Just the other day I had a moment. It wasn’t a unique moment. It’s a moment I have from time to time. Not often. Once every couple of years perhaps. Usually around tax time.
I’m referring to the moment when I stop writing and start asking ‘Who am I kidding with this writing thing?’ before heading over to Seek.com where I start scrolling through the list of permanent writing jobs.
I’ve been writing professionally for twenty years. For magazines, for corporate clients, for myself. By ‘professional’ I mean I’ve always been paid for my work. By ‘paid’, I don’t mean well. Although there have been some anomalies.
As a result, I’ve always had another career running alongside my writing one. Such as the ten years I spent coaching and training CEO’s and business executives how to be better public speakers. Now thatwas good money.
As much as I enjoyed my other careers, none of them fulfilled me the way writing did. Writing was good for my soul. I wanted to do it all day, every day for the rest of my life. And I wanted to be paid well to do so.
That’s not too much to ask, is it?
In 2012, I decided to go all in. I declared myself a full-time writer. It was time to back myself by doing away with all other back-up plans.
Since then I’ve written five books, three which have been picked up by a publisher, one which never saw the light of day and none which have made myself, or my publisher, wealthy. Yet while my bank account is a little lighter, I’m more fulfilled than ever.
But I still worry about money..
I want both. I want to write my books and make enough money to live well. Most of the time I believe I can have both. But then there are those ‘moments’ when I don’t. And then I start typing in those dreaded keywords like I did the other day.
Arts, Media and Entertainment.
All Sydney NSW
On this particular occasion, I felt a stab of guilt as I pressed ‘Seek’ as if I’m somehow betraying myself. Secretly I hoped I wouldn’t find anything and could return to doing what I do best: writing my books and worrying about money. Awesome!
But then something caught my eye. It was a role as a Staff Writer for a well-known and reputable business magazine; one I admired and used to read when I was running my corporate training business. It was full-time, which wasn’t ideal, but it involved writing in return for actual money that was actually paid every month.
It was like stumbling on an oasis in a desert after years without water.
I immediately began crafting a cover letter that was, accidentally, very good. I submitted it, worried that it might be enough to get a callback. It was. A telephone interview was scheduled the following day, and this too went well. My anxiety levels began to rise. I was in with a chance. This was not how this ‘moment’ was supposed to go.
In the past, such moments had served to realign myself with who I was (a writer) and what was important (freedom and creative expression) as well as what I needed to be focusing more time and attention on (sales and marketing of my books). Turns out this moment was no different.
Yes, the money of a full-time job would help make life more comfortable. But it would mean giving up time that would otherwise be invested in becoming an international, bestselling author with a couple of movie credits to her name. Was I prepared to turn my back on everything I’ve worked so hard for over these last seven years?
No, I wasn’t.
But I decided to go to the interview anyway.
Although I first handed the outcome over to that higher, wiser, all-knowing aspect of the Universe. The one who knows a hell of a lot more than I do and can see much more of the picture that I ever could. Call it Goddess. My Higher Power. O Much More Capable One.
The women I met with at the magazine were lovely. I knew immediately this would be a wonderful place to work, with great people and interesting topics to write about.
But I had to be honest.
I couldn’t commit to a full-time role. Not when I had a book coming out in August which would require (and deserved) my focus and attention. Plus, I had just started writing another book.
They nodded, seeming to already know. And then one of them asked a question:
Would you consider writing freelance?
I smiled and nodded and felt my body heave a giant sigh of relief. This was a language I spoke and could understand. Freelance was my kind of job.
Let’s just say it was a beautiful moment.
Hedley’s upcoming book, Meet Me in Milan, is a personal story about a trip to Italy which results in a chance meeting with a handsome Italian and a summer romance involving a series of romantic dates, each taking place in a different Italian city. The book is being released August 2019. To get on the launch list click here.
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