Pursuing Passion is Worth the Struggle
Struggle. That’s the best word I can use for anyone pursuing a writing business full-time, or any business, for that matter. However, struggle isn’t a bad thing. Struggle means character-building, discipline, soul-strengthening, and staying positive on the bad days.
Struggle is a test, and it’s going to test everything you’ve got. Okay, some people will tell me that I’m used to struggle because of my fitness background, where I went from an unathletic kid incapable of surviving a week of football practice at age thirteen to a workout warrior who needs to feel like he’s about to topple over before he’s satisfied with his workouts.
In other words, people will tell me I’ve done this before.
However, I argue back, that this is a new arena. This is a much different ballgame. Sure, I’m used to struggle and sure, I’m used to having everything down to the bare bones before rebuilding and succeeding, as I’d done in 2011 when I literally ran out of money and at the last second, found a job that rebuilt my bank account. However, when you literally self-employ yourself and save up a few months’ dough to live on, it’s something completely different.
Escape, or Walk into the Wildfire?
I had a dream last night that I was on a bus with others, that we were going to do a Spartan race in some area I’d never been before. Per the landscape, we were heading south of Morgantown, West Virginia, somewhere in the Carolinas, or wherever, that this race was to be held.
However, wildfires erupted and soon after, they chased us, until we finally outstripped the fires by turning back and heading home. Once home, we were safe to get on with our lives.
Think of the wildfire as the budding chaos, which will happen when you pursue what you love in hopes of making a living from it. However, the majority in this dream insisted on running away from it, but myself and a few others wanted to continue on and do what we signed up to do. But, the majority overruled us.
The interpretation of such a dream is simple: Most people won’t, they’d never, they wouldn’t dream, of pursuing their passion in hopes of making a living because they fear the sure chaos that lays ahead. Our passion may be so time consuming we might decide to save money for six months to a year to live on, but at the same time, downsizing everything and sacrificing our own status to do so. We’re walking straight into the wildfire.
What I’ve Learned in Six Months
This is Your Job. The first and most important thing I’ve learned is that you need to make writing your job, or whatever your passion is. If you already have a job, you now have a second job. You must treat writing in the same manner in which you treat your day job. Like I said, some choose to go all-in and quit their job so they can pursue what they love. This is fine, but make sure you have at least a few months’ dough saved up to make ends meet and always have a job lined up just in case you need some emergency dollars.
You Need a Work List. You need a worklist, I can’t stress this one enough. You need to make sure you’re not only treating this like a job, but getting tasks done in an efficient and timely manner. I like to make up a list in the notes section of my phone, place between twelve to fourteen tasks per day, and set time limits on each.
You Need an Escape. Yes, even though your passion was an escape from your day job, and still is, it’s now your day job and that means you should even have a means to escape your passion. For instance, I like going to the gym and running, so after a couple hours’ work in the morning during the summer, spring, and fall, I’ll go for a run and in the evening after my work is done I’ll go lift. Your escape can be anything from a TV program to sports to politics to anything that suits your soul. Just make sure you set a one-hour time limit.
You Need a Friend Base. Okay, confession, I’m slacking on this one to an extent. I have like five real-life friends. I test as an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs scale so making friends isn’t my strong suit. Furthermore, here in West Virginia, when you tell one that you want to make money off writing, they’ll give you a strange look and ask where your work boots are. But, thank goodness for Twitter and Facebook, where I can find like-minded people such as I who have the same goals. You guys rock!
You’re Going to Work for Free. As with any business-owner, or as I say, entrepreneur, you’re going to work for free. Sound good? It better, because for a writer, all the stories, edits, lessons, courses, and any kind of work you put into this early on will be for free. The good news? Once you’ve worked for free for a time your product is going to be almost flawless and it’ll likely sell more than other products in the market, especially among indie-authors. So, be prepared to work for free and lose a lot of money early on, but be prepared to reap the benefits of that hard work later with monetary rewards for your hard work.
Write with Your Customers (Readers) in Mind. For those reading this who aren’t writers, work on your product with your customers in mind. I can’t stress this point enough. When I first wrote Lord of Columbia, I wrote it in a way that I would love but my readers would’ve likely put it down within seconds. It was loaded with backstory, no action, a ton of adverbs and adjectives, and more telling than showing. Sure, I enjoyed it, but it was also 185,000 words…yikes! Then, I sought how to write and rewrote it. Then, I mastered point-of-view and rewrote it again. It’s now loaded with action from start to finish, 77,000 words, with very few (if any) adverbs and nominal adjectives. And best yet, the whole book is written in just one point-of-view, with eighty-eight dialogue tags.
You’re Going to Learn A Lot. You’re going to remain a student and remain so for quite some time. Sure, I may’ve gotten the writing and editing part down (I’ll hire a professional editor once I can swing the dough which will be a huge weight lifted off my back) but I’m going to go through the grind in a learning curve involving sales and marketing, and six months from today, I’ll write about what I learned in that case.
I’d like to thank all of my readers for coming across My Freedom Flame, please come back soon.