Author Topic: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love  (Read 6069 times)

FarmFam

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Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« on: July 10, 2015, 02:38:24 PM »
Ever since I was 9 I wanted to be a writer but thought I could never make a living doing it so decided all my life to pursue other careers and I could write when I retire.  That was the plan.  I still did write a lot growing up but ever since I started my business, it took most of my time and I stopped writing.  Then I stopped that business and got a full time job.  I am miserable. 

I feel like my mind is wasting away at work and I desire to write again.  Now, with this easy job, I can write again, but I don't want to stay at the job.  I make just under $40,000 and underemployed and can't seem to find a better paying job where we live because I will have to take a pay cut to do what my area is in.  I don't want to start another stressful business either.  And quite frankly, I would love to write and avoid dealing with people.  I hate office politics.

I have done my research and found that I can self-publish and sell my work to many different markets and after having a several books out there may be able to get up to $4,000 per month.  My husband is saying to stay at my current job until we at least pay off our debts and then I can quit and write.  I guess that would be about another 3 years and will not include the student loans though.  I feel like the student loans will never be paid off!  Also, in another 3 years I will get 100% vested in my 401K.

What are y'all thoughts on this?

I know the smart thing is probably to try to use as much of my free time as possible writing while still working and try to get that writing income in now and then quit when it is steady.  But I thought maybe others would have better ideas to share. 

I just want to get out of this job as quick as possible!

ender

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2015, 02:45:26 PM »
What is your plan to get there? It feels like you have an endgoal defined but no defined plan to get there.

Why not start writing now, to see if your writing can actually sell the way you think it will?  If it takes off then you can quit earlier. If it doesn't you will be glad you didn't jump without looking?

AZDude

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2015, 03:16:28 PM »
Quote
I know the smart thing is probably to try to use as much of my free time as possible writing while still working and try to get that writing income in now and then quit when it is steady.  But I thought maybe others would have better ideas to share. 

Yep, this. I have done freelance writing. It does not pay much unless you really hustle. I was making about $200/month freelance writing, working maybe 8-10 hours a week.

Dicey

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2015, 04:11:48 PM »
"...may be able to get up to $4,000 per month"

This sounds like what Joan Didion calls magical thinking. I'll bet there are damned few writers pulling in this kind of dough on a consistent basis, especially at first. I am also positive that there is a certain level of stress writing for multiple streams.

I don't want to sound too harsh, but I can kind of hear a little kid trying to get her dessert without eating her dinner. Write up a plan, keep the job, write on the side, bloom where you're planted and save your ass off until you can afford to transplant yourself. Or not. It's your life.

Kiwi Mustache

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 02:27:45 AM »
Can you not write whilst still working a full time job?

i.e. work 9-5.

You can wake up at 6am, write for 2 hours 6-8am, get ready for and commute to work from 8-9am. Then get home, make dinner, do other things from 5-7pm. Then write from 7-10pm.

If you can't write what you want to write in 5 hours a day and unlimited time on the weekend then why do you think having 40 extra hours during a 168 hour week will suddenly make your life blissful?

patrickza

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2015, 02:43:00 AM »
Set yourself a goal. See if you can get to $1000 a month part time. If you can then there is a reasonable chance that increasing your time you could scale it up.

If not, you still have the day job paying the bills and as much time as you need to try come up with more lucrative writing.

Potterquilter

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2015, 04:29:56 AM »
What kind of debt are you talking about?  Are you trying to pay off the mortgage or credit cards?  How much student debt?  Is it all your husbands or is a lot of it yours?



Why don't you come up with a three year plan? 

For instance in the next three years, try to get as much work published to see if it is even possible, pay off all debt and make a plan to pay off the student loans.
What do you spend money on now that you could eliminate by being a full time writer?  Like a second car, any eating out etc.

No matter what you do there will be sacrifices involved and frankly giving up a steady income voluntarily while you have debt is risky. Something could happen to your husband or his job.  Signing for debt means you have to repay it and it can be very hard to do so. But it must be done.



« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 04:31:54 AM by Potterquilter »

Dee18

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2015, 05:02:47 AM »
You don't say how much your debt is, but you note it will take 3 years to pay off the debt, not including student loans.  I'm not sure if that includes your mortgage.  If it does not include the mortgage, it sounds like a hair on fire debt emergency. Keep working.  Many, many successful authors kept working a day job while writing--- Frank McCourt, Tom Clancy, Scott Turow...to name a few.

Lanthiriel

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2015, 10:49:41 AM »
I also would love to quit the day job to stay home and write full-time. But everyone here is right; you need to prove to yourself that you have the discipline and marketability to make up your income before you do it. Self-publishing (if that's what you're considering) is not easy. You have to be savvy enough to get your titles seen by people who are interested in reading them. Also, most books now are published by small presses, so even if one manuscript gets picked up, you're successful if you manage to sell out a 500 copy print run, making maybe $1500 in the process.

Just like when you leave any job, you want to have something as good or better lined up before you leave. That will mean putting in a lot of hours as you build your backlist, but doing it is the only way you'll know whether it's worth it. That way you're not gambling with your income. You'll already know you can replace it.

Full disclosure: I've only been able to write 26,000 words of my first novel in the last 15 months. Maybe that first book is the hardest or my idea isn't as good as I thought. Either way, thank goodness I'm still plugging away at my day job :)


oldtoyota

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2015, 08:13:05 PM »
Read the War on Art. This book is spot on and by a well-known novelist who knows what he's talking about:

http://www.amazon.com/The-War-Art-Through-Creative/dp/1936891026

My spouse sold his book for six figures. Even when you sell a book for that much, you do not net a great deal after paying your agent and paying the IRS. That sounds impressive. It is. However, it took 5-10 years to write the book. =-) On a hourly basis, it is not much, though I am happy to have it.


former player

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2015, 01:37:49 AM »
You don't need to quit your easy job to write.  You just need to write.  If writing is what you love to do you will be doing it whether or not you are working at a paid job.

What you are failing to do in your question is separate out "writing because it's what I love to do" and "writing to earn money".  You have existing debts which will take you three years to pay off even working at your steady job with your steady income.  What happens to those debts if you stop working your steady job?

I'd say: keep the steady job and the steady income at least until your debts are all paid off (can you accelerate your three year schedule?).  Keep writing because it's something you love.  Start looking into monetising your writing as a side-hustle.  If you get your writing side-hustle to the point where it is covering your bills and paying your debts, then quit your easy job.

AutoZealot

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2015, 02:18:10 AM »
What is your plan to get there? It feels like you have an endgoal defined but no defined plan to get there.

Why not start writing now, to see if your writing can actually sell the way you think it will?  If it takes off then you can quit earlier. If it doesn't you will be glad you didn't jump without looking?

+juan

foggnm

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2015, 07:35:02 AM »
If you need a job change, do it. However, don't assume you'll be making $4k/month as a freelance writer until you've proven that you can do so. Have you considered working part time to free up more time for writing? I'm all for following your heart but feel artists too often do this and don't consider that they have to live in the reality of bills and in your case student loan debt. It is highly irresponsible to follow your dream and leave your husband with the burden of having 'a real job.'

FarmFam

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2015, 01:50:23 PM »
There is a lot of great stuff to think about here!  I don't know how to plan for this.  It all seems unpredictable. 

I already did a case study a while ago and need to do a new one.  A lot has changed and after making my case study and plans, I found that things seemed impossible.  I wanted to retire early but it seems the earliest is probably 55 and that is not early.  I ran every scenario I could and can't get it down.

I now feel that if 55 is the earliest then why live miserably, expecting to do what I love after I retire, when I may be dead by that time.  Who knows when we are going to die and a lot of people do die at the age of 55 which is why they put the retirement age after that.

So, I have to do some more planning.  I am going to have to do some major changes.

The only chance we have of retiring earlier is by making more money and I looked at our careers and we are maxed out to how much more we can make.  I can't find anything that makes more than what I make now. And my husband already makes more than what he can get anywhere else too.  If either of us lose our jobs, we will take a really big hit on our incomes because other jobs will not pay us as much.

And I don't like this dependance on a company that may and have had layoffs.  I or my husband can lose our jobs at any time without any notice or idea it is coming.  I would love to have full control over my own income (maybe that is a dream that isn't possible).

Sorry, I have went on a rant.

I will need to work on some sort of plan.  I think it should at least include as many have suggested, staying at my current job and writing at the same time to find out what is possible as far as the income I can make.  Maybe, if I am not at a rope's end with this job, I can write and still work here long enough to increase my income to retire earlier than the 55.  Perhaps I will work on a new case study as well.

FLBiker

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2015, 02:18:04 PM »
I majored in creative writing and came out of college as a freelancer.  I never made $4000 (but that doesn't mean it can't be done).

Over the years, I spent a lot of time trying to maximize my free time (so I could write).  To my surprise, I actually found that I did my best / most prolific writing when I finally bit the bullet and started working 40 hours a week.  Having the time constraint helped me not procrastinate, I guess.

Trede

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2015, 03:15:41 PM »
I don't know if you've already exhausted the internet on finding blogs of self-publishing authors and getting a real feel on what success looks like and requires as a moneymaking business, but thought I'd share one of my favorites that I got a lot of tips and info from as a marketer for my husband's self-published books:
http://www.lindsayburoker.com/

Making decent money as a self-published novelist is possible, but there are some qualities that significantly play into your chances for success.  First is your talent as an author of course... good material has a chance of selling, bad stories won't sustain a career.  Second is your willingness to take on marketing and promoting your books yourself, and it's mandatory to learn how initially and then keep relearning how as the self-publishing landscape shifts.  Third is the intent to write many books to build your backlog, as this both helps the economics of your marketing efforts while also providing more chances for sales as you build fans.  Fourth (and this should have come earlier) is your willingness to invest small dollars or gather a cadre of friends to help beta read, edit, do professional looking cover art, start a website, and anything else in the total package you can't handle yourself.  Making money as a self-published author is a real job that takes a lot of effort.

There is a ramp-up to building income as a self-published author as well.  Even if you want $40K/yr and you have the talent and will work hard to achieve that, I've never read a self-publishing success story where that happened in Year 1. 

One other idea, if you want to give yourself a focused project and deadline to see what you can accomplish toward a novel, consider NaNoWriMo:
http://nanowrimo.org/

I've never done it but know a few who have.  It provides structure that might help kick off your efforts to write.

former player

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Re: Quitting My Job to Do What I Love
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2015, 04:21:53 PM »
You say you and your husband have maximised your incomes (apart from any side-income from writing), but have you minimised your expenses?  If you want to retire earlier than 55 and there is limited upside to your incomes then your biggest bang for the buck is cutting what you spend.