Is Guilt Ruining Your Writing Career?

Yesterday, my best friend, who is a self employed contractor (though not as a writer), had stayed home instead of going out to client sites. We were chatting along on IM and she mentioned that she was having so much fun chatting and goofing off, and working on a short story she’s writing for the short story contest the board is hosting that she felt guilty about not working that day.

I had to laugh. I mean, it’s not like she had to call in sick and was faking it with the boss or something. She’s self employed. It’s her company! I mean, if she wants to take a day off, why can’t she?

A fellow freelancer told me the other day that should couldn’t believe people out there were paying her to do this stuff. She would have done it for free, that’s how much she loves it, and here people are giving her good money to do it.

I know another freelance writer who has a hard time setting high-dollar article rates because writing is so easy for her, research is so pleasurable to her, that she just can’t see why people would be willing to pay her for something so easy.

I remember when I first started freelance writing for a living. It felt like I was cheating or something.

I mean, after years of ‘working’ for a living, being on someone else’s time schedule, going to lunch when they say, coming back when they say, starting work when they say, ending work when they say, and basically having no control over my life at all, and doing things that while I sorta enjoyed doing them, never really fulfilled me….

…. then to go from that to working for myself and doing what I loved…

Man, you have no idea how guilty I felt! People were paying me for this? Why? I mean, can’t anyone sit down and write things?

I learned soon enough though, that, no, not everyone can just sit down and write things. It does take a talent or skill to do it. For some people, writing is very hard. I know a few people if I think about it who avoid writing anything as much as possible, and in fact, call me on the phone regularly and ask me to write things for them!

It’s just that writing is my purpose. It’s what I’m good at. It’s what makes me feel good.

And now, it’s what pays my bills too.

I mean, I work. I am wokring, but it doesn’t usually feel like work to me. I love what I am doing. I wake whenever I feel like it, roll out of bed whenever I want, eat when I want… did I mention I love what I’m doing?

In the end, I realize I actually work longer hours and in a sense work harder being self employed as a freelance writer than I ever did working for someone else, but it was so much fun, I didn’t SEE that in myself. I mean, I’d wake up around 9 or 10 (during the summer when the kids weren’t in school anyway) in the morning, I’d stumble to the coffee pot, I’d start reading email while in my jammies, sitting in my recliner with my feet propped up, sipping coffee.

During the day, I’d chat with friends on IM, and didn’t have to worry about the boss walking in and wondering what I was doing.

If I didn’t feel like working, I didn’t have to right then. I could watch television while working. I could even take a nap if I wanted to and no one was going to write me up, yell at me or dock my pay.

Not only that, but the harder I worked, the more money I made. This is NOT true of a regular ‘job’. If you work harder in a regular J -O – B, you MIGHT get a promotion or a raise somewhere down the line, but the person just getting by and the person kicking ass in the same job are going to make the same pay. Not true when freelancing.

Need more money for a birthday or Christmas? Work a little harder. When do you get that in a J-O-B?

So no, there’s no reason to feel guilty about having a job you love and doing what you love for a living. In fact, my take on it is, if you’re not doing what you love for a living, you’re missing out on something pretty amazing. If a job actually FEELS like work most of the time, you’re doing the wrong thing.

I think our job here on earth is to find that which we love, that which fullfils us, that which gives us purpose, and THAT is the very thing you should do to make a ‘living’.

If writing is your purpose, if that is what fullfils you, then don’t let the fact that you are getting paid for what you love stop you from doing it.

Whatever your dream or goal, if you cannot find a JOB where you are excited to get up and work every morning, where you are filled with wonder that someone would actually pay you for doing what you do, where working 10 hours plus per day seems like fun, because you would have done it all for free anyway… then you’re in the wrong line of work.

(shrug)… I wouldn’t trade what I do now for anything. I will NEVER work for someone else again. In fact, I’ve been offered editing positions, telecommuniting even where I could still work at home, but I would be working FOR someone else directly, and I’ve turned them done. I’d rather freelance.

For me, there is no turning back from this. I worked corproate and non-profit sectors, and I will never do either again – ever. I know that. I would, and you may think this medlodramatic, but it’s true – I would rather die than to go back to the corporate world.

Live you dreams. It’s that simple. Live your dreams.

For those of you who have a dream, who want to see that dream come to fruition, I invite you to consider joining the Boundless Living Challenge. A new 45-Day Challenge has started TODAY and it’s not to late for you to sign up. It’s free! Enter… Join… Participate – set your goal that you want to achieve in 45-days and work together this with amazing community to make it happen.

If you’re a writer, maybe that goal is to be able to make a living from your writing? I know people who have, just this year, quit their jobs and are now making MORE freelance writing than they did before in their real jobs.

Is the next person I know who does this going to be you? Jennifer Walker did it, and you can read about her Journey to Freedom here (which she needs to update, hint hint Jenn). Derek Odom from my board did it too. I’ve decided it’s really all about attitude and determination. If you have both, the rest will fall in place.

Join us on the challenge, huh?

If not, then challenge yourself to find that which makes you feel fulfilled… live your dreams… do what you love for a living. Don’t let the feelings of the past, the things your parents and teachers taught you, prevent you from taking the steps necessary to do it.

It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to feel like work. You don’t have to feel drained and weary and be traditional in how you go about it. You don’t have to feel guilty about loving your life and what you do for a living.

There is so much abundance in the world. Live your dreams… it takes nothing away from anyone else, and it gives so much more to you to give.

Nike had it right, folks. Just do it!

Love and stuff,
Michy
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