Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wanting to Write Full Time? Take Linda Formichelli’s Advice (And Mine, Too)

There’s a lie in my biography. Right over there, on the sidebar. It says “I haven’t quit my day job.” The truth is, I have. Several months ago, I left my sixteen-year bookstore job to tackle full-time freelance writing.

I couldn’t be happier now, but the months leading up to the decision were difficult. While I’d been steadily taking on more and more writing assignments, even having to turn some down, making the actual transition was frightening. 


Linda Formichelli has a book to help with the kinds of questions I had—and some I still have. Write Your Way Out of the Rat Race … and Step Into a Career You Love wasn’t around when I left my job, but I’ve been familiar with her blog The Renegade Writer since I got serious about freelancing. (I still think it has the most realistic advice on the net, especially for magazine writers.)

I’m proud to be one of several writers quoted in the book about our real experiences in the writing world. That’s one of the things that makes this book so useful: real advice from those who have been there. The writers run the gamut from moms to media wizards (some are both), so there’s a good chance that you’ll find someone whose life experience will resonate with you.

Formichelli’s book may be just the boost you need if you’re on the fence about leaving your job, and she handles pretty much any question you might have about giving up a secure position for the unknown. She’s also up front about the reality. There’s direct talk about health care, money, and even more importantly, money problems.

I’ll admit that I browsed through the book when I got my copy, looking for my own quotes. Then I read it again, highlighting liberally. I may have already made the leap, but I found information that I need, too. There’s the now-familiar problem of what to charge. There’s the inherent stress of working at home. (I’ve learned quickly that working at home means I’m always at work.)

I know a lot of people who say I’m “brave” for doing what I did. I’m not sure it takes bravery so much as self-respect, and a commitment to what you really love in life. If you need some help in getting there, I highly recommend you read what Formichelli has to say.

Then do it … even if it leaves you no time for pesky things like changing your sidebar.


6 comments:

  1. I have been able to write full time for the last three years. Before that I had a job, two aged parents, and a grandson to care for--not all the time, of course, but often. I would like to say I am more productive now but I am not exactly. My house is cleaner though.

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    1. Patti, I hope you see my response, because you're my hero now. I recently read your interview with Dana King, and you mention that you started writing in 2000. With all the published work you have, I was stunned that you didn't start sooner than that. I've been writing journalism and non-fiction for eons, but as someone who is (ahem) a little older and just now starting to play with fiction, you are truly an inspiration.

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  2. I, too, took the plunge to write full time, but it certainly hasn't been easy. I often long for the steady, predictable income of old, but on the other hand, the freedom can be exhilarating. Like Patti, I didn't really start writing in earnest until 2004, and I also have a very supportive (and steady-job-holding) hubster to help out. Still, there are the occasional nightmares. Best of luck to you (and Patti)!

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    1. It's nice to know I'm not alone. The benefits outweigh the fears, as far as I'm concerned.

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  3. Thanks for the inspiration! I will definitely be checking out Linda's book. It's time for me to make a change. :)

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