I believe what kept me from pursuing my creative passions full-time was FEAR. That big scary word, FEAR! I’m not generally a fearful person. I love taking risks and putting myself out there. I’ve always been a creative person, writing, making art, and coming up with unique solutions to problems. But! Deciding to leave a job that afforded me the same paycheck each month, was a difficult decision to make.
How would I know I could pay my mortgage, my car payment, and all of the other bills that had been granted to me in my adult-status? I knew I wouldn’t have this certainty and I was used to having this certainty. I went to college at the appropriate time in my youth. I pursued a medical degree that I had been passionate about my whole childhood. Midwifery was all that I imagined and more. AND it paid the bills. It paid me in California, Alaska, and Florida. It paid me well.
When the universe loudly pointed me in the direction of freelance writing and editing work, I listened. My beloved midwifery practice closed when the owner retired to a life that did not involve being on-call. I wondered if now might be the time to change my path. No, I have this mortgage thing. I must obtain steady work in midwifery with a dependable paycheck.
When some of our family moved out of state, I wondered if now might be the time to pursue a more creative life. Working from home and not being on-call would be easier without the luxury of having family in the same town. I had no idea how different our lives would be. Still, I knew a steady paycheck would be less stressful. So, I sought out other midwifery practices and gave them a try. I opened up my own homebirth practice and gave that a go. Ultimately, not working with a midwife partner that I knew and loved made practicing midwifery less joyful and more stressful.
Throughout all of this searching and seeking to have the same life I had been comfortably living, I knew everything was different now. My life was changing beyond my control and it was time for me to embrace this and shake up my life to accommodate all that was new and unknown.
With about a month’s worth of savings, I stopped looking for the perfect midwifery practice to join, and I started writing. I bid low on article assignments on Upwork. I edited articles written by extremely smart people who speak English as a second language. I turned manuscripts into ebooks by following the proper formatting guidelines. I ghost-wrote chapters of novels. I created book query’s for authors seeking publishing. I turned a wedding rehearsal speech into a funny and endearing story.
"If you do say yes to an idea, now it's showtime. Now your job becomes both simple and difficult. You have officially entered into a contract with inspiration and you must try to see it through, all the way to its impossible-to-predict outcome." Elizabeth Gilbert in Big Magic
I created a website. I started a blog. I came up with a list of services and fees. I started social media pages in my business name to promote my published works and to share projects I had been hired to do. I engaged in conversations with friends and business acquaintances about how I could help them write a book and publish a book, as well as adding articles and blogs to their website. I build up a network of steady work outside of Upwork. I can now successfully pay my bills and work from home, setting my schedule and choosing when I want to eat and exercise and get dressed.
It is precisely the fear of not knowing when the next check will arrive, that fuels me in my creative pursuits. That fear is exciting.
That fear drives me to create more, to work harder, to put myself out there in ways that I am scared to do.
Every. Single. Day. Not knowing is part of living a creative life. I am confident and I believe I will be financially successful, on my terms. Not having a boss is more freeing than I ever imagined. I drive myself to do more and produce better work in a way that no boss has ever motivated me to do. Fear is my leader!
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
February 13, 2020
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden helps creative people fulfill their dreams. She is a freelance writer and editor, living in Gainesville, Florida. See her websitefor a list of services and fees.