Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


IWSG: Ignoring the flamingo of doubt

Or, Going all the Way Part II.

Some of you may have read my IWSG post from August, where I announced my intentions to put my hectic freelance career on hiatus and focus on writing fiction full-time.

This plan required the support of my credit union, as I’d hoped to remortgage my house to fund this venture, giving myself three years to see progress. Unfortunately, if there’s anything banks don’t like to hear, it’s the words “self employed,” and apparently that goes for credit unions as well.

In spite of my financial rep’s valiant efforts on my behalf, my loan application was turned down. To say this was upsetting would be an understatement of ginormous proportions. This is why I’ve taken so long to give you a proper update–I was devastated, and I didn’t want to drag anyone down with me.

But soon enough, I returned to planning and plotting. If the remortgage idea wasn’t going to fly, there had to be another way. I was already working on plan b when someone near and dear to me stepped forward and offered to cosign.

This gesture moved me to tears, but it wasn’t as simple as just saying yes and going out to celebrate. It was a huge decision. Was I comfortable having someone delay their potential future plans so I could realize my own? In a word, no. It took some convincing, but eventually I realized this person really wanted to help me and that being able to help made him happy. I’m beyond grateful to have been given this chance, and I won’t squander a single second.

The next step was quitting my news director job, which wasn’t as easy as expected. My supervisor convinced me to stay on until next year, giving me a little while longer to save up for my brand new life as a full-time novelist, which will begin in February.

After September’s IWSG post, a few people said they envied the confidence I had in my work, with at least one person suggesting I’m never insecure. Insecure? Nah, I’m terrified. I’ve already had one miserable day where I got completely freaked out about the possibility of failure. And I haven’t even started yet.

But whenever I get scared, whenever that critical voice starts screaming in my head, someone always sets me straight. And often that someone is Chuck Wendig, so I’ll end this post with his advice on what do with self-doubt:

Chuck doubt tweet one

Chuck doubt tweet two

chuck doubt tweets 3
Well said, Chuck. Well said.

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.

1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Mason Canyon

    Love the suggestions for getting over doubt even though doubt is always going to be a part of us I guess. It’s wonderful that you get to realize your dream after all. I’d say the way it turned out proves it was meant to be. You’ll rock it for sure!

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

  2. Alex J. Cavanaugh

    That’s a huge step. I would’ve been hesitant to say yes as well. What an awesome friend. That person really believes in you.

  3. Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor

    That’s wonderful to have someone step forward to help you out! I love the quote about doubting your doubt. That’s really great advice. You’ve got some exciting times ahead of you.

  4. Chrys Fey

    The unknown is always scary. I’m glad that awesome someone offered to co-sign. I hope that this next year goes well for you!

  5. Mary Aalgaard

    I am rooting for you over here in Minnesota. You have it in you to be successful. Congratulations on your bravery!
    Mary at Play off the Page

  6. CD Gallant-King

    Congratulations and I’m so glad to hear that so far, things are working in your favour.

    Of course you’re insecure, afraid. If you weren’t, that means you either don’t care or you’re dangerously overconfident. Being insecure or afraid and overcoming it to do what you want or need to do, that’s impressive, and worth celebrating.

    IWSG October

  7. Heather M. Gardner

    It ain’t over until the Flamingo of Doubt sings! I find your efforts very inspiring so keep your butt in the chair and get to it! One step at a time. One day at a time.

    Keep moving forward.



  8. Samantha Bryant

    I love the idea that doubt is represented by a flamingo. I think mine is a gremlin, chewing on the wires inside my mind.

    I’m sorry to hear that your initial plan to focus on your fiction didn’t fly, but it sounds like you’ve got a very solid plan for the future. I’m excited for you! (and maybe . . .nope, not maybe: definitely a little jealous).

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

    • JH

      Thanks, Samantha! It’s actually the same plan…I just needed help in order to do it, thanks to the antiquated banking system.

  9. Lisa S.

    So happy that things worked out with your loan – congrats! I can only imagine what you will accomplish once you’re writing full-time, as you’re already doing an incredible job now. The future is yours, babe!
    Chuck seems like a wise man. ? That flamingo pic gave me a good laugh.

    • JH

      Chuck is a god in human form.

      Thanks for all your love and support! It means the world to me to have you in my corner.

  10. L. Diane Wolfe

    Congrats on taking steps to write full time. It’s scary to make that commitment and walk away from the security of a job. I did that in 1999 (to be self-employed but not as a writer) and I’ve never regretted it. You couldn’t pay me to work a J.O.B. now.

    • JH

      Thanks, Diane! I did the same, walking away (again) in 2012 to freelance, and now I’m walking away from freelancing.

      It’s terrifying, but I’d be more terrified to spend my life in a cubicle.

  11. Madeline Mora-Summonte

    Excellent news! If anyone can do this, you can. You are creative and strong – you will so rock this. 🙂

  12. Rebecca Douglass

    Congrats on making this work! And on hurdling that flamingo. Bright and pretty and distracting, but still just a bird that has a pea-brain, right?

  13. James Pailly

    Yay! I’m glad you managed to get financial stuff together, and you must have a truly great friend who’d be willing to help you out like that. I just did a little financial re-organizing myself. Coincidentally, I also managed to secure about three years of financial stability to pursue my writing dreams. So here’s to the next three years of progress!

    • JH

      Wow, how amazing to stumble upon someone who’s doing the same thing at the same time, with the same risks. We should start a support group!

  14. Meka James

    Wow, congrats to you on taking the steps to realize your dream. I’m wishing you all the best of luck in this venture. Your friend is amazing for not only believing in your ability to pull this off, but for stepping up where some probably wouldn’t in order to help you get there. 🙂

    Loved the quotes, and they are something I can certainly apply to myself.

  15. Ryan Carty

    You are all about the courage, which isn’t the absence of fear, but pushing on despite it. I’m super excited for you and to see where you end up. I’m wagering on someplace great.

  16. Stephanie Scott

    Thank you for sharing! I was actually getting curious about your next move after reading the original post. I can’t recall if I mentioned, but a writer friend of mine quit her day job and focused her summer on writing. She ended up months later taking a job in publishing that she loves. It was an unexpected outcome, but she likely wouldn’t have had it unless she’d quit the other job first.

    All that to say, onward with your writerly passions! Rooting for you 🙂

    Here’s my October IWSG post: Top 10 Ways to know if you’re ready to share your writing

  17. Anna

    Terror can truly motivate a soul. I have no doubt you’ll succeed,–not because you’re scared, but because you’ve got what it takes. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  18. Diane Burton

    What a wonderful friend!!! Love the Chuck Wendig tweets. Believe in yourself and kick that flamingo of doubt to the curb. You can do it. Wishing you the best.

  19. Patricia Lynne

    Good luck with your plan. I’m sending good vibes that the road is smooth or at least not too bumpy.

  20. Dianne Salerni

    Congratulations on your upcoming life change, and hurray for the wonderful person who helped make it possible for you!

    I’ve never thought of doubt as a flamingo before. Let’s make it the cheap plastic kind so I can kick it around the yard.

  21. C. Lee McKenzie

    “Doubt your doubt.” Now there’s something I can get behind.

  22. dolorah

    No career is worry free; I’m glad you still have the full time writer in the plan. Hard to make any changes these days.

    Good Luck JH.

  23. Roland Yeomans

    Doubt, on the other hand, can make you take a second and third look before you leap, spotting needful things to do before the jump. Harper Lee’s friends helped her financially to live her dream and we got TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. To leap from the nest is the only way we will ever fly. Best of fortune!

  24. JH

    Thanks so much for all your encouragement and support, everyone! I really appreciate it.

  25. Loni Townsend

    I’m so glad that things ended up working out, despite them not being the way you wanted them to. And I think I was one of those people who said I envied your confidence. I guess I just need to shoo away that darn flamingo!

    • JH

      You were Loni, and it’s not a bad thing. I’m glad to come across as confident. I just wanted people to know I’m also human. 🙂

  26. Tamara Narayan

    I love the expression on the flamingo of doubt. It made me laugh. It’s brave to leave your job and go after the full-time novelist gig. I did it, but I didn’t have the pressure of finding the money as my husband has a well-paying job, so good for you!

    • JH

      That’s awesome, Tamara. It’s great your husband was on board with your dream. That doesn’t always happen.

      I actually welcome the pressure, as I think it will help keep me from procrastinating.

  27. Birgit

    I’m sorry I missed this but glad I’m responding now. Being in the industry( a credit counsellor), I was not surprised you were turned down. When I read your previous post, I wasn’t going to say anything and…I hope you don’t mind that I didn’t but I figured the banks would want something more. Actually I’m surprised they will do this with a co-signer. Your friend is truly magnanimous and has total faith in you. When you don’t have faith in yourself, remember what he has done because of his faith in you and that should carry you through. I believe you will be a success and you will be a successful author where you can live on your own success without an outside job. It takes guts to do what you are doing.

    • JH

      Thanks, Birgit. I didn’t understand it myself, since my track record is so good and I had enough in savings to cover the loan (not to mention my house is worth a lot more and I have plenty of equity). But things worked out for the best. I’m kind of used to having to find workarounds for things, so this wasn’t a setback for long.

      Thanks for your kind words and encouragement! And you’re right about the guts part. But it’s far scarier to never try.

  28. Liesbet

    Life (or friends or loved ones) has a way sometimes to offer alternatives when plan A doesn’t work out and often this new development ends up to be the best turn of events! It takes a lot of courage to give up your paid job to become a full-time novelist. I applaud you and I encourage you, Holli! Maybe you can save up some extra cash working those last months unexpectedly… Whenever I think about flamingos, I think about Bonaire, which, as a matter of fact might be a nice destination to focus on full-time writing! 🙂

    • JH

      Thanks so much, Lisbet! I’m touched by your kind message of encouragement. And unexpected cash would be really nice–this is not going to be an inexpensive journey, that’s for sure.

      Funny you mention Bonaire. When Chris and I decided to move to an island, the first one we checked out was Curaçao, and we certainly considered Bonaire. It sounds beautiful.


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