Dear Kally of MiddleMe,
I enjoyed your articles very much, and although I don’t usually contribute in your comments, I follow your articles religiously.
I come to you today to seek some advice and perhaps you can enlighten my future path ahead. I have been working as a data generalist for many years, more than my fingers can count. My job entails number crunching and putting those figures into graphs and charts for my management’s presentations and productivity reports. You can imagine it is not a fascinating job to do, but it puts good money on the table and help to support my children to college.
As of last year, my children have all grow up and flew from the nest. My eldest son is now living and working in another country, 5 hours flight from mine. My two daughters are happily married and settled down with their own family. I felt that I can finally retire and do something that I really want to do for the first time!
I want to become a freelancer like you, but most importantly, I want to write my own book. I never tell this to my children for fear they will laugh at me. To them, I am the most boring person on earth, but my mind is constantly active, full of imagination, bursting to be let out in words. I don’t need to work as hard as before, maybe some kind of income will be good for me to pay my own rent and bills but I don’t need anything more. I want to have the freedom to write whatever I want but I’m so fearful to take the first step.
What if I can’t get my book published? Or nobody likes my book? Or nobody buys my book? Or I fail as a freelancer? I don’t want to depend my children for money although they do provide a tidy sum of allowance in my bank account every month.
Should I or shouldn’t I? I think I might be senile to want a new change in my life!
Sincerely With Respect,
Thank you for writing to me and trusting me to advise you when you are clearly the wise one here especially you have been through more than I do.
In your email, you have laid out clearly for yourself, so please allow me to summarise for you.
- Financially, you no longer have any heavy commitments
- You have a stable allowance to fall back on if you so wish
- You desire to pursue something more in life
- You hope to write a book
- You want to be a freelancer
What I believe is that you lack the first ‘oomph’ to push you forward to take the 1st baby step. You need that additional boost of confidence. You can choose many ways to go about this but first of all, do believe in yourself and that you can do it. Nobody knows what holds for them in the future, but I can only see positive changes in yours.
If you like, you can take small steps instead of big leaps like resign from your job and invest all your time and money into your book. Cautious small steps like start off with a blog with a few posts/chapters first to see the reactions of your audience. You can see how the market reacts to your content and make necessary tweaks to your style and direction. If you are not comfortable in confiding in your family, try telling a good friend who you know is supportive. He or she can help to keep an eye on your progress, be your sounding board even be a muse to you when ideas get stuck in your head. Even when I’m writing articles for MiddleMe, I have my friends as sounding board and encouragement booster as well.
Being a freelancer, you can try your hand at writing in different genres for different clients. You’ll get honest feedback from editors, ad agencies, companies and even writers themselves who hire you to write for them. They can provide invaluable advice as well as contacts in the publishing world.
If it is all or nothing for you, take a deep breath and go for it. There is nothing like achieving your dreams, whether tiny or huge. It is yours, belongs to you.
I wish you nothing but the best of luck in your future endeavours.