It was the scariest period of my life. I’d left my job teaching in San Francisco and was writing full-time in the booming tech industry.
Some days, I’d wake up with endless confidence, sure that writing habits would take me straight to wealth and happiness. Other days (most, actually), I’d wake up wondering when it was all going to crash down on me. When my clients would find me out, and realize I was a “fraud” – and my dreams would be over.
Over time, the feeling went away. I got more confident in my writing, learned more, and maxed out with clients.
Sounds awesome, right?
However, once I’d reached my max client load, I had one more problem to overcome. I didn’t care about what I was doing. I loved the thrill of landing new clients, the back and forth of negotiations, and the endless possibilities, but I dreaded sitting down and doing the work. I was a writer, wasn’t I? Wasn’t that what I’d always wanted to do?
Two years of slogging it out in the tech industry taught me some of the business of writing. But, I just wasn’t feeling fulfilled. I dusted off my old resume, and added a few things here and there. But, that didn’t improve my circumstances. I was about to call the writer’s life quits, and go back to a steady job.
But, a thought occurred to me. I couldn’t bring myself to write tech jargon anymore but that didn’t mean I was done writing. Not yet, anyway. A nagging voice in my head kept saying, “Why not change what you’re doing? You’ve learned how to do it, so do it with a different crowd.” I followed that voice, and decided that I was going to give men’s fashion, fitness, and lifestyle writing a go.
Those same fears came rushing back: I just knew that everyone would see that I was no expert on my chosen subjects. I was certain that I would send pitches, and receive only silence. But, I wrote up my samples anyway. I took a few jobs for prices that were low compared to what I was doing.
I sent out those hundreds of pitches, just waiting for the silence to overcome me. Little by little, signals came back. I felt that same rush of building a writing business again. Just a few months after deciding to make the switch, I’m getting close to my client capacity again but now I’m loving every article I write.
This success didn’t come without a price tag. But, stepping out of my comfort zone, and trying a new kind of writing, allowed me to keep making a living from writing AND being happy doing it!
William Barton is a men’s lifestyle writer. You can find him at www.bartonwrites.co or follow him on Twitter @WBartonWrites
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