You know what I did last Friday? I walked my son to school, came home at 10am and slept until 3 in the afternoon because I could not get out of bed. And then Sam, my husband, brought me a cup of tea, tore open the curtains, and I let him because apparently sunshine is good for me, even though on days like the one I had on Friday the piercing light from the sun feels like it’s cutting through my skin, taunting me with the joy it brings to other people as I lie hiding under the covers. Depressed.
I got through the afternoon, the evening. I walked the dog, played with my son, made him dinner, put him to bed. And then you know what I did?
I wrote 4,000 fucking words because there is not a chance in hell that the demons in my head are going to ruin my life again. There is not a chance in hell that I’m handing over the control I have over my life now to a mind that doesn’t know what the fuck it wants. There is not a chance in hell that anyone—including me—is getting in the way of what I want my life to look like.
Because not too long ago, there was another country, another sunny day, and another bed that I could not get out of and that day ended differently. That day ended with me asking my husband to make sure that I didn’t hurt myself because I could not stop my mind from plotting it.
And a few years before that, there was another series of days of not being able to get out of bed that led me, eventually, to the edge of a cliff. And a few years before even that, a day that ended with me raiding my parents’ medicine cabinet and finding pills.
The only thing that has ever saved me, the only thing that has ever kept me going is my writing.
I stood on the edge of that cliff and noticed a rock. A rock that said, “I miss you so much. 22nd my sadness day,” and I stepped back, the spell broken. I took a picture of the rock. Of the moment I discovered someone even more of a lunatic than I, someone who had climbed on to a rock in the middle of bloody nowhere and painted a message that made no sense. And I knew I had to write about that.
I had to write about love and loss. My love and loss. I had to write about the kind of love that left a person broken and bloody, questioning whether they could be bothered to keep living. That kind of love. That kind of loss. I went back to my hotel room and I wrote.
But that afternoon many years later when I left my bedroom for the first time in four days and asked my husband for help, I had no such desire to write. My writing had abandoned me, or maybe I had abandoned it, I don’t know. The words weren’t there. The desire wasn’t there. My writing had become a profession, something I did to pay the bills and I wasn’t even doing that very well. Without even noticing it, I had moved so far away from the career that I wanted that I didn’t even know where to begin to find it again. Writing, which had once been the thing that I lived for, the thing that helped me through anger, trauma, grief, loss, pain, everything, was now so unrecognizable to me that I was thinking of quitting and leaving it behind forever. I fired my agent. I fired myself.
I knew I had to sort my shit out. And I knew that I was the only person who could. Because by the time I fell out of love with my writing, the rest of my life was pretty damn near perfect. I had married my husband, a man who is my soulmate, my best friend in the world, and an equal partner in life in every sense of the word. I had the least demanding infant in the world, who continues to be a child who has—and no one believes me when I say this—never had a tantrum in his life. I had become a different person, too. I had learned to walk into my strength, to become bold and fearless, to ask for—no, DEMAND—that life be lived on my own terms and in any damn way I pleased, societal obligations be damned.
And I realized then, that if I wanted the writing life of my dreams, I was going to have to create it the way I had created the rest of my life. I was going to have to fight for it the way I had fought for the rest of my life. That I could have anything I wanted if I was willing and able to put in the work. If I wanted it badly enough.
I did. I do.
It is why I don’t understand people who don’t want to work more than a certain number of hours a day or who use circumstances as an easy excuse to not even try. If you want it badly enough, the hours don’t matter, the circumstances don’t matter. If you want it badly enough, you’ll do whatever it takes. I have always been willing to do whatever it takes.
When I decided I was going to turn my career around, I understood that I was going to have to ignore the seemingly good advice everyone else had for me. I was tired of accepting this false belief that you can have a great family life or a great career but not both, that you can be creative or make money, but not both, that you can choose to speak your truth or write for the majority but not both.
You know what? I did turn my career around. I have an incredible family and a career I love. I am creative and I make money. I wanted a creative career. I have one. I wanted a business. I have one of those, too. My readers are some of the most intelligent go-getters of the writing world who, like me, have zero tolerance for bullshit.
And when the depression comes—and it comes often—it derails me. But it does not defeat me. Not anymore. Never again.
I now have the career where I do whatever the hell I want, on my terms.
But I had to own that. I had to accept the ups and downs that came with that. I had to take responsibility for creating that.
And so do you.
If you can accept that where you are today in your career is something that you have created and are 100% responsible for, then you can begin to understand that you have the power to change it, to create something different, to do whatever it is that you want.
Can you accept that YOU got yourself to this point? That where you are today is a result of your CHOICES?
Yes? Then I can help you change that.
Look, you’re either happy with your writing career or you’re not. You either want to change the way things are or you don’t. There’s no middle ground here. There is no maybe, perhaps, someday, I don’t know.
If you’re happy, great! Keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re not, the time to start changing is upon you. It’s time to decide. It’s time to act.
Reinvent Your Writing Career is ready and waiting for you. Join now.