I just put in my two weeks’ notice at my job to pursue writing and teaching full time.
In August, I got hired with a really awesome marketing and web design company that is literally right down the street from me. Initially, I was hired as a “digital marketing associate” which meant that mostly, I wrote web content and helped the marketing/SEO manager with all of our SEO clients. In October, my freelance writing clients were taking off, and I stepped down to part-time.
I had intended to pursue writing full-time at some point, but I was sort of coasting along, working for this company three days a week and freelancing the other days. But a little over a month ago, my boss–the marketing manager–announced he was leaving. I volunteered to step up and essentially take his place (even though my gut was telling me this was the wrong thing to do–I ignored it and focused on the increase in my paycheck, the security, etc.)
There was something about having increased responsibilities and a different title that made me think of the job as a “career” as opposed to just a job to pay the bills while I’m pursuing my real career: writing. This made me feel completely inauthentic. It made me feel like I was lying to the world every day I stepped in the office pretending to be a marketing manager. I’m a lot of things–a writer, an artist, a musician, a teacher–but I am not a marketing manager, I have discovered.
Meanwhile, I kept stumbling across more and more freelancing opportunities, and even teaching opportunities starting coming my way. Sales of my e-book were starting to pick up, and I knew if I only had more time to market my own writing, it could really pick up. Could I really do this? Well, today I answered that question with “yes.”
It’s scary and it’s risky, but I feel really good about my decision. I will probably still be doing a lot of the web content and SEO writing that I have already been doing, but it will also give me the freedom to work on my own stuff–to write more e-books–to work on productions of my plays–to work on revisions of my novel while my literary agent gets me a book deal. And I’m hoping that the teaching opportunities I have received will give me the teaching experience I need to teach college in the near future. I would love to give back and inspire students the way so many professors have inspired me.
Over the next two weeks, I hope I can help the company find someone to do this job–someone who is as passionate about marketing as I am about writing. The guys in my office are all super cool (all dudes!), and it’s a really chill place to work. But my decision doesn’t have anything to do with anyone other than myself.
This approach definitely isn’t for everyone. There are many, many writers who pursue writing on top of having a full-time job elsewhere, and it’s great if that approach works for someone else. Everyone has a different path, and I am excited that I am finally on the right one.
Not everyone is meant to work 40 hours a week in an office as an employee of a company, and I have discovered that it’s just not for me. I need to be working on my writing. I need to be working flexible hours. I need to be teaching people and helping people learn how to appreciate and write great literature. Plainly put, I need to write. And while I’m not quite at the point (yet!) where I can support myself solely on earnings from my “own” writing/art–I have discovered that I actually can make a living writing and teaching others about writing/English/literature. And that makes me feel incredibly blessed.