then what? Chances are, he’ll not even earn out his meager advance. He’ll see his novel remaindered within three months. And will he still have a marriage? Indeed, will he still want to be an author?
Better advice might be: Don’t give up the day job. Use that fire in your soul to carve chunks out of your commuting time and lunch break when you can write.
Then you might have something to come back to when, like 999 authors in a thousand, you find the game didn’t work – or, when fully explored, wasn’t worth the candle after all.
Sorry, I teach creative writing. I’ve worked with upwards of 3000 students. And I’m just adding a reality check 🙂
I hear you, John. You’re right, it doesn’t work out for a LOT of people. Quitting is a total disaster.
My point is this:
It’s a smaller disaster than the alternative.
Yes, quitting your job and trying to write full-time may wreck a few years of your life. It might even strain the relationships with those most precious to you.
But I’ve talked to quite a few writers who failed and ended up going back to work, and ALL of them were glad they tried. Because otherwise, they would’ve always wondered.
Knowing you couldn’t make it as a full-time writer is far better than spending your whole life wondering. No, you’re not big and famous, but at least you know down in your heart that you have the courage to give it a shot.
The talented writers who don’t try secretly feel like cowards. Maybe they shouldn’t, but they do. And going through your life feeling like that is poisonous.
Of course, I’m making a lot of blanket statements here. There are exceptions to all advice like this.
But I think writers who have talent have to try. Even if they fail.
This isn’t about success. It’s about living.
Many of the people who say they want to write full-time and are inspired by this post have spelling and grammatical mistakes in their comments.
“I know a man who did just that. His wife supports him by working shifts in a factory. He has guts and fire in his soul, plus talent. One day, he will be a published author. But only after he’s weathered 100 rejection slips, paid the last of his savings to critique services and psychotherapists and purveyors of voodoo dolls with Literary Agent written on them.”
What’s that quotation, “Choose, then pay your price”?
One of the really tricky things is that for some people, the price of the dead-end, sell-your-soul job is actually higher than the struggle you describe here. The key is knowing which type of person you are.
I agree, Barbara. The choice is ours. But it should be an informed choice. I’ve talked with so many would-be authors who think: ‘I just have to master a few craft tricks and agents will be knocking on my door.’ They won’t.
We can’t put dreams or fairy dust in the bank. And authors still do die in garrets. I’d rather teach my students the model of the would-be Olympic athlete: if you want a Gold, you’ll have to spend 20 years at it, three hours a day, in sun and blizzard. And then hide your tears when, despite your sweat and tears, you get only a bronze 🙁
Hi John. Thanks for the great Olympic athlete analogy. Beautifully put.
But there’s one thing I have always wondered: How many of these Olympic athletes that train obsessively for 20 years do so just for that one moment on the podium?
I know that moment on the podium is really glorified by the media (probably because it’s can be easily commercialised) but I can’t see how a person can train with such dedication for 20 years and not love what they do.
Giving 20 years of your life to something you don’t enjoy for a few seconds with a gold medal seems like something most people wouldn’t do.
If you really loved the 20 year journey and ended up with a bronze or no medal at all … Then at least you have 20 years of happiness to show for it.
To me the answer is to work out which journey you enjoy and give it your all without getting attached to the results. After all, 99.9999% of outcomes are not within the control of one human’s actions.
Thanks for your reply, Jon. Your courtesy is awesome. Would that literary agents were as responsive! (Alas, agents are just one of the obstacles that newbie authors face: gatekeepers who are both incompetent and unprofessional.)
The rules of this game are changing, and there is no longer the need to work through the gate-keepers we call agents. It is relatively cheap and easy to self-publish a book these days. This isn’t to say that a person will necessarily make money at it, but it’s not so difficult to put one’s ideas in a place the public can access it (think Amazon and Kindle) and buy it. A self-published writer will also enjoy much more creative control (I know this isn’t always good) and a higher margin. Even if a person works to develop a small niche market, he might be able to make some decent income, especially if combined with an effective blog, appropriate affiliate marketing, etc.
But there is a business to writing as well, and it must also be mastered, or the mastery bought.
As the Quakers say, you’re speaking to my condition. How did you know I was thinking some of these very thoughts this morning?
In a way, I don’t even have anything to lose but the last remaining shreds of my pride – as an over-educated victim of the recession, I don’t even have a safe job to leave behind.
Have to say though – as a vegetarian who’d given up every meat but fish, you’ve just made sure I can’t eat that now either. Thanks a lot! ; )
Thank you for giving us courage by passing along your own.
John Yeoman, and Leah Petersen are among the few voices of reason here.
Because if everything I’ve read about the odds against an average person making it big as a fulltime writer is correct, it could almost be compared to the odds against surviving a game of Russian roulette using a revolver with only one empty chamber.
And there’s really no need to give up your day job.
Leah has written several novels and short stories while holding down a regular job. And two big examples that come to mind are Bryce Courtney and Wilbur Smith who wrote their first novels, both best sellers and made into films, during their spare time. Massive undertakings compared to blogging.
So whether it’s books or blogs you’re into, writing after hours until the big break comes is the responsible way to go, especially if you have a family to support.
And if the big break never comes, then at least you’ll still be solvent.
Of course, it’s a different ball game if you’re single and still living with your parents. In that case you might as well go for broke.
I hear what you’re saying, Cecil. The thing is, I don’t believe the odds of success are relevant at all.
This post is about having the courage to try something, even if you fail. This post is about accepting you probably WILL fail. And most of all, it’s about not caring and doing it anyway, because you have to know one way or the other.
Ha! Sorry about the fish. 🙂
That is one of the most awesome New Year’s kick in the ass posts I’ve ever read from you and one of your very best. I came to your Guestblogging course as a writer who was dabbling in this idea but never serious. After taking the course and having one of my major goals met (writing for Copyblogger) I saw a light at the end of a very long, scary tunnel. I went from having 4 subscribers for 5 years to 450 in 5 guest posts.
Recently, I got my first paid writing client, which was also the result of that Guestblogging relationship with you and your team. I just want to say thank you publicly for kicking my ass and making me a better (and smarter) writer.
Yeah, I have a family and a mortgage too and living in Manhattan, it ain’t cheap. But courage is all about looking risk and fear in the face and giving it the finger. I’ve a long way to go but every day I’m taking a step closer and this year I will go into a full on sprint to that finish line of writing full time.
There I said it.
Hats off to you and your royal awesomeness!
Happy New Year!
Congrats on your first client! Great to hear it. You truly deserve it.
Thanks Mark. You’re one of the most talented writers I’ve ever coached. Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you to help you get there.
We believe Ray Bradbury. He said, “Jump! And build your wings on the way down.” We did that 40 years and have been writing since then for a living. Sure, it’s been dicey sometimes, but often a safety net is really a bogus insurance policy. (And, that safety net may just be keeping you from experiencing the joy you’re looking for.)
May we add this? Not everyone was born to write. Writing doesn’t happen because you know how to speak. (Read, read, read… Reading is the best teacher.) So, to this above we’ll add paint, dance, play music, become a doctor, make jewelry. Do what nourishes your heart, and don’t let anything get in your way.
I love that Bradberry quote. 🙂
Thank you very much for this post Jon. I truly enjoyed reading your story and you have inspired me to take more action.
Thanks for the great post and the kick in the seat of the pants! It is WAY too east to just make excuses and say “someday I’ll do that!”
I hope you have an amazing 2014!
Most welcome. Best wishes to you as well, Judah.
I’m with you on this one. I left my day job quite a while ago. I also had to make choices about how I spend my time during my days, because I’m also juggling family, kids and many other things.
I admit, I am nervous and worried and scared. Most days, though, I just push that all aside and keep reading and writing.
My daughter, btw, is 9. She also writes. She’s started her own tumblr recently, and I help her with it. She never hears me complain about my job. 🙂
Onward. And thank you for the post!
My partner and I both quit our jobs last year, and I can say for a fact that it’s the best thing either of us has ever done in our careers. We are now happier and have more money than we were going to have working our jobs and we’re on the fast track to success.
And it’s all because we had the courage to take the leap. There was no planning or preparation involved (although some would be advisable) and we dove into it unsure if we would be able to pay our rent in two months time. But honestly, I think that’s what motivated us to be successful—we had the burning desire deep down to NOT have to get a job that we worked our butts off to get by.
Sure, it was scary as hell at times (and still is), but yesterday we hired two employees and we are doing what we’re passionate about everyday.
We both knew that it would never happen if we kept our jobs. We would come home and need to ‘numb our minds’ with television instead of working on our projects. So yes, I agree, you should quit your job. Although I would be far too impatient to wait a year, so I say do it now!
Awesome post, Jon! I quit my job over a year ago to pursue my writing dream. I’d had it with corporate America and the b.s. that comes with working for someone else. I wrote my resignation on a Sunday and emailed it that day. Yep – I emailed it! That’s how fed up I was.
I’ll admit I’m struggling and make nowhere near what I was making as an accounting manager, but I had 401k and some savings to help me out. Now it’s time to get serious with my plan and start making some money. The better part of 2013 was all about learning how to make it as a freelancer, now it’s time to put that information to use.
I’ve decided to re-direct my plan. I do have a blog that I started in August and after a period of dissatisfaction, switched niches in November. I plan to pay more attention to my blog this year. But the biggest decision I made is I realized I don’t want to write B2B or B2C. I want to write short stories and hopefully start working on a novel. I had the opportunity to do some proofreading and editing in the latter part of 2013, which I discovered I really enjoy. I’ve decided to hone in on that as a means of earning a living so I can write what I enjoy writing, rather than what someone pays me to write (not that that’s a bad thing ).
I have my work cut out for me, but at least now I know which direction I want my freelance career to take.
Now it’s time to take the leap.
An open, honest, authentic, kick-in-the-butt post. With a lot of love behind the toughness.
The real issue for me is who do I have to become to make my dream happen? Like a snake, I have to shed my skin to grow–that comfy, fits-just-right skin that I am so used to. I’m afraid my new skin won’t work, won’t fit. I’m scared it will make me fail. In fact, I know it will. So I don’t go there.
The secret to a great life is getting used to failure and getting good at figuring out what to do about it.
The truth is, I fail anyway, here inside my comfortable skin. Recovering from those comfy failures doesn’t take me where I want to go; it just keeps me where I am. Changing what I fail at makes the difference.
That said, growth (biological, personal, professional, business) isn’t a mystery. It’s a well-known process. Tons of blogs and books exist on the subject. Many, many people–you included, Jon–have shared their stories so we can see, learn from, be inspired by their path, struggles, failures, and triumphs.
I know I’ll have excuses / fears / failures / setbacks while pursuing my dreams and plans this year. I just won’t let them stop me. And when I need a kick in the pants, I’ll reread this post.
Finally got to learn a little bit about you! 🙂
Awesome story, Jon.
Jon, a truly “awesome” post. As my teacher, you’ve inspired me again.
I just love this part:
“You know how people say you should follow your passions, and everything will be okay? Well, it’s a bunch of bullshit.”
And like John Yeoman commented here, warnings and care are coming because the pain of putting your art out there is real and reward is often elusive.
But, you’ve got to do it anyway. The world is begging for it.
1. Write everyday and never break the chain.
2. Fight the outside voice of fear, uncertainty and doubt.
3. Really, truly, passionately believe your ideas matter and fight for them like you are teaching us so expertly to do.
The writer and poet David Whyte on describing this time in his career when he quit his job to become a poet (paraphrased):
“So as the Spirit of your life’s past takes you around to see what you have done, you will come to a grave stone with vines and moss on it. And with his boney finger he will pull back the foliage to reveal the words on your head stone. And it will say . . . ‘At least he made all his Car Payments.'”
Thanks again for your personal sharing and living your word. Lead the way my Brother, I am honored to be your student.
I’m off to write before they cut off the electricity up in here and I can’t use my computer. Oh, wait, I forgot, I’ve got this new high tech stuff to help me in case this happens… my family bought me stuff called PAPER I heard it really works on capturing words.. Now, where did I put that pencil?
I quit my job at the end of May!
… And I am about to start another one on Saturday :(. I definitely did better than I thought I would bringing in traffic, but I still can’t figure out the whole money thing. I am hoping the job will free my mind a bit so that I can really create and focus on my value so that my blog/writing/expertise will turn into real income for me.
‘Do What You Love and the Money will Follow’ is a lie. But ‘Learn how to do what you love really well by working at it, learning about it and doing a great job at it (including the marketing it brilliantly) and the money will follow’ is not a lie. Find a way to make it work. Ask or pay for the best mentor, coach or teacher you can find. Learn from your mistakes by failing fast and trying again. Whatever you do, don’t just sit back and expect it to come to you.
And, yeah, not having enough money is an excuse not a reason. e.g. Annys Darkwa who started a social enterprise having just got out of prison and living on welfare (google vision housing in the UK). Or Camila Batmangeligh, founder of Kidz Company who worries continually about raising the several million pounds she needs every single month to keep her charity going – and she is supporting hundreds of kids, not just one family’s worth. She has a waiting list of several hundred kids who don’t have a winter coat, and we are already half way through winter.
I think you missed pointing out one important fact – it’s the one thing that gave me the courage to quit a $50,000/year job with benefits and 4 weeks holiday 12 years ago. It was advice given to me by a man I’d hired to work as a contract writer for the organization that employed me. I longed to be a freelance writer like him.
Seeing my fear, he simply said, “Donna, if you quit your job, you’re not jumping off a cliff and hoping you have a parachute. You’re simply diving into a lake. You know how to swim. You won’t drown. And, if the water gets too cold, just swim back to shore.”
That was Labour Day 2002. I was married with a small child. My income dropped to about $10,000/year which was fine since my husband had a good salary. But then… my husband left us. And I had a choice: work like a fiend to really build my business or get another soul-sucking day job.
Yesterday, I celebrated the first day of my twelfth year as a freelance writer. Some years my income exceeds $50,000 and some years it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter because my happiness is worth every dollar that I can’t spend on vacations or new clothes or alcohol. Because I don’t need to buy the things unhappily employed people need to buy, to ‘justify’ the hours they spend not doing work they’re passionate about.
And it was as ‘easy’ as jumping into a lake and starting to swim! Come on in! The water’s fine!
I have never read a better metaphor for the despair of surrendering to an unfulfilled life than “The Suffocation of Your Soul.” Camus came close with “The Myth of Sisyphus.” Camus considered it noble to struggle with what he presumed to be a meaningless life.
Denying who you are and what you must do is not a philosophical toy. You are not an object to observe when you experience dissatisfaction and discontent. You are the fish writhing in agony.
I have been reading a number of self improvement blogs in preparation for blogging about personal development. I have also been monitoring Twitter streams for the same purpose. I discovered a disturbing undercurrent to the Twitter streams that I hadn’t considered before.
Many people read self help material because they have a history of self harm.
Thank you, Jon, for being a beacon of hope to us writers that had worked hard to extinguish our dreams rather than to fulfill our destiny. Thank you for standing up to the practical pressures without capitulating. You are inspiring a generation of writers who will, in turn, offer inspiration to those that have lost hope.
May you have a happy New Year and a happy life, Jon Morrow.
Love the “You can swim!” metaphor, Donna! Thanks for sharing that one.
Jon, I am always so motivated and encouraged after reading your posts. You should consider writing a motivational book with 365 (or at least 90) daily readings.
Brilliant Jon, definitely your best post to date…in fact, one of THE best posts I have read in the past few years!
Incredible story of courage and commitment to finding your passion and going with it, no matter what. You are actually one of the main reasons I started my own blog last year after reading more of your posts.
Keep up the fantastic work.
For everyone else; you heard the man. No excuses.
Thank you so much for your posts Jon, they have helped me improve my blog posts for my business quite a bit. Although I’m not a writer, I’m a photographer, the decision to quit everything and pursue photography full time was a hard one. It worked now and I haven’t had a “real job” (as some family members would have put it back then) in 7 years.
One of the best posts ever. I admire you as a writer and as a person. God bless you. I love your definition of what it means to be Responsible.
Thanks for the kick in the rear. I wrote my resignation letter dated January 2015. I am going in.
All the best,
Damn Jon! That post literally made me tear up. Ok, I’ll be honest…there were some tears falling.
Why? Because I left the corporate world this past November after taking a year to plan the departure (http://thegreatcorporateescape.wordpress.com/ – Just another abandoned blog, although a good first blog post EVER). I’m now working for myself as a full-time freelancer trolling the internet for ANY writing jobs – which I am getting. So your post did two things: 1. It gave me a pat on the back from you, for my previous year of planning and departure from corporate. 2. It gave me permission to make writing my TOP priority for the year. Not finding the right woman, not finding the right place to live…but to write!
As a student of your guest blogging course, I know that my post above is rough and rugged. After all, in November of 2012, I hadn’t even heard of you. But improvement is what January of 2014 is for: “You were put here to write. Your family and friends want you to write. Millions of people out there need you to write.” I agree. Because I have some unique and valuable ideas to share and thanks you for reminding me of that.
Right now, I have a small amount of business but I also have four corporate freelance gigs in the pipeline. If ONE of them closes, it will be a game-changer.
You’ve been a huge inspiration for my leaving the corporate world and I already see improvements in both my physical and mental well being due to being out of the rat race.
I’ve been holding off on creating a blog because I want to do it right: the correct niche (learned from GB), the correct format, valuable information, etc. But no more holding out because people need to hear what I have to say! I’m not sure that I’m going to pick the correct niche, not sure about a lot of things, but I will return to Module 1 of your class to give me more fuel for the fire.
Thanks for everything Jon!
Hi Jon. I really needed this post right now. I spent a few years very ill and very isolated and one day, just woke up and started fighting. I dug deep and conquered my illness and slowly came back to the living. Last October, I became so burned out in my job that I spontaneously took a leave of absence. I didn’t think about it for long, I just jumped and did it and went to work writing. Thus far, as you said, it’s worked out. My kids even had a wonderful Christmas. The time is coming to make the BIG decision. I either go back to work in April or I leave permanently. I KNOW now what the answer is, and I also know that I will be more than okay. : )
My favorite part of this post is when you said:
“The more I write, the more I realize building a career as a writer isn’t about smarts or talent or even discipline. It’s about guts.”
Thank you for reminding me that I do have what it takes to live my passion.
I took the leap in September of last year and quit my job in financial services to write full time. What made it possible for me was simplifying my life for a few years prior. I had been cutting out all kinds of things that were taking up space, time, energy, and money, but not really making my life any better. I was able to build a financial safety net, which made me feel a little more comfortable with taking the leap. It is still a little scary, but I know that I can work part-time or go back to my prior career if I have to.
Awesome, Jon really awesome. And just what I personally needed to here. Someday you should share the analytics on this post. Thanks!
Jon–man, oh man, are you going to inspire tons of people with this post (Me inlcuded, of course!) Well timesd for that “new year’s resolutions” window…and if we writers can really take it to heart and remember the inspiration for more than the week that resolutions usually last, we’ll be looking at some changed lives a year from now. 🙂
One of your best posts EVER, hands down. Well done indeed, and thank you!
I’m often asked by new writers to explain why, or how, to go about chasing their dream. Too many times, I’ve found myself trotting out the same tired-ass cliches.
From now on, I’m just going to point them to this article as required reading.
Give ’em Hell, Jon!
Great post–thank you for sharing this! One small exception to quitting entirely is if your job feeds your writing by giving you inside information or experiences that directly connect to your topic. It still works best, though, if you can limit your job-related hours for scheduling and energy-level purposes.
Fantastic, motivational post! Well done for having the courage to go after your dreams and for making such a success of it despite the most challenging personal circumstances. I started my blogging journey in April last year and am avidly following your posts and e-mails. Thanks so much for sharing your own inspirational experiences.
I know what it’s like to die.. in a job.
I wasn’t making buckets of money.. but it was a profession I loved and thought I would stay in forever. But the inherent nature of the institution and hierarchy just beat the joy out of it for me.
You remind me that all things are possible once again. Thank you for that.
You really hit a nerve. After I tweeted the article, I’ve been getting retweets all day. Thank you for posting what a lot of people are hoping to hear.
I noticed all those retweets. Thanks for sharing, Michele. 🙂
Sorry, I’m afraid my comment would be a rebuttal. I couldn’t say it as eloquently as Mark Schaefer did, however:
Thank you for writing this and sharing your story. It really touched me. It’s inspiring. The fish analogy really struck me too because I love to freshwater fish for best and do my best to prevent that suffocation from happening, but it does happen. It’s frightening to think about how we pull them up into our world and live so easily in their world.
Over time, people can spiritually suffocate their own calling by getting distracted and not using what their guts tell them is their gift. It takes a few people to point out our gifts though. People come to me for certain reasons. Boredom and aimless directed action can suck the creativity and purpose out of people, but we all can create and share value anytime if we recognize how we best create it. I just read Finding Your Element by Ken Robinson and the exercises have helped me look inward. Really, though, we never find answers in books. They help us personally discover them. Losing ourselves in obligation to others, or losing almost everything we have when we commit to a calling, can help us see the value we want to create for the world. That’s our element.
The masses of people do truly lead quiet lives of desperation and too much comfort kills. The greatest of people carve niches in the world that represent the unique combinations of passions, aptitudes, attitudes, and opportunities. Credentials can only help so much in life too because the rest is that experience of consistent courage against fear and the unknown in what we create. Money is just a result.
Well, you know what? I too refuse not to author my own life and live on manual pilot. It may take five years to get back on track, but it takes an entire life to fail. As 19-year-old college student beginning a secure, full time job in a 9-5 computer information job, I feel a tugging sensation inside me for a different calling. I’ll give it awhile.
“Responsible is taking the gift God gave you and doing something with it.” Yes. That’s leading an authentic and accountable life.
Happy New Year and keep creating and connecting and inspiring others! You are definitely not forgetting to be awesome.
I got so excited to type that I forget the last letter in my first name: W.
Well, you certainly stirred things up, Jon!
So many things in life seem impossible, but when we make a decision to go for our goal, no matter what – circumstances start to line up in our favour.
This year, I’m using a simple mantra that helps me overcome barriers:
“Find a way!”
Thanks for being a constant inspiration, Jon.
Jon, the first time I saw a picture of you I thought, “Great, another smug online pumper laying a trail only they can follow.” Then I learned more about you.
The only reason your trail is for you is it’s your life, the same as it is for your 30,000 people. When you write a post like this, Jon, what you’re telling people is “Live your life, not someone else’s.”
This is the most encouraging post for writers I’ve seen so far. Been looking and reading a while. Belong to writers’ groups, write a blog, taken more writing classes than I can remember, (but I do.)
Now it’s getting tricky. I’ve lost the respect of family and friends because I dodge real work while my wife supports my dream. My brothers and kids act like I’ve got the plague, or some writer’s disease. I fake a cough every now and then for the Camille-effect.
One of my best hitting posts, ‘How To Tell If Your Family Hate You Enough’, bothered one brother enough to tell our mom on me. A fifty-something tattletale is pretty funny, but not when it ends up with a Mom conference.
Now my wife of twenty seven years is fed up. She says ten years since a real job and real money is too long. And she’s right. I just didn’t tell her I bet our relationship on my writing success. Sure it’s only a detail, but a big one.
I’m sending her your post instead of scheduling marriage counseling. Thanks, man.
It’s difficult to come up with something new to say after reading this long list of “Thank you, you’re awesome!” and “Way to go!” and “You’ve just changed my life!” comments. So instead of trying to be clever, I’ll tell you what I really think.
I believe that this post is timely, helpful, inspiring, and thought-provoking. It gives permission to those who have been looking for it, hope to those who have been fumbling around in the dark, and a kick-in-the-pants to those who spend their days whining (to no one in particular) that they know in their gut that they can rise up and succeed if someone would just give them a chance.
Good for you, John. And good for all of us.
(Of my fumbling around in the dark.)
Wish I could edit my post to say that I do know how to spell your name, Jon. Sorry about that.
I just got so carried away with the positive emotions I was experiencing at the moment that I took a short trip to I Forgot to Check Important Details Land.
Maybe you could take it as a compliment that I was transfixed? 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s so vulnerable and real but also so inspiring and uplifting. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and always find your content useful and entertaining but this is on another level.
I’ve recently made the (big, scary, unpopular) choice to leave my safe and lucrative corporate job to start a business helping people find meaning and connection in their careers and started my own blog in November. Having the guts to put myself out there continuously has been a struggle and I’ve found myself spouting those same excuses often. I needed this harsh truth!
This post is so perfectly timed. It has encouraged me to keep going and writing despite that annoying second-guessing voice in my head.
Thank you for entrusting us with your story. I’m grateful you’ve shared your gift with the world because you’re right, people (me!) need and want to hear it. You’re amazing!
Powerful advice, Jon.
Yup — kids, wife, house, dog, tuition, loans, aging vehicles — it’s a heavy weight to carry. I know you’re right, and your story blows me away (as it has before).
This is the ultimate harsh-reality New Year’s post, isn’t it? In terms of life-changing resolutions, this is the big one. Not sure I’m ready, but it’s worth thinking about long and hard.
Thanks for saying out loud what many of us have often considered in our most private thoughts.
I may be the proverbial class clown, but that’s merely a mask I learned to wear a long time ago; a thin veil covering a longing too strong to be contained.
It felt as though the author had reached inside my chest to grab hold of my beating heart as I read this “open letter.” You may say I’m crude using a metaphor like this, but I vehemently disagree! That man reached across the world and touched my very soul as I read this story; a story that he wrote just for me.
I am so completely moved that words cannot begin to describe my gratitude. I’ve never felt more in line with my life’s purpose, or more excited to be exactly where I’m supposed to be.
How do you pay back a man as great as this? You F*CKING write GOD DAMN IT, you WRITE!
I did it. I quit my job a year ago Dec 28th, 2012 to become a writer and create a popular blog. I knew I was a good writer, but I also smart enough to recognized I new nothing about the business. I could write content, but when it came to turning it into any kind of a business, I was ignorant … didn’t know a CTA from Landing Page, had no understanding of SEO, how important it was, nor how often it was going to change over the next 12 months.
So I decided to educate myself.
First I took the Copyblogger (Hubspot) Inbound Marketing Certification Course and then I followed that up with the Coppyblogger Authority Master Course. The Authority Course was great at first, Brian Clark and Sonia Simone really know their stuff. But half way through, the Authority Course derailed to the point that Sonia had to write a “Connect The Dots” document just to make sense of what was going on. So Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing caught my attention and I was happy to see that he had spent time with Brian Clark. I found very knowledgeable and he was well organized. I took his initial course then went on to buy his Campaign Mastery program which really helped with the details. I then made an investment in his Audience Business Masterclass and found it very comprehensive and informative. I felt stuck though. I was stuck between buying into the WordPress.org/Genesis route (both going through upgrades) or the Google+ /Sites path. Contemplate that for a few seconds.
So I explain all this to a friend and he tells me I have learned from Moses, Studied under Jesus, but I have not spoken to God yet, Jon Morrow … “look him up on the Internet … read his stuff and don’t be surprised if he tells you to go to Hell somewhere along the line.” Awesome … I have no more money … less than no more money, actually. So naturally, I read your stuff and I’m already familiar and believe in guest blogging … the new cure-all for aspiring bloggers. I read your riot act manifesto to people to get off their asses or shut up … so I borrowed some more money from my 93 year old mother (who’s happy to help out) and enrolled in your course on Cultivating Connections! So I am rather amused and thrilled that you recommended quitting my job a year ago. So let’s fast forward a year of now job but lots of knowledge and I am behind in your course because my Mother fell and broke her hip. The good news is that my lease was up on my car, so I don’t have one and can finish your course and …
at least get a blog going. I would like your recommendation from you God, on how to proceed.
I own QuillPlus,com on Bluehost with the Agency Pro theme. And I have
QuillPlusContent,com registered on Go Daddy. You can look me up in your records as a Customer: Murray Johnston, Quill Plus Content, LLC.
Also, I’m sorry you are en-flicked with Spinal Muscular Atrophy I will pray for you.
I’m well connected … I’ve been electrocuted and brought back, stung by over 100 African killer bees and never swelled a bit, I contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome surviving with just paralysis in my lower legs, and walked away from a head-on collision with a tree.
What a story, Jon!
I love reading about people overcoming adversity (and making a killer living writing). Makes my life look so easy-peasy in comparison. What the heck am I waiting for?
This is a wonderfully inspiring post! I particularly like the advice of planning to leaving your safety net a year from now. This gives you a date to work towards, and a way to evaluate your progress.
I recently almost had my job taken from me. There is nothing really safe in this world. Our lives are like smoke, a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14) Let’s not just exist, but actively work towards a goal.
Beautiful, Jon. Really nice post I enjoyed reading. I especially liked this: “the most dangerous predators aren’t violent beasts with razor claws and pointy teeth; they’re men in suits with sparkly smiles and big promises. They make you feel happy and warm and secure, and before you know it, you’ve fallen asleep.”
Great way to put it. For me, even though I’ve planned to be a writer since college (or before), I let other things get in the way: marriage, mainly, but also work (though I’ve never had a cushy or steady job I cared about). Marriage/relationships aren’t a bad thing if you make sure your partner supports your choice. But I felt pressure to get a job, any kind of job, though we didn’t need the money (I had figured I’d teach part-time anyway, which I did). And I was kind of how you describe yourself–miserable. Then I got out and had to work to support 2 dogs and 3 cats, figuring I could write on the side but I couldn’t concentrate; I was too stressed.
So I cut loose from trying to find a decent job in 2010 (couldn’t find anything but temp work at $10/hr and retails sales management that didn’t pay). No cable, like you said, and only a TracFone pay-as-you-go phone (no landline either). Nothing–new summer clothes every year have been a new pair of flip-flops 😀 The only thing I’ve spent money on is tech stuff I need.
But in 2013 I made enough from writing and editing to know I’ll double it or more this year. Plus I’ve sold my house and everything in it to rent in a cheaper part of the country with a roommate (yep, I can deal. I’ve done it before and I can do it again). I can’t take care of a house and be under the pressure of a mortgage and write. I just want to write. That’s all. I’ll live in a tent if I have to–probably wouldn’t be good for my dogs but you get what I’m saying.
Glad to read this! It’s scary sometimes, constantly living on the edge as I have been, putting a bucket in the kitchen to catch the drips from a leaky roof, no insurance (until recently), and stuff like that (caring for my dogs and cats has been my main expense) but who cares? If I don’t do what I want to do I’ll be miserable anyway, so why not go for it? We need less than we think we do, especially when we’re working on our goals.
Happy new year!
Hey Leah, great to see that you’re really going for it. I know you’re a brilliant editor and have outstanding talent as a writer. You should write another guest post for us at WritetoDone to get more traction 😉
Mary, is this synchronicity? I’ve just this moment emailed Vinita to suggest you write a guest post for my blog. And I even used the term ‘traction’. I guess Dr Rupert Sheldrake would ascribe it to ‘morphic resonance’. Personally, I’ll just go to bed. (But the invitation awaits ;))
Hi Mary! It’s just impossible for me to serve so many masters. I can’t devote my full effort–all my heart and soul–to all that I want to accomplish with my writing while I’m out mowing the lawn or fixing the roof or earning the immediate money to pay the bills all the time. I’m sort of attention deficit as it is, and I can’t keep switching focus like that (as much as I love my precious gardens). Plus my fiction is suffering more than anything.
Thanks for the kind words. And I *should* be pitching you for more posts on Write to Done! As soon as I’m settled in to my new place I’ll be in touch (6 weeks or so at most–yippee! 🙂 Thanks so much.
Amen brother!! I quit my job in December and am ready to face whatever life is going to through my way in 2014. When enough of the stars align (I’m not saying they all have to because the timing will NEVER be perfect and you’ll forever be delaying the future), you have to give it a shot or you’ll forever be digging your heels in the sand wondering why you didn’t have the guts to give this a go. I admit, I’ve got the added luxury of being young and having zero responsibilities but even then, I could still come up with a bitzillion other excuses why I shouldn’t take the risk and pursue my dreams. Rather, I’m sucking it up and accepting that this is what I want and I am going to do it come hell or high water. The world will help me find a way! THANKS JON x
Wonderful blog. You are very inspiring 🙂 keep it up.
Jon, this post is so good it’s evil. 🙂 It spoke to me at my core.
A stupid stunt almost killed me 11 years ago, and I spent 3 weeks in a hospital bed and 3 months in a wheelchair.
You would think that horrible experience would make me a more conservative risk taker, but it had the opposite effect.
You said it perfectly: you learn what it feels like to be both dead and alive, and you realize that feeling dead feels a lot like playing it safe and cozy. Suddenly, comfort is a more terrifying prospect than shame and scraped knees and failure put together.
When you know what is really at stake, taking “the leap” is the ONLY option. And you don’t just take the leap when and if you quit your job. You do it every day.
Except when you forget. So I am grateful for the reminder, Jon.
Friggim’ awesome. (You should be a writer!) I don’t write like I should. I pretend. Should I write about what moves me…or write to help my business? (It’s tempting to say “what moves me…” But I SO like giving my family a nice life.)
For now…I’m inspired. Now…if I can just get my *ss on my computer. THANK YOU
Well done, Jon! What I appreciate most is that your wrote this (I’m certain it took you hours if not days to complete it) to benefit others — people like you once were, despairing about following their heart and pursuing the work they were meant to do.
Taking the big leap in life is terrifying and disconcerting mostly because ambiguity is highly unsettling to us humans. Separate from being pulled from the fire and physically recovering from a terrifying ordeal, congrats on proving that doing the work that makes your heart sing inherently leads to riches and profound happiness!
Great article. Like some other comments here I don’t really see this article as Quit Your Job.
For me your article brought me back 1998 when I still lived back in Norway, had safe job, great friends and I was in my comfort zone. Though I was going through a divorce, and like many in a divorce I had gone through the ‘blame the other part’ period. In 1998 I found myself in the self pity period. And I was just not happy. Then it was like something hit I remember an episode in few years earlier where I meet my friend at the Central Train Station in Oslo. He was there packed and ready to travel somewhere. So I asked him where he was heading. He said he was traveling to the US to meet a girl he had meet on a online dating site (yes they was around then).
Since this memory popped up in my mind I decided to call his brother, and found out that my friend was now married to the girl he meet online. His brother gave me his number. We did chat back and forth for a period on ICQ which had much better chat rooms then AOL then. And after a while he and his wife introduced me to a friend of them that worked with his wife (my friend knew I was divorced). We ended up chat for a period. for the first six months we was chatting back and forth. And in November 1998 I came over here for the first time.
In October 1999 I decided to leave my country, my job, my friends and also my family to move here to US. Still married to the same woman (have 15 year anniversary this year). Love makes you do crazy stuff.
Every choice I made then Scared the Shit out of me, but I still did it. So this year I making a new Shift going back in Time and will start do some new things that will Scare the Shit out of me.
By the way here is an really awesome article on Forbes, really some cool tips here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkwilliams/2013/12/31/the-first-7-weeks-of-2014-could-change-your-life-the-choice-is-yours-3/
This is my New Year resolution, to quit my job and become a freelance writer, Jon it like you are inside my head, and you know what I am thinking, great post ,you are the best. Thank you and all the best for 2014.
I read this post as my story written by some one else. I planned to write a book. It has been almost two years since I told myself so.
You know what? I didn’t write a single word about it.
I am giving myself a year from now as well to try to generate income from my online business to 1K per month so that I can free myself from my job and have more time to write.
I am not alone in this journey!
Thanks Jon for your valuable inputs. But I would differ from your opinion on quieting the Job. I would suggest that one should monitor whether he or she is really going to make it before quitting. Try writing for a 5-6 months and look a the response and then take a concrete decision. After all every body cannot be like Jon
I quit my job about 5 weeks ago and have been debating on going back to a field of work I can’t stand or move forward with blogging. I’m going to take the leap of faith for awhile and give my passion a chance (even if it means moving home).
Amazing post Jon!
But I would say that you should quit your job only when you are making more money with your gigs. If you are not able to make enough money to support your family then quitting the job won’t be a nice idea.
What do you say in it?
I can’t remember the last time I read anything as moving and inspiring as this. You really are an incredible writer, and the way you described that car hitting you and your nurse pulling you out of the flames – brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your story.
I loved this post. It definitely reflects what’s on my mind, but I was surprised that you recommend we go into professional writing as a way to make a living – when what we really yearn to do is work on our own writing projects.
For 6 years, I earned my living as a freelance writer. I wrote copy, articles, proposals, blogs, etc. But I didn’t really enjoy writing for clients. In fact, I hardly even call that writing.
Maybe that’s too harsh. I did gain a lot of skills from doing that.
But it definitely did not satisfy the real writer in me. In fact, it stifled her.
That’s why I took a job in web dev a year ago, and honestly I enjoy it much more. I show up, pull some bunnies out of a hat, and go home and never give it another though.
It’s only now that I’m able to get into deep creative writing again in my spare time – after so many years of being a “professional writer.”
Real writing is writing what you want to write and writing it from your heart.
Anything else is just the same as having a job. (For me, it was worse)
Thanks for this wonderful post,
PS. I still plan to quit my job in 8 months when my blog is earning us a bare minimum income – G-d willing.
It is a wonderful article and forcing me to think about quitting the job. Not really. I am jobless yet as I am a student. But, I hope it is a good idea to get engaged myself in online marketing before thinking for a job. But, it takes sometime to establish self as an online marketer or a blogger. This student life may be good to establish myself, I guess. Thank you for this wonderful article 🙂
~Ganesh Narayan Gupta
You just inspired me with this masterpiece Jon! I truly love this post, brilliantly written! Thank you for these words of enlightenment and congratulations, you just succeeded in your attempt to reawaken my soul by giving so much value to a craft I so dearly love. I’d love to focus on my blogs this time, until I nail it and be happy about it. Have a wonderful 2014 Jon!
your post is AMAZING. I took two years off my teaching job in Italy and I’m trying to pursue my passions (writing and photography) while travelling South East Asia. It’s been a hard path so far and I’m still not paid for writing – I write in Italian and it seems like all Italians want to be writers. This year I have to make a decision whether to resign or go back to my teaching job. Just thinking about this last option I feel trapped again.
Any of us should listen to their inner voices, to their psychosomatic deseases, and move from there. That’s what I did. Thanks for your words: I’ve already printed this article and posted it on my wall.
Thank you Jon. Thank you so much.
I’ve been suffering in a career I absolutely hate. I also have some health issues that are contributing to not doing such a great job anymore and I am an expert in my field.
I was called for a consulting gig in the fall and flew there and was fired after 2 weeks. That was a sign to give it all up.
I am under so much pressure to keep going. My husband is unemployed. I make $175,000 a year and to tell anyone I want to quit, they think I’m insane. So I suffered in silence just doing what was expected of me.
I’m done with it, just done.
I developed part of a training course last year in what I hate doing and I am being pressured to finish it and put it up and sell it. I just don’t want to.
I don’t want to live my life to please everyone else but me.
On New Year’s Eve, I got a book out I had started back in June and didn’t finish. I have been working on it every day now.
I started a couple of things I wanted to learn and have been working on them every day.
I’m happy about it! I am feeling relief!
I’m done with the career that I hate. I will not do it again. I won’t be pressured into doing it again. For once, I am going to do what I want to do in life. My children are grown. We sold our house so I don’t have to worry about any of that.
I knew what I was doing before I read your post but now, after reading, I am ready to tell anyone and everyone who asks, I’m not doing x again. I’m going to write and try out some new things I have always wanted to try.
I quit my job last March to be able to write “full time”. My life had never been better! In november I won my first serious money from an online course I launched.
Your article is the best you’ve ever wrote (although all your articles are magnific). So glad to know you!!!
Did you have to kick me this hard Jon? Yes. No more needs to be said.
This is a truly inspiring story. I’ve read a lot of these types of things and I usually dismiss them with a cynical “Yay-Yay…you were just really lucky or really gifted.” You didn’t make me feel that way, Jon…I BELIEVE you and that’s saying a lot!!
Thank you for sharing your experience in such a well-written way.
I love this post! Even though I’m one of the “lucky” ones that works a job where someone actually pays me to write (pays me to write!).
I know too many writers, beautiful, lyrical and talented writers, who aren’t writing. They’re working jobs they like but don’t love. They’re saying, “Next year I’ll do more writing.” Yet they never do this.
But you can. And you don’t always have to quit your job, either. I wrote a novel and nabbed a two-book contract from a New York publisher while working two jobs as a single mother. It wasn’t easy and I was always tired, but I didn’t let that stand in the way. I wrote at soccer games and stop lights and once even jotted a scene in the middle of the Safeway.
So yes, it can be done. If you have kids and need the security of health insurance or a regular paycheck, you can still write that novel or screenplay or novella or poetry manuscript. A job is only 40 hours a week. You just have to be very disciplined and not let outside temptations sway you away from your dream.
P.S. Staying at a job isn’t always a cop-out. My work has led me to amazing experiences which has led to amazing writing. For instance, I covered a rugged mountain race for a news story, which prompted me to start running again, which prompted me to write an essay on running, which was included in the “Best American Sports Writing 2013” and mentioned in “Best American Essays of 2013” and also mentioned in “Runner’s World” magazine.
So yes, you can accomplish goals while working a full-time job. You just have to keep your passion alive and not give in to the mindset of the corporate world. You have to be brave enough to sometimes hand in passable but mediocre work because you’re saving the best of yourself for your own work. I can’t stress this enough: You HAVE to save the best of your energies for your own work. (Though maybe I am justifying all of this because I’m too much of a damned coward to quit my own job, writing related or not. How would I know? We all wear such thick blinders. We see only what we want to see.)
Sorry to go on so. Thanks for another great post, Jon. As always, it made me think and ponder and step a bit outside of my oh-so-cozy comfort zone.
You are right. I gave up the day job a year ago and sure enough I’m floundering
but reading this you have hit the nail on the head for which I could kiss you. I keep telling myself that I’m not qualified enough or maybe just not good enough, but I have written the novella it just needs publishing, and I have multiple websites that really just need a bit more punch and a much bigger audience. I have learned an enormous amount in the past year so I accept your slap up the back of my head (Thank you) Off I go again… 🙂
I’ve been told some physical ailments are actually a manifestation of an emotional issue. Like unexplained knee pain could mean resistance to change. I’ve been struggling with some decisions about my blog and having some excrutiating knee pain. I got your mail about this post on a particularly bad day…. Is this a sign?
All I can say is that this post shook me to my core. I’m unemployed but earning a few bucks from my writing. I published two ebooks and then I let fear get the best of me. December was spent procrastinating and doing everything but writing. When I feel this way, I’m going to come back and read this post. Thanks Jon.
So, this is the way we are going to start the new year… making me cry?! Damn, you’re good: Inspire by ripping my heart out!!!
Truth is, no matter where I am at on my journey, I always need to be reminded and pulled back to center.
Thanks, Jon for doing that so wonderfully and effectively.
One day, I will get you back and make you cry, too!!
First give Jon a call for a consult if you have any inkling it will be beneficial. I guarantee it will be.
Jon I am in awe of the depth of your words that speak to the highest calling of my soul.
If you are reading this post you know of the dangers of settle for less and falling on the sword of mediocrity. Look around, and see how many of the masses are numbing out and living the life of distraction. Is that for you. I don’t think so.
Toss the fear based conversation of your ego-mind out the door, stop the endless rationalizations and step up to your higher calling for you and frankly for the good of all humanity.
Your voice is needed now or your would not be here at this point in human history.
Leave it to Jon not to pull any verbal punches. Love your work, Jon.
This is exactly the kind of blog post I want to write!
I have to say I’ve been reading you for a few months now, and this is your BEST article. It’s way more personal.
And you’re right. We spend our lifes waiting for something, but we should stop being cowards and actually take action.
That’s exactly what I plan to do. By July this year I’ll be a full time write! 🙂
Thank you, Jon.
Preach, brother! What an awesome, awesome share! This is the kind of gut-hitting stuff I love + teach as well. Keep it up and you’re going to find yourself hosting your own television talk show soon, wink wink. Your fan for life 🙂
Thanks so much for writing this Jon. It’s particularly relevant for me right now.
I’m getting paid to write, and I love it. I’ve been getting paid to write for the past three years or so. I quite my job to take shitty freelance work for lowest tier SEO companies, getting paid pennies per word. It was repetitive, boilerplate, terrible, and it was better than any office job in the world. Even when a broken ankle and a disruption in that “career” sent me and my pregnant wife on a wild goose chase across the country, trying to find a place to live.
But I couldn’t do it forever, so I wrote a guest post for SEOmoz (still was called that at the time) about how this kind of “writing” was never going to sustain marketing companies and their clients for the long term, how you couldn’t pay for bargain barrel writing, how the craft people like me took part in was worth so much more than pennies per word.
They loved it. I wasn’t even looking for job offers, but they came.
Now I’m making enough money to support my family (well, with food stamps) working only the weekends, while focusing the rest of my effort on something else I’m passionate about: a degree in statistics.
But here’s the thing, I’m half a year away from getting my BS degree, and I’m getting frustrated. As much as I love my job, I’m getting tired of working solely for others. I want to invest in my own blog more. I want to build a business. And I’m not going to have the time for it if I go to graduate school, as I initially planned.
I’ve been debating this. If I get a graduate degree, I’ll be “safe.” I can continue to work writing on the side while preparing for a “real” career, just in case this whole blogging thing doesn’t really take off.
But that’s not why I want a degree in statistics. I want a degree in statistics because it interests me.
A bachelor’s degree is more than enough to launch a technical blog, to fill the gaps in knowledge that Google can’t yet conjure up. And, you know, you don’t have to go to college to buy textbooks.
I’m worried that if I get that master’s degree, I’ll feel obligated to use it. I’ll feel like I need to get a “normal” job. But normal jobs aren’t for people like you and me Jon. We were born to write, and to write about things we care about.
Your post has helped me arrive at my decision, one that I hopefully would have made anyway. Next year (this summer, really) is the year I wholeheartedly invest in my blog. I can’t believe I was actually considering GIVING UP my paid writing gigs to work in an office.
You can always postpone a “normal” career. I can always go back to school or find an entry level statistics gig of some kind. The economy may be tough, but the world expects it. Urges you to do it.
You can’t postpone a writing career. The one advantage I’ve had is that I’ve never been “safe” with a huge salary and a steady job. If I put off what I really love until the day that I’m “safe,” there will probably be no turning back.
This profession isn’t for people who want to make boatloads of money, who want to work in their underwear, who want to travel the world, or who want to have loads of free time. It’s for people who can’t bear the thought of being stuck in an office working for some smuck trying to claw his way up the management chain, or worse, trying to claw your way up the chain yourself.
It’s a profession for very abnormal people. People like you, me, and your audience. That’s the only reason anybody should consider writing as a career: because the thought of doing anything else is devastating.
Hey Carter. I went through the exact same thing. I got an advanced degree because I was interested and wanted a secure failsafe, but I think it was a mistake.
Be honest about your motivation for a grad degree. If you need the certification and qualification, go for it. But if you’re just interested, you can get further faster and cheaper by learning and blogging about statistics in your spare time, and trying to get a job/internship in it.
I got an MBA as a failsafe, and it turned out to be a lodestone because deep down I was using it to postpone getting a job or starting a business, which is actually a lot easier to do when you don’t have student loan payments to worry about.
That’s awesome feedback Aaron, thanks!
Hey Carter. Congratulations on your decisions to follow your heart.
You might find my perspective useful: I completed a bachelors in business/accounting in 1992, My CPA in 1997 and then an MBA in 2004.
But further to the point in the last two paragraphs of your original post; 3 ‘ticks-in-the-boxes’ later, I still found it very difficult to work with schmucks trying to climb the corporate ladder at any cost.
Eventually I couldn’t stand it any more and I jumped off the cliff. That was six months ago. I am still in free fall.
Ultimately all of my life experiences (including my MBA and all the other qualifications) will find their way into my writing as is the case with all writers.
But in my humble opinion one degree in statistics is more than enough in terms of a ‘safety net’. I would ditch the MBA and follow my passion in writing if that was what I knew I ‘couldn’t not do’ as Scott Dinsmore would say.
You could also consider doing an executive MBA which would be a part-time option and the costs of which would potentially be tax-deductible. I took that path and it worked out quite well for me because I was earning a high income against which I could write off the tuition. Unfortunately that might mean working with schmucks for at least part of each year though.
Thanks for passing this knowledge along, Ash. It’s great to see this feedback and I’m feeling even more certain of my decisions for the future.
You’re most welcome buddy. I wish you all the best on your journey.
After all, I believe it’s the journey that matters more than the destination. And you’ve already chosen the right journey … so that’s really all that matters.
Good luck and godspeed.
Jon Morrow I really like it, i personally like they way you actually write, everything is streamline.
You inspire me Jon. Am glad to having come across your writings.
Great post Jon! Reading this post is an excellent way to start off the new year. I ditched my job in December to pursue writing. Am one of those ‘abnormal people who can’t bear the thought of being stuck in an office working for some smuck trying to claw his way up the management chain, or worse, trying to claw your way up the chain yourself.'(thanks Carter Bowles)
The funny thing about quitting the 9-5 is after you hand in that resignation letter you suddenly realize leaving your job wasn’t so scary as it seemed, and in my situation I felt it was something I should have done much earlier. I felt relieved, like a heavy burden had been lifted off my shoulder. It’s unfortunately the fear that gets most people before they even get started with anything. Fear makes amplified noises, much like a rodent behind a microphone…all that nibbling and gnawing channeled though powerful speakers!
Long story short: that monster you are scared of doesn’t exist at all, its a harmless rat masquerading as fear of not being able to pay the bills and ending up homeless( you can probably add to that list of excuses)
All I can say is I look forward to making more money in 2014 doing what I love.
Great post! I loved reading it. It’s funny how the right message arrives just when you need it. Happy New Year xxx
Jon, analogy at its best, your deft moves with your words is bound to capture the imagination of many.
It all boils down to passion. Are you passionate about writing? If not, don’t throw in the towel. You can ever deploy writing as a means to build your company’s brand.
This is what setting up blog those. And I love the way Buffer have been able to do this. By mixing statistics and happiness.
They project Happiness as something Buffer has to offer. And who isn’t happy about buffering their tweets or facebook updates.
Bottom Line: know your target audience or you would be like an ancient ship without sails
True, definitely risking everything make sense, especially when working for coins. Though not everybody is prepared to do this small step.
I love this. I have read it many times. And each is better than the last. I love this. I do.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
You are also my hero.
Your post is a great inspiration for those who are currently going through tough times (and there are many) because few can say that they had lost the ability to move all parts of their body except their face and then they were involved in an accident and broke 17 bones BUT DID NOT GIVE UP.
Thank you for also showing us that it is not the cards we are dealt that matter, what matters is how we deal with them.
All good points and I prefer this attitude as well. Personally, I’m already a writer, but this year’s goal is to earn $100 per hour and work less hours. So, I’m chasing new clients…scary, but I think I can do it.
I am writing. Though a failed spinal reconstruction is now gripping my spine in an evil clamp, I am writing. Though I slip into fevers that last weeks from severe r.a./lupus sle, I am writing. Though I must fight with the state for the egregious bills they charge me because I’m under 50 and sick, I am writing. Though the pain grips me so much I stare into space unable to stand every second of it, I am writing.
Though I often can’t use my hands to type, I am writing. Why? Because a man whom I’ve never met but understands far more than I debilitation is sitting in his wheelchair and building empires. Because of this man, I am writing.
Thank you for your example, Jon. And this quote I am handing on my bedside: “The more I write, the more I realize building a career as a writer isn’t about smarts or talent or even discipline. It’s about guts.”
To guts and gumption and you,
You are so right Jon, about writing taking guts, or actually sharing your writing. While I would not want to go through a life changing experience like your car accident, I can easily see why it would make you think twice about what mattered.
I write every chance I get and little by little I am realizing that some of the strongest muscles you will ever exercise are the ones that type the words that make people laugh, cry, think, revolt, hope, forgive etc. Words have power. Keeping all that power tucked away in a little cubicle every day is just asking for trouble. Thanks for the inspiration to spread that power around.
Thank you for this post, so true and so forcefully explained. I too have experienced sudden changes in life direction and have taken what many would see as an undesirable situation and turned it into a way to see life for what it really is, with priorities sharply in focus. We are the lucky ones, those who have broken through the glass ceiling of life and truly understood it.
I will now take your advice and focus more heavily on the directions my writing needs to take. I must learn to say no to writing for others, and fulfil my own goals. Thank you for the New Year nudge.
Hi John; I can always count on you to be brutally honest. I am a blind blogger who started his website and blog about the amusement industry after my own cousin forced me out of the family business. I have to thank him for giving me the freedom to chase my dream flu time. I still am not making th kind of money at it you do, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel or at least feel the warmth of it on my face. smile just recorded my first two videos and am working towards a yutube show to go with the blog. thanks for the encouragement and the challenge you have issued to us. Have an amazing 2014, max
“You feel the ideas inside you. You sense them straining to escape. ”
This is sooo me. I just don’t think I have the right words to express it which scares me to write it down.
Awesome story. Congrats, Max.
I’m very much touched and inspired by your blog post.
I admire the fact that you never stopped after what ever happened in your life, rather you turned it into a positive thing.
YOU’RE A HERO.
My wife is going to kill me when I have her read this article and tell her this is what I need to do…. 🙂
I always enjoy your powerful writing, but this one choked me up.
Success in any career hinges on grasping this paragraph:
“. . .there’s never a moment where you have certainty. There’s never a moment where it’s clear it’ll all work out. There’s never a moment where you’ll feel safe enough to jump.”
Thank you for being brave enough to heed the call to write. You’ll never even know how many lives your writing has transformed. I happy to be one of those.
WOW. I’m blown away…this was so right on time today! I’ve been “dabbling” and you set me straight today. Thanks for the inspiration and for this “get your stuff together” post!
Wow. This is the writing that first drew me to your site many months ago – you have a wonderful gift, thank you for sharing it. It feels like you have your spark back and you are inspiring me (us all) with this particular piece. You wanted to move me (us) – you did. I needed that. (But, I didn’t realize it until I read your words.)
I was out walking today and (for some reason) noticed birds’ nests in trees lining the streets. They were built out of who-knows-what, and nestled in the topmost branches. Precarious? Yes. Exposed? Certainly. Risky? Yup. Still, there they were: Each nest a leap of faith: those springy branches, high in the trees, open to the wind and rain still solid *enough* foundations on which to build a home.
I thought about those birds’ nests when reading this post. Your encouragement–stop dying, find and use your voice, live your promise–reminds me to do my work, the writing only I can do. (And imagine if the wonderful writers that moved us *hadn’t* had the courage to listen to the call of the page, or had been too small and cautious to do the thing that only they could do? Life would be pretty paltry.)
Thank you for doing *your* work.
I’ve quit twice officially. Straight out of art school and working an illegal amount of hours, written into my contract with no overtime. Baby sleep deprivation was nothing compared to that. The more I worked, the less they told me I was worth. We survived on about £200 a month benefits, which paid for my graduate loan for 12 months.
You can’t imagine the position I had to be in, where that was a better alternative. With 2 children now in that position, it would still be a better alternative. I received benefits because it was viewed as constructive dismissal, but I was too scared to use my loan insurance in case I had to prove that in a court of law. I’m now waiting for a PPI payout, which is a weird sort of validation 12 years later.
The funny thing is, I easily work an illegal amount of hours now from home, for myself. It’s flexible and I take my kids to school and childcare working on their and my terms. Our numbers add up ok and we are happy.
The last time I quit, I used to think I’ll wait another month and see how I feel then. I listened to that tune on repeat for at least 6 months, then I resigned feeling like I had nothing to lose. I’d already taken a sabbatical and done a postgrad to try to conceive our first daughter. It was a good 40 week gig, with overtime and commission, then later with approved flexible work and working from home too. If anything I was bored. It was more important that I conceive a little sister, while designing and creating on my own terms. So I walked, happily and concentrated on taking what ended up as 9 rounds of free fertility treatment.
That was with a good employer in the games industry. My husband still works for them and they have been bought over twice now. He backed me all the way each time. He wasn’t working the first time, but was the last. My first employer encouraged my to drop him as a dead beat (even his Mother said she thought I would), when what he needed was faith and to be given a chance.
Sometimes I think about quitting now. I want to make a living wage and I could employed. I know when to quit and the same gut feeling is telling me not to. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but a good one. There’s a difference between a job and a calling. I don’t think you can’t quit a calling, because it will always find you. You are very lucky when your job happens to be your calling, though maybe luck has nothing to do with it.
No one should have that Monday morning feeling. That’s a warning sign for me. And Sunday night shouldn’t ever feel like you want to have a panic attack or maybe a badly broken ankle would be (was!) preferable. Sometimes the risk is a better option and everyone has their own comfort level and level of risk aversion. I wasn’t going to wait to conceive, whereas other people would delay conceiving even though they know they will have much lower chances, so that they can establish a career. To me it’s was always about differing priorities.
Jon, What an incredible post! You clearly are living your passion and that is so inspiring not to mention your unstoppable character and dedication to your craft. I think that anyone with a passion can benefit from this post. Your story has helped motivate me to go after what I truly want harder than ever. What your father said to you brought tears to my eyes because of his support and understanding that writing is what you are meant to do. I think with faith, perseverance, confidence and courage, anything is possible as you have shown. Thank you for your great work on this post because the message is astoundingly clear to me.
You are awesome. I absolutely enjoy reading every one of your posts. Thank you for being an inspiration.
When I clicked on this article I though it will be another abstract call to action or something, but now that I’ve read it, I can see that it’s a lot more than that. You achieved so much despite all tour struggles, trial and tribulations while others can’t face their dreams because of fears… I don’y know about a hero, but after reading this came to respect you as a person and author. I’m not an author, not by choice that is, but I can say that you inspire me. Your journey from an unemployed to a wealthy author should definitely be a starting point for beginning writers. I truly believe so. Thank you for sharing your story.
Awesome Jon, thanks for sharing that, it has really encouraged me. I quit my paid job of two years in July 2013 to pursue writing, it’s the hardest thing I have ever done. Even with all the discipline of being self employed for 30 years as a photographer, the perseverance to pursue writing was unexpected. Photography was easy compared to making a living from writing, you need to dig deep, and your article is so encouraging. I have found that in writing, as with other creativity, you need goals, something to write for. Set yourself targets, write for a purpose. Money is the biggest obstacle, and the one that nearly stopped me. Once you start writing just to make money you can lose the plot. Keep the focus on writing, set targets, write for a purpose, don’t just write, but write because you love writing.
Thank you for this. It is very rare that the introduction to a blog post can bring literal tears to my eyes. So often we hide our true fears under lesser fears disguised as excuses. Thank you for giving a voice to the feelings I’ve suppressed for far too long. You are a brilliant writer and such an encouragement.
Jon, another classic piece of writing. 🙂
My favorite part:
“Real writers take the leap.
Am I saying you have to quit your job?
Yeah, I am.”
I can say that I had the same fear everybody has of making that leap, quitting their job, etc… and I can also say, that after making that leap…
… it’s not as “bad” or “risky” as everybody thinks.
But, even if it was, even if everything went to hell in a hand basket… I simply would have put my foot to the floor and went all out.
Thankfully, almost 14 years later, I still have yet to have to do that. 😉
I love that part too …. Very audacious …. That’s so Jon 🙂
Great comment … Thanks for sharing your view. It gives me a lot of hope. I “jumped” 6 months ago … And am still in free fall … YIKES!
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
I read your blog post and all the comments… Then I thought about the Universe.
What struck me is that a scientist sees it as dead entity expressed by a string of scientifically perceived laws.
The mystic sees it as a living organism. And philosopher doesn’t see it at all; because nothing exists.
Each one could successfully argue their own point in their own context. The question is; is there any value in their argument? Or is this argument even possible (apples and pears)? Maybe?
I say experience is the determining factor. Experience has no dogma, no context, and cannot perceive or lie. And most importantly it cannot be brainwashed.
…Lo and behold; another thought hit me like a bolt of lightning.
The writing is on the wall!
…And it made me sad.
Hi Jon, Your post was inspiring to me in every way. I totally identify with the feelings you had when you jumped into the unknown. It’s so refreshing to read of someone who threw caution to the wind to pursue his calling. I recently did the same thing, leaving the comfort and security of a great paycheck to do what I believe I’m meant to do in this life. The first big step for me was the publication of my first book, BREAK FREE! Don’t Waste Another Minute Living Somebody Else’s Dream (available on Amazon.com). My journey has only recently begun but I know that I will never find fulfillment unless I have the courage–as you did–to go after my life’s purpose. Writing is in my blood and while I know I will be on a lifelong journey to refine my craft, I am deeply inspired to read about the success you’ve had in doing so. I write because I want to lift people up, and I feel like your writing has done the same for me. Thank you for sharing.
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One of the most inspiring posts ever and exactly what I needed! I retired in November and struggled with chest pain ever since … feeling stilted and stiff inside … afraid my days were numbered. Retirement was going to be nirvana for me, finally having the opportunity to write day and night. Now that it’s here, I’m paralyzed.
I’m not a blogger, but published two ebooks for children a year ago. Several other books are in the works…half-done. Reading your post was a light bulb moment. Fear of failure was the cause of my affliction. Amazingly, the pain goes away completely when I write.
I’ve thrown off the afghan and moved from the recliner. Goal: cultivating the gifts God gave me and damn the consequences. Thank you, Jon!
As always, your words have hit home on more levels than I knew existed. 🙂 Thank you for YOUR courage, and for sharing it with us. I love your writing style; this is one of my very favorite posts, both of yours, as well as anywhere else in the WorldWideWeb. Seriously. May God bless you a thousandfold and those wonderful parents too.
In a word: inspiring.
This sent chills down my spine. Such an incredible reframe my friend. It really is a tragedy to see people being “responsible”, yet not giving their gifts to the world. Such an empowering post Jon. Thanks for sharing!
“They think they’re being responsible. But that’s a perversion of the word.
Responsible is taking the gift God gave you and doing something with it.
Responsible is finally publishing that blog or book or screenplay, not for fame or riches, but because you know it’ll touch people.
Responsible is not just telling your kids to pursue their dreams, but pursuing yours too, so they can look at you and realize it truly is possible.”
I just wanted to extend my appreciation for your post as it really inspired me. I just had a shitty day at work and your post gave me the motivation necessary to use today’s setback as fuel to pursue my online venture ! Thank you
Funny that I’d find this article the day after quitting my (money making) job. I did and still do not have a backup. I find myself struggling and hyper aware of my financial vulnerability, but in just one day I’ve achieved a sort of happiness and clarity I couldn’t while working a job that literally drove me to expose a part of myself I disliked more than the job itself. The real challenge?
There words right here: “You need to stop treating writing as a hobby and start thinking of it as a profession. In other words, not something you do on the side, but the center of your life, the reason you exist.”
When I treat writing assignments, for which I am not getting paid, as work, I feel like I have as much drive and purpose as ever. Getting there is the tough part. This is what I thank you for–acknowledging the tough parts…
Jon, Thanks for continuing to inspire us. I look forward to your posts because they keep me going. A new task, a step forward, every day. I realize that I’ve been good in the past at giving up when things got tough, but I’ve never been as determined to make a thing work before. Your encouragement keeps reminding me not to give up.
Two words: Amazing post! It reminds me when you were an associate editor @copyblogger and you said….”If you want to succeed, you can’t wait for the world to give you attention the way a cripple waits for food stamps to arrive in the mail. You have to be a warrior. You have to attack with the madness of a mother whose child is surrounded by an army of predators.”
Jon, when I eventually leave my well paid and cosy IT job, it will be because of you! You have provided me the reason and the justification which I have been deluding all along – “my boss likes my work”, “a promotion is around the corner”, “there is no company like mine”, “these are risky times”, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread”, and finally “I will be broke and have to live on my wife’s earnings” are some of my strong reasons for not pulling out.
But now, I have decided.Period. I will proffer the “letter”, and next, work on my laptop to spill forth my ideas, thoughts, inspirations, and so on. I am not so much comfortable with blogging, and digital publishing (yet) and plan to follow print book writing and screenplay routes, and hope to carve a niche for myself-even though I feel I am not a quarter as good as Gabriel García Márquez, or R K Narayan, Billy Wilder, or Satyajit Ray, and that I have nothing to say what others have not said all these centuries in several languages and infinitesimal ways. But here comes my plunge into the “deep dark waters of writing unknown” .
I am going to leave my job, as I got inspired by your chronicle, and following the “Word” route. Wish me all the best and bless me in my new sojourn 🙂
I can’t tell you how much I needed to read this right now, as I’m contemplating (and second guessing, doubting, agonizing, anticipating) a leap of faith. Thank you so much for writing this.
I recently joined a blogging group and answered the question: What do I need most help with in terms of blogging? My answer was a swift kick in the butt to jolt me out of inertia and complacency. Thank you. I can cross that one off my list.
Jon, I’ve read and admired many of your posts without realising that you were disabled. I didn’t need to know it, because you’re not disabled; you’re self-enabled. On the internet what matters is your abilities, not your disabilities. You are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for empowering me to take charge of my life. I’m going to DO this. No ifs, no excuses.
Not only is this very inspirational, it’s also practical and useful. That fear is real. Thanks so much for this and I wish you continued success!
Earlier this year I made peace with NOT quitting my day job today or tomorrow or next week or next year. Possibly in 5 years. The rest of your advice is spot on, though!
I can’t stop crying my eyes out reading this. Jon where have you been all my life??? I have a friend that asked me within these last few months that my life has spiraled if I’ve cried out to God? I told her No, that I couldn’t find it in me to do so. Since tings have gotten crazy and my spirit has been tugging me I’ve lost everything. Every material thing one could possess including my home. I’ve wanted to write for so long and every single feeling you’ve described left me with my mouth wide open reading this. I couldn’t stop the tears. I’m not even sure where I should begin, but i’m certain you just gave me a push that I’ve been needing. That my soul has been dying to hear. God Bless you Jon. Thank You for using your life as a blessing to others. I appreciate you
Your my hero, too, Jon. I’m going to take my travel blog seriously now. It’s my life, after all.
Just yesterday I posted a picture with the caption “I choose authenticity”. This is my life and I’m gonna write.
This post wasn’t meant for anyone but me, yes i said it, it was meant for me, although i didn’t get to read it since january.
Its been over three months now that i had created my website, installed wordpress, installed my theme, wrote 6 articles and got them saved on my computer, but each time i visit the blog(actually thinking of customising it or publishing some of the articles), something pushes up from deep down my stomach up to my chest really hard and i’ll say to myself: “People won’t read it, writing/blogging is not my thing.” And i would of course press the back button and start wasting my time on facebook or start playing games.
Infact, i didn’t even make any form of customisation on the blog, and i visit the blog almost every day, i even visited it a couple of hours ago before i came to read this post.
Sincerely Jon, you are awesome, this is the 3rd post i read on this blog and i wish i had heard of it a long time ago.
Thanks a million times for this awesome post, it really got my butt off the chair.
Will make sure i do the things i ought to do before this week runs out.
Thanks very much.
Jon, after reading your Thanksgiving post today, I have been treasure hunting from some of the older ones, too. This one really resonated.
I did it. Quit my job, my career, in June of this year. I felt exactly like you described: like I was suffocating, because I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do. I was a good teacher, and loved the kids. But instead of struggling to teach them to know how to put a sentence together, I wanted to be the one stringing the sentences, coming up with ideas. I couldn’t do all the writing I wanted to do, and still do all the teaching I needed to do, to do it right. So writing had to win, after many years of fighting it, thinking I wasn’t good enough. I had to go for it, or I would lose myself. THANK YOU for this beautiful post! Courage is exactly what we need.
I read this and I’m so convinced it’s about me!
I always wanted to write and travel and show people the world through self-organised tours. However, I always was afraid of my dreams! I used to tell myself that I don’t have enough experience or maybe that it’ll not work out and people will laugh at me and I’ll loose money.
And one day I did it! I left my previous job, I launched my own company, in March I’m going with a group of women to Sri Lanka – my first self-organised tour! It’s not easy yet, as I do everything on my own and don’t have anybody to help, but I can honestly admit that I’m the most happy now, in this moment of life.
I’ve found enough courage in me to fulfill my dreams and I’m proud of myself.
People, don’t let your dreams be dreams. Live your life! 🙂
I stumbled upon your blog as I work to inspire my own. This is certainly a top post for 2014. A poignant message for writers and anyone trying to overcome the fear of starting their own small business too! Thank you for the dose of inspiration.
I am writing this with tears in my eyes. You are an inspiration. I am in my 60s, and toyed with writing for a long time. I volunteer and sometimes get paid as a cooking instructor, but never took myself seriously. I could always find a job when I needed one but never got paid much. It’s not about the money, though I could use some. I’ve been posting to my food/nutrition blog since September with little action and no income, yet. But with your inspiring words I am going to work harder to make some money, the icing on the cake.
All these points outlined run through my sub conscious daily. This article has motivated me against all odds, to stand firm and be true to my self. I love blogging, I love this article
This is art, this is playing the tune to which only the soul can dance.
Compelling, haunting, sobering. An arrow flung straight into the heart.
Thank you, Jon!