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Posts Tagged ‘financial security’

I’ve been thinking about moving into a full-time freelance/independent author career a lot recently. The question that keeps coming up, though, is, “am I willing to give my all?” Being self-employed means independence — at a price. That price can be financial security. Being your own boss can be great, but unless you’re ready to face what it takes to be independently employed, you might be better off sticking with your day job for a while.

So what does it take? Planning. You don’t necessarily need to be debt free, according to Michelle Goodman, author of My So Called Freelance Life, but you do need a plan or you’ll spend your time hopping from one unsatisfying gig to another rather than living your dream. Michelle’s common sense, down-to-earth advice is to forget writing down lofty ideas and “think tangible, realistic, bite-size pieces.” Having a goal to write the next bestseller is a great ambition, but how are you going to get there? That’s your plan.

For instance, my goal is to become fully self-employed by a certain date. To get to that goal I’ve written down three steps: 1) finish my WsIP, 2) submit articles to Constant Content and other freelance web sites, and 3) monetize my blog once I move it to its new domain. I will break down each of those steps into monthly, weekly and daily steps. After writing those down, its only a matter of working my plan… and perhaps rewarding myself for a job well-done. Although accomplishing a goal should be its own reward, it never hurts to dangle a carrot in front of yourself. (I plan on going out for a nice lobster dinner. 🙂 )

Beyond setting down a series of steps on how you will reach your ultimate writing goal, you’ll need to assess your financial status. One of the best resources I’ve found in helping you figure out just what your financial state looks like is The Money Book. It’s a no-nonsense approach to looking at past financial blunders and realizing there is a better way to handle your money — a way that includes saving for those inevitable emergencies on a fluctuating income.

If you’re over your head in debt, you may need to keep your day job while working on becoming a full-time independent author. J.D. Roth of Get Rich Slowly took his steps into the world of self-employment in stages, cutting back the time he spent at the box factory a little at a time after all his debt, except his mortgage, was paid off. At the moment, that’s my plan as well: pay off everything except the largest debts before leaping into being a full-time freelance/independent author.

Living your dream is possible, but having a solid plan before you drop the safety net can mean the difference between succes and failure on The Road to Writing.

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How we live our spiritual lives is a passion for me, so it’s really no surprise that I’ve begun work on Prayerfully Yours, a book about prayer (obviously :P). I wish I could say that taking care of my spirit is a number one priority and that I have it down to a science, but I can’t. Like my favorite “get organized” mentor, FlyLady Marla Cilley, I’m still working on integrating spiritual disciplines into my life… and I bet I’m not alone.

As Independent Authors, Freelancers, people who “do their own thing,” we often have to work much harder than the “regular Joe” with a typical 9-5 job for financial security (and sometimes just because we’re crazy, driven individuals :D). We get so busy doing we forget that we are human beings. We were created as much to be as to do. As we push ourselves harder to make that deadline, market that book, get our name out into the public view, we often discover that we’ve become drained, that we’re beginning to live fractured lives. Usually this realization comes on quite suddenly, though it wasn’t a sudden shift in what we’ve been doing that caused it in the first place.

So what can we do to slow down and reconnect with our spirit? Keri Wyatt Kent, author of Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity, offered three practices in her guest blog on MacGregor Literary:

  1. Community — “Join a small group, preferably not made up of just other writers. Pull yourself away from the writing for a time to actually nurture others by praying with them, listening to them, simply enjoying them. Celebrate and enjoy the gift of friendship.”
  2. Inspiration — “Walk through a garden or an art museum, read really great writing. In a way, this is a form of listening prayer, of hearing God through beauty… Such activities are not a waste of time—they feed [your] soul, which nurtures [your] writing.”
  3. Sabbath — “You may be worried that taking a day off will put you further behind. But Sabbath actually has the opposite effect.  In the weeks that I don’t write on Sunday, my overall production (measured by words written, articles finished, whatever) is higher than it is on the weeks I don’t stop. And on Mondays, after a day of rest, my productivity soars.”

I would add just one more to the list:

4.  Be present in the moment. Focus on one thing at a time. If you’re working on a project, then focus on that project and not the to-do list that’s growing longer than your arm. If you’re with your family on an outing, then concentrate on what they’re saying rather than on that deadline that’s fast approaching. When you’re fully in the present, you find great new ways of expressing life’s little things in your writing later.

Being an Independent Author is not easy and it’s not always fun, but it can be fulfilling, especially when you remember to care for your spirit while on The Road to Writing.

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