It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. This June, the question insecure writers are writing about is: Did you ever say I quit? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?
When my husband and I were first married, Dan was working part time as a Realtor and thanks to the housing market implosion, a full-time bus driver.
I was a contract sewer. The kind that sews things, not the thing waste water passes through. I also was homeschooling our 3 daughters.
It was quite a trick to juggle those tasks with blending our families. Thankfully, we made the wise decision to say, I quit. Dan quit his bus driving job to sell real estate full time, and I quit sewing to concentrate on my family.
To make up for the lost income, we ruthlessly cut out anything in life that wasn’t essential. There was one exception. We still took family trips together. They were taken on a shoestring budget, but we experienced the most important thing about family vacations—each other.
Less than 3 years later…
Dan would be diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. I was so glad that I quit my job. We can look back and remember the time we had together and the things we did as a family. If we’d continued to be passing ships in the night, we would have remembered a lot of time apart.
I’m not saying that you should go to work tomorrow and say, I quit.
There are always bills to pay and needs to be met. I do advocate examining your lifestyle and priorities as well as needs vs. wants. Decide what’s right for you and your family based on those things. Once you make decisions based on that kind of honest evaluation, you won’t have to worry about looking back with regrets.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago. Our kids were getting older. They were less needy. With a little more time on my hands, I had a burning desire to use the gifts I had in a way that would benefit others.
I always wanted to be a writer.
I went to school for writing. Yet, raising kids and the distractions of life sidetracked my dream for a time. We did another life evaluation and I decided why not write—right now?
That was when I made the decision to make writing a priority.
I had a couple of projects in mind. After talking to my family, I cleaned out the kids’ school room. I let everyone know that I’d be writing there, every day, so I couldn’t be interrupted for every hangnail and quarrel. My husband would be the go-to guy if I was in writing mode.
I wrote down SMART goals and a plan to achieve them. The adage, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” is so true!
In the beginning, it was hard.
I felt like no one was going to take me seriously, as a writer. I had to make a conscious decision to push past Imposter Syndrome and do the work.
Most people who are successful, get that way because they don’t let fear of failure get in their way. You can fear failure, so long as you do the work in spite of your fear. That’s courage. Being courageous means having a fear to face down.
Two years later, I feel very legitimate.
I get up every day and I write. I would rather be tapping away at my keyboard than anything else. It’s the gold standard for how I spend my time.
There are days when my husband says, “You should take a day off,” but a day doesn’t feel complete if I haven’t spent part of it writing. Writing is pure pleasure. It’s a puzzle to be worked out, a piece of art crafted with words, a conversation with friends. Another adage says, “If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.“
Life is like that.
Priorities and goals change. That’s why it’s a good idea to write them down. Talk to your loved ones about them and get their support. Then say, I quit to anything that that gets in the way of those goals and priorities.
I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since my husband, Dan was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness.
My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone who Has Cancer, is available on Amazon.com