A year ago yesterday I gave up my job in order to write full time. I still can't quite believe that I plucked up the courage to do it. And that I am still here, still without a paying job but still going. It has been an enlightening year ways that I would never have imagined, so I thought I would share with you some of the lessons that I have learned.
If you really want something, you will do it no matter what
There is a difference between having a dream and having an ambition. A dream is a fluffy, up in the air source of day dreaming material. Ambitions you work towards and work hard. If you really really want to achieve that ambition, you will do whatever it takes to get there. There is no giving up, no half arsing it, nothing but determination is left.
You should never ever dismiss your achievements...
As you might have guessed, I am not quite the published author that I wanted to become this year. But that's fine. Well, not fine, it would be better if I was published. However, just because I have not yet achieved my ultimate goal does not mean that I should dismiss the fact that I have completed first drafts of three novels, am halfway through a fourth, had a tiny bit of interest from a literary agent (although that led to nothing in the end) and was on the media team for the Edinburgh Fringe this year. I think I have had a lot of opportunities to pat myself on the back and didn't bother.
...even the little ones
On top of which there were countless other things that completely pass me by but are just as important. I went on trips, met new people, was a good friend, grew my bookstagram, got up every day and am still here fighting. Nothing you do in the day should be shrugged off.
You are stronger than you know
I don't think I have ever put myself to the test more than I have this year. I have been rejected over and over again. I am exhausted mentally. But I haven't given up. And now I know for sure that I won't give up EVER.
Social Interaction is good...
Living and working at home means that it is very very easy to hide away, not seeing anyone. Sometimes that is all you want to do. But it isn't always healthy. Having a little bit of a social life and not completely isolating yourself will make you happier in the long run.
...but not always
That being said, it is ok to take time for yourself. To be alone and put yourself first. If you don't want to talk to people all the time, there is nothing wrong with that.
See the world
When you are stuck within the four walls of your job, it is easy to forget how much of the world is out there, carrying on without you every day. There are so many beautiful things to see and do. Give yourself a break and let yourself loose in it once in a while.
It is ok to go against advice and follow your gut
I have learnt to go with my instinct as far as I possibly can. It generally tells you what is right, what you are capable of and what you want.
If people truly love you, they will support you
When you are serious about something, you will speak more passionately about it. And the people who care about you will sense that. They will support you, even if they don't fully agree with whatever you are doing. Whoever doesn't is not worth having around. There's no room for negativity in your life.
There's no such thing as a step backwards
It is an inevitable fact that in the next few months I am going to have to go back to paid work. And that feels like a terrible step backwards for me. I haven't achieved publication and therefore I have to go back to where I was a year ago. But that isn't the way it is at all. I am not the same person I was a year ago. It isn't a step back. It is another step forward towards my goal. Every step is a step forward whatever you are doing. Because with each passing day, you are a step closer to what you want.
The cost of living is lower than you realise
Having no money coming in is great motivation to stop spending unnecessarily. And although life seems expensive, it actually isn't so bad. There are so many things which the media tricks you into believing you must have and must spend money on. But actually you can strip it right back. Keep life simple and just enjoy experiences rather than cluttering up your life with 'stuff.'