This year I’m hanging out the shingle. Really. I know I’ve said it before, but this is the first year I file a tax return that lists my occupation as “Professional Writer.” There it is, thumb-tacked to my vision board: “Angela McConnell, Professional Writer.” I am open for business.
How do I know this is my year? Because I am ready to put in the work. I am putting in the work. As Steven Pressfield puts it, I’m going Pro.
In the past few months, I have experienced the most significant improvement in my writing in every aspect: quality, quantity, consistency, and control. I feel on top of my game, and I feel like it has everything to do with simply getting the work done every day.
Not surprisingly, I’ve been feeling really happy these days. This is a wonderful time in my life. And I finally realized the other day, my God, the writing makes me happy; it supplies the juice. I always knew that, and somehow I always kept putting it off. I mean, I put ten years into a court reporting career, and then went and opened a karaoke bar with a five-year lease to put this dream off. Now I’m finally in the place I always dreamed and planned for…to be a full-time writer and stay at home with my babies. (There are other dreams that involve more money and sequins, but this is the important part.)
So why did I – hell, why do we all put our dreams on hold, trying to secure a perfect place in the future for which conditions will be convenient for us to finally hatch our Big Plans? What the hell’s wrong with today? Today looks good. Today it is.
I think we do it because the dream is so dear to us that we hold it back, sort of saving the best for last. “Let me deal with all this crap first,” we tell ourselves, “then I’ll sit down and write.” The thing is, there’s always going to be crap. We never run out of crap. Crap is the stuff of life. So why put the crap before our dreams?
Dreams tend to blossom when they’re tended with first efforts, not last efforts. And despite our worst fears, bungled attempts strengthen the dream, not ruin them. Scars are good. Besides, bungled attempts are better than no attempts. (1) Don’t be afraid to look stupid. You probably already do anyway. (2)
So I have a plan. I think it’s a good plan. It’s a simple plan.
I’m giving up my amateur status, and I’m going Pro.
[Who’s with me? Rah!]
I’m no longer a wannabe writer…I’m the gonnabe writer, the gonnabethenextfuckinggreatthing writer. And after a year of experimenting with the whole blog platform, trying out my cyber voice – hello, can anyone hear me? – wondering what the hell I should I be talking about, I’ve decided to repurpose this blog to focus on issues facing not wannabe writers, but fellow gonnabe writers, the folks who are saying, “Dammit, I’m tired of dreaming about one day, this is my year, and I’m waking up every morning sleeves rolled up and ready to work.”
So I promise I will do my best to post consistent, frequent, interesting, helpful, honest, and funny posts on my journey to becoming a Paid Professional Writer, and in exchange, I hope you will tune in, maybe even join in, and share your own successes.
So…please to enjoy. And Happy New Year!
(1) Now you know what not to do, Einstein.
(2) At every moment of our lives, someone somewhere thinks that there’s something stupid about what you’re doing or how you look or what you drive. Oh, well. Right?
2 thoughts on “HANGING OUT MY SHINGLE”
I feel so lucky to have such an inspirational friend like you! I’m so happy for you! It is definitely embarrassment that I’m trying to avoid (among other things). Maybe I can pick up a few tricks here and there just by being around you an the other talented writing folk…learning by association? Osmosis even? *crosses fingers and hopes so!* I’ll take that leap, Angie. I’ll write. Crap out of my head or not, I gotta start somewhere, no? I’ve always thought of you as a professional writer, btw 🙂
I count myself lucky to have such an encouraging friend like you. I can’t wait to read something you’ve written. And remember, these wise words from Yoda: “Named must your fear be before banish it you can.”