When was the last time you completely changed your life? If you have, I bet you experienced a large amount of pessimism from the people around you. When I quit my job in 2009, I had no idea what to do next. The weight on my shoulders was gone. I no longer had to deal with the negativity, but how was I going to pay my bills?
Literally, upon walking out the door, a friend called and said he had a job for me. Completely unplanned, kismet. I had pondered freelancing as a developer for some time, trying to prepare an exit from my old company. It was becoming a reality.
Most people thought I was crazy.
Friends and family members all questioned my decision. Some people were supportive, but the majority would keep asking questions.
Are you sure you can do this?
How are you going to pay the bills?
You really should come work over here?
We can get you a job at this place?
Questions that led to me questioning my decision. Learning from that experience, I decided two things.
First, if I was going to successfully start writing, I couldn’t tell anyone. For a while, only myself and my councilor knew about the plans. I would eventually tell my partner, Kat, who had known about my interest in writing, but didn’t know how much. She was extremely supportive and agreed that I shouldn’t tell anyone. I needed my confidence.
Secondly, I believed that opening up my decision after writing several stories would alleviate any negativity surrounding the decision to write. It would show that this wasn’t an unplanned idea. I was going to write and there was nothing stopping me.
My circle grew by two people. Ashlee and my brother, Adam. Both thought it was an excellent idea and gave me support along the way. Ashlee became one of my editors along with Kat, until I can afford the services of a professional. Without them, I would probably keep my stories stashed away, wondering if they were good enough to publish.
The secret worked.
The support I have received recently is quite amazing. I announced my journey on Facebook, after two years of silence on the platform, and received many well wishes. My family and friends were supportive. The clients from my development job have been supportive.
It was a surprise.
I think the positivity results from being able to say, “I’m going to be a writer. I’ve written X amount of books over the past x years.”
I haven’t received any push back. There are a few people I can tell are upset that they weren’t included in the beginning, but I have no regrets. It reminds me of a quote from The Office, “Secrets, secrets are no fun. Secrets, secrets hurt someone.” I didn’t tell anyone because I did this for me. I needed a positive support structure and needed to prove my writing to myself. If you do keep it secret, just remember, you will likely hurt someone by not including them, but you are doing this for you, not them.
What’s the point? If you’re starting out, you don’t have to tell everyone. Find the support system you trust. It could be one person or ten. Make sure those people have your back. It will make the transition much easier. And, most importantly, make sure they are people who will tell you the truth. Is your writing good? Is it structured well? Does it need edits?
If you don’t have a network with these skills, you can always reach out to author groups. The worst thing you could do, and this is why I spent two years working on my process, is to publish a book that is poorly structured or edited. You’ll lose your readership before you even get started. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this happen with other independent books. You can tell they are proud of their story, but it needs work, and by that I mean not just a little work.
Again, find your support system. Those who you can count on to make your work better and support your writing dreams.