This is a follow up from my last blog ‘Artists understand …’
Something I used to look at: if you already have a career but it’s not you and you know it ―how do you change it? How do you throw away the stability of a salary-paying job when you have a mortgage, car loan and other commitments? I felt trapped by ‘having to work’ in something I didn’t enjoy. I desperately wanted to pursue my passion of writing and I felt, if given a chance, I could make far more money doing what I love.
It wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I’m a writer―I’ve always known it and I’ve always written stories but I had this idea that it had to be a hobby – that it couldn’t be a career. As I grew older, I started looking at it more and more, especially with shifts in technology and the internet. There are so many opportunities for writers now that never existed before. I started to look at the idea that I could start moving over into producing in the area I loved. I initially went from working in general business to taking on a local community magazine. I was editor, ad designer, writer, creator and publisher. It was a step in the right direction; I was at least working in a creative field, but as my magazine was self-financed I seemed to spend more time selling advertising than anything else. And with all the hats I wore in the business and a monthly deadline to meet, it was a lot of hard work. I found it took over my life and I didn’t want that. I sold it and with a change in circumstances moved back to Australia. This prompted figuring out what I was going to do in Australia. I had been in England for a few years. It was a new start and I wanted to make sure that this new start involved following my goals as a writer, and not getting stuck in another job that didn’t quite fit me.
This is when I decided to go to university. I felt this would not only fill me with inspiration and provide challenges for me, but would also introduce me to the world of writers. Sometimes meeting like-minded people, or people already in the industry, is the first stepping stone to achieving your own goals. I embarked in a Creative Writing Degree and an English degree so I could study from both viewpoints: that of a writer and that of a reader of literature. This degree exceeded all my expectations. My writing has grown in leaps and bounds, I have been introduced to different fields of writing in the community, I have met published authors and I am constantly updated on what is going on in the local writing community that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.
I am almost at the end of my degree and now have direction. I will become a freelance writer this year and have an exact plan on how I will be doing this. I know how to market myself as a writer and I know what to promote. My professional writing will sustain me while I finish my first novel and move onto my ultimate goal of publishing novels.
It has been a progression from general business to a professional writing career. I’ve done it over four years whilst also working part-time and bringing up a family. It can be done! I am not saying that everyone should go and get a degree to achieve their artist goals – I know this doesn’t suit everyone. This was the route I chose. It is really a case of looking at what you would need to do once you have your goal firmly established. It rarely happens overnight. It needs to be worked on. It may just be a case of putting aside a certain amount of time each week to your artform, whilst maintaining your current income and gradually working towards being able to do your artform full-time. It may be a case of joining a group that gives you contacts in the industry or taking some short courses or volunteering in the industry. The main thing is to start doing something that gets your foot in the door, that gets you an audience. Maybe if you’re a painter you could volunteer in an art gallery part-time and at some point suggest the art gallery do a showing of your paintings. These are just ideas and there are always ideas that can start you in the direction of your ultimate goal.
As it is quite a passion of mine to help others get onto doing in life what they really want to do, please don’t hesitate to message me with your story and I may just be able to think of some ideas to help you.