On the Verge of Chucking the Day Job

And It’s About Time

By Annette Rey

Like most writers, I am pressured and pushed and confined to small time periods for writing and getting to a lot of nowhere with it, because of the demands of personal life, exhaustion, and the ever present day job.

Well, I have about reached my max with those distractions. The choice to write full time is strictly individual and one only you, the writer, can decide. Seeing the steps I have taken to push me over that edge may help you get closer to that life choice for yourself.

My desire to write as a sole career has taken on a more serious urgency and my emotions are building against being abused in the business world. I have been supremely disciplined and dedicated to my employers and have relegated my inner needs, buried deep within, to internal darkness where others cannot see. I have struggled silently. By this method I have managed to endure with head firmly held down and monetary goals in mind. I have defiantly trudged forward.

The nagging desire to write no longer hovers in the back of my mind. It has taken on life and is rising to the forefront. I cannot suppress it anymore. I am being prodded and propelled by forces, it seems, I do not have power over. 

Before this phoenix rising, I took steps to force my writing desire from its depths. Over time, I tweaked my writing area and bought some bling pens. All along I told myself these are superficial avoidances to really getting down to writing. I told myself if I were a genuine writer, I could write in a refuse-strewn alley. But I continued decorating.

From the small of my back downward I had distracting pain from sitting in a stiff chair so I purchased a super-sized leather office chair at $350! An extravagance for sure, and one not affordable if I didn’t have that damn day job! But, now, feeling like a queen on my throne during and after a writing session, it has been a helpful upgrade.

A few months ago, I found a short but meaningful thought. I printed it and placed it on my blank refrigerator background so it stands out. It is held in place by a magnet with another significant message for me. You will see it at the top of this article. It daily grabs my eye. It demands notice. It reminds me who I am, what I am, and what I need to do.

I started free-flow writing to oil my creative gears. Some call it free-flow, but I call it automatic writing. I take one idea and expound upon it, no matter how it sounds or who it offends (those demons can definitely slow or stop your writing). I write rapidly, as my mind moves. A few pages have only a heading, a gem of an idea. Others have several paragraphs.

I copied several dozen automatic writing ventures on scrap 8 ½ by 11 paper, three-hole punched them, and placed them in a colorful binder. The pages sit in sections titled fiction, non-fiction, instructional, and personal. Behind them, I inserted an iridescent, two-pocket portfolio for scraps of paper to hold new thoughts and newspaper clippings of items that pique my interest for development.

The last section of the binder holds blank, lined paper for my hand writing to enlarge upon ideas in the first section. The plan: to carry the binder with me, to not waste one free moment, like the time spent sitting in traffic jams, to translate my thoughts from brain to paper. This is a fine, tangible tool that calls me to the task.

The binder was birthed from being stretched between two competing time demands; the outside world of my job and the realm of my thoughts bursting to become visible to others.

These prompts have subtly encouraged my decision to retire to part time work (one to two days a week, alternating) which is a drastic change from years of six days a week!

I have always benefited from books on writing to develop my writer’s skill and, so, after some recent library loans and purchases I just couldn’t refuse, I gleaned phrases from them that are further pushing me toward a singular writer’s life. I typed them on a list to post near my writing area. It will be my next post. I hope you will find it motivating. It has done wonders for me.

The physical demands of working have brought me to a level of stress I can no longer manage and so I discovered I need a diversion. I decided to revisit a few video games. This sounds self-defeating, but all work and no play…

I went to Best Buy to investigate where gadget technology has advanced. I found a shorter, back-lit keyboard that has slanted rows of keys, which I much prefer to flat keys that seem to blend into one another. The new keyboard glows with purple and red and yellow and blue and pink and green flowing light. It’s comforting. And, of course, I can type in the dark and keep my fingers on appropriate keys without interruptions in my writing flow.

My next encourager, yet to be done, is to buy a case of lower grade printing paper for my draft copies (ten reams, 5000 sheets) at a cost of about $75. I do my best editing when I can hold my creations in my hands, as my readers will one day do. I view this commitment as proof of my confidence and an investment I will be forced to not squander.

I recently put into black and white my internal conflict between the stressful life of working and the draw to flee from it. The act of physically writing and tearing into my internal hidden cave is turning out to be cathartic and self-prophetic.

All of these artificial changes and prompts and insistent writings have urged me out of my shell. I cannot fight it any longer.

I really have to quit the day job.

I will write and course toward success.

I will not entertain failure.

It will be great to hear the phases you are going through in your writing journey. Let’s share our quandaries and solutions.

Let us grab the current moment.

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