IWSG: Going all the way


One question has made me more insecure than any other.

“How’s the writing going?”

The reason this seemingly benign question used to fill me with horror is simple. How was my writing going? Most of the time, it wasn’t.

Not that I wasn’t writing. Every week I produced thousands of words–for journalism articles, press releases, ads, and websites. By the time I was finished, I rarely had the energy for my own projects. So they–and my dreams of being a full-time novelist–languished.

I always thought it was smart to have a Plan B. Problem was, my Plan B kept taking over. Plan A never got its moment in the sun. It was relegated to my “spare” time, whatever the hell that is.

Frustrated with the corporate world, I quit my day job at the end of 2012. I promised myself I would finally give my own writing a fair shot. Instead my freelancing took over. Before I knew it, I was working 14-hour days again. I was spending more time on my own writing, but it still wasn’t enough. It continued to get crammed into the little remaining space I had left in my day.

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that life is short. It’s too damn short to keep putting my dreams on hold for a Plan B that was supposed to be temporary–it’s been temporary for over twenty years now. I have a crazy idea that–if my credit union agrees today–will finally allow me to go all-in with my career as a novelist.

It’ll be a huge life change, and I’ll definitely have to make sacrifices, but you know what? I’m ready.

When I told one of my friends what I planned to do, she said:

“Can you imagine a world where you would regret doing that?”

Nope. No I can’t. Perhaps this idea isn’t so crazy after all.

While I’m sure I’ll face many insecure days on this journey, what I’m most insecure about is that my bank will say no. So cross your fingers for me, fellow writers! I’m about to go all the way.

I’ll update this post later to let you know how the meeting with my credit union goes. If you could do anything in the world, what would it be?

UPDATE: The jury is still out, as my banking rep needs more information. However, based on his manner and his lack of helpfulness, I’ve decided to wait until my former, long-standing rep gets back from vacation. I think it’s worth waiting a little longer to make sure this is done right. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks so much for the kind words and support. You guys ROCK.

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeThe purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.


    • JH

      Thanks so much, Alex. No matter what happens, I have to go for it. Otherwise, I’ll always be beating my self up and asking, “What if?”

  1. Excellent. Congratulations on your bold move. I hope it all works out with the financial institution.
    Great question. It made me pause a moment. What I really like to be doing is running a children’s theatre program (I have a good start of one here) and writing plays that are produced, not just by me, but in other places who want good scripts with diverse characters.
    Cheers! to the dreamers!
    Mary at Play off the Page

    • JH

      Thanks, Mary. Your plan sounds amazing! It seems like you’re already doing some of it, but if you want to make it a full-time thing, I’m sure there are grants that will support it. Especially if you’d like to focus on diverse characters.

      We need more of what you do!

  2. Fingers crossed that the meeting with the credit union goes well. Life is very, very short so good on you for taking the leap. Your friend’s question is a great one, something that we should all ask ourselves regularly.

    • JH

      Thanks, Ellen. That particular friend has a knack for speaking in quotable quotes. 🙂

      I’m waiting for my previous financial rep to return from holidays, so I have a bit longer to wait, but I hope it will all be worth it, angst included.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Mason! There’s been a slight delay while I wait for my former banking rep to return from holidays, but I hope he’ll be able to help me.

    • JH

      Thanks, Madeline. She ended up changing careers to become a business coach. I think that was a very smart decision on her part. 🙂

  3. Heather M. Gardner

    As soon as I type this note, I will cross all my fingers for you!
    If anyone can make this work…it will be you!



    • JH

      Thanks, Samantha! It wouldn’t hurt to start planning now–saving, coming up with a schedule, dreaming, etc. Not only does it make things easier, it’s also a lot of fun.

      Helps you get through the hard days at work.

  4. Somer

    This is a huuuuge leap and congratulations for taking it! My fingers are crossed for you and I’m certain you’ll do well!

  5. You really hit the nail on the head here. Having a Plan B makes a certain logical sense, but somehow Plan B always seems to stifle Plan A.

    Several years back, I had a meeting with my boss, and he let me drop from full time to part time employment. I cannot say it was the smartest financial move I’ve ever made, but it freed up a lot of time for writing. In that sense, it was the best thing I ever did with my life.

    I hope your meeting with your credit union goes well. I look forward to the update, and best of luck with all your writing endeavors.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, James. Stories like yours are exactly what I need to hear right now. I’m so glad you took the leap!

      Welcome to my blog.

  6. Best wishes with your new (or not so new) adventure. I agree, life is too short to put dreams on hold.

    A friend of mine quit her job last year to focus more on her writing. She’s really good, has an agent, but every book she’s almost sold, the pubs changed minds during acquisition. She eventually chose (had?) to go back to work, but ended up at her dream job in publishing! She is still writing, but had she not quit, she wouldn’t have had the chance to refocus for a new job either. All that to say that risks can pay off in different, unexpected ways.

    Here’s my August IWSG post on my first novel attempt (note I said ATTEMPT). YA Author Stephanie Scott IWSG August

    • JH

      That’s a great story, Stephanie. At first I thought it was a cautionary tale, but it seems to have worked out well in the end.

      One thing I love about today’s writing scene is that so many options are open to us. I want to stick with traditional publishing for now, but if I have an experience similar to your friend’s, you’d better believe I’ll be self-publishing those suckers. 🙂

  7. Wow. That’s an amazing mindset. You are so brave and I’m wishing you the best with your meeting.
    If I could do anything, I’d just like to not have a day job. Yes, I want to write, but I want to do more than that. I see all these other people doing things to help others and wish I had the means, influence, or resources to do the same.
    Again, good luck. You can do it.

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Toi. I know what you mean. I’d love to be more active in the causes I care about as well, and I wonder how people find the time before they retire.

      I guess they make it a priority. Only so many hours in the day.

  8. Nikki

    =) I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed for you! I’ve always admired people who can focus on Plan A so that they don’t have to have a Plan B. It definitely is too easy to get distracted by that “back-up” plan and have it insert itself as a permanent plan.

    It’s so strange for me… people ask me what I would do if I could do anything and I think of SO many things that I love, but I also think of reasons why I wouldn’t want to turn them into a job. Photography, animal rescue, writing, etc. But lately I’ve found myself thinking… I could see myself enjoying the editing process. Being an editor. Having the opportunity to read and polish great stories… after all, reading is what I love probably more than anything. Finding the bravery to even begin to pursue it is another thing, however. =)

    • JH

      Thanks, Nikki! I’m wishing you all the bravery you need, even though you already have courage to spare.

      However, as an editor, I will ask you this…Would you still enjoy editing if you were given stories that needed a lot of work? Stories that couldn’t be saved, except through a massive rewrite? Often those are the works that pass an editor’s desk.

  9. Life is a lot like farming: we harvest out of it what we plant in it. I pray the Credit Union meeting goes well for you. Yet, if it does not, you can write while working. Many of the great writers in the past did it. Heck, I am doing it now — like you, not as much as I would want — but there is an upside to that. Your experiences working give you ideas and stimulus for further writing that you would not have otherwise. Best of luck, Roland

    • JH

      Thanks, Roland. Yep, I’ve been trying the “work while writing” thing for 20 years, and I feel like I’m steadily jogging toward a massive heart attack from stress. It’s just too much. Something has to give, and I really, really hope it will be my day job for a while.

      The fact that my day job is also writing just adds to the challenge. Often it drains that creative well and the last thing I feel like is more writing.

  10. Oh goodness I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you!

    If I could do one thing, it would be to write full time. But like you, I have a plan B that keeps taking over. Sadly for me, though, I don’t have the option of going to the credit union. Lost that chance in 2014 along with a whole lot of other stuff.

    • JH

      Really sorry to hear that, Misha. I admire you all the more now that I know a little about everything you’ve had to overcome.

      You’re a strong, strong person. Never give up on the dream–I believe in you.

  11. Keeping my fingers crossed, Holli!
    You have a great attitude…bold and positive…so you can do this.
    I’ve read your work. You are an AMAZING writer.
    You SHOULD do it full time. 🙂

    • JH

      Aw, thank you so much, Michelle! You made my day. Actually, you made two days, since I’m responding almost a week later and re-reading all the comments here.

  12. I’m so excited for you! Seriously. My heart started beating faster at the end of this post.

    I know exactly how you feel. As a freelancer I also dread that question because I sometimes feel so tired I just don’t have the energy to work on my novel. Working with words can be quite tiring and sometimes I think maybe people who have normal 9-5 jobs may have it easier.

    I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    • JH

      Sad thing is, when I had a 9 to 5, it was still writing and I still freelanced while trying to write novels. I’m a glutton for punishment.

      Thanks for the support, Ula. It’s always nice to hear from someone who knows.

  13. How exciting! I envy your courage (though I’m sure you’re terrified as well). I’m sending all my happy thoughts as well as my good intentions. Shoulders back, head up, forward ho!

    • JH

      Very much so, Ryan, but then I realized it’s MY money. If they won’t be reasonable about it, I’ll find someone who will. Someone will want my business.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I read it right before I went to the meeting, and it was exactly what I needed.

  14. Well, I’m in your corner with this decision. And I want to help. I can’t send more than virtual support and the occasional promo assist when you need it, but I can offer to beta read if and when you need that.

    Congratulations on making a major decision to reach that goal. You’re right about life’s shortness. Go for it! And yay!

  15. Knock it out of the ballpark! I hope the meeting goes well and the plan goes better.

    I think in many ways I’m already living the life. I get to work at writing just as much as I want, and then go hiking. Only thing I’d change (and that will change in 2 years when my husband retires) is more hiking 🙂 Which isn’t good for the writing, but is better for my waistline 😀

    • JH

      That sounds like a lovely life, Rebecca. I’m sure the hiking helps with your writing in lots of ways, including keeping you healthy.

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. I’m so happy to read this! You’re going to do brilliantly. It’s a big step. It’s a little scary. But it’s worth it. And I can’t wait to see what you come up with. I’m also hugely jealous and if I could do the same thing, I definitely would. Congratulations ams good luck! 😊

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Tee. I have one major asset (besides some savings): my house. So if this goes forward, I’ll be putting my equity on the line. I’m sure a lot of people would tell me that’s ill advised.

      My point is, there’s usually a way to pull off whatever you want to do, whether it’s grants, loans, selling your belongings (which I’ve done), breeding fabulous cats, etc. 🙂 It’s just never easy if you’re not independently wealthy, and it comes with some frightening sacrifices.

  17. Ug! I know exactly what you’re talking about. Sadly, Plan B is the only one paying right now. And even if it sucks the soul right out of my, that’s what my family can support at the moment.

    The trick for me is finding a way to still be a writer when feeling like an alien in my own body.

    • JH

      I hear you, Charity. If my banking rep doesn’t agree with this new plan and I can’t find anyone who will, I’m still in the same boat with you.

      Plan Bs pay the bills.

  18. Tina Scowen

    No statement can be more true Holli! Life is far too short and if you have a passion and talent to follow your heart I say go for it!
    Best of luck and I will cross all my fingers for you!

    • JH

      It’s so easy to do, Doreen. Freelance has a direct and nearly immediate payoff, while most fiction is a lot more nebulous. Makes sense we’d chase that carrot! It’s difficult to say no when you don’t know if a client will give you another chance when you really need the work.

    • JH

      Thanks, Michelle. I quickly realized the guy they had me meet with was not the right person for me to talk to, so now I’m in waiting mode again.

  19. Duuuuuuuuuuude saw you on IWSG and am totally here to support your jump in the pool. I can totally relate to Plan B taking over … ugh totally get it. Wishing you luck and congrats on taking no half measures. Wishing you luck and awesome moments ahead.

  20. Good luck with taking the big step, wherever and however. Thanks for sharing this because I know many of us find ourselves facing similar choices.

  21. I don’t believe in regrets so if you can think ahead 20 years and say you were ok with your decision not matter how it turns out the. You did the right thing but if you chose not to do something and then20 years later you look back and lament…not good. I hope the loan or credit line comes through for you and you fulfil all you deserve.

    • JH

      Thanks, Birgit. I really regret not giving this a try already, so I think this is the right decision for me. Will hopefully have (good) news soon!

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