Today was a really big day for me. I signed an exclusive, long-term content writing contract with a new website! I’ll be writing tons of pages for their business, blogging and copywriting regularly, and producing monthly e-newsletters all from the comfort of my home. This is huge!
The last “long-term” writing gig I had was a couple years back and lasted just a little over three months. I quickly abandoned that gig once I got full-time work out the area. As much as I enjoyed writing, I rationalized that it could never pay the bills and decided to focus on my “real job” instead. I would accept one-time writing projects here and there, and draft copy for drip marketing emails and blogs when I could, but committing to an ongoing thing wasn’t really in my plans.
Fast forward several months later, and I kind of hated my real job. I really missed writing. But my confidence was so low (and my fear, so high) that I was paralyzed by self-doubt. I liked writing and I thought I was pretty decent at it, but putting myself out there for others to see was a whole other experience that I just wasn’t ready to bear.
Continue fast forwarding, and I suddenly find myself unemployed. I’m overjoyed to be out of the job I hate, but terrified of my newfound free time. I go through stages of excitement, then anxiety, and then depression. Finally, I snap out of woe-is-me mode and I have a brand new perspective: this time off is a great opportunity! Here was a chance to pursue my writing again, and to really take it seriously. So I called myself a writer, started a blog, and began applying for writing gigs in the area. But what truly made it all possible was me finally believing that I could actually do this.
Even though we all know that believing in ourselves is the key to success, it’s still much more easier said than done. I’m pretty excellent at doubting myself. The hardest thing in the world for me to do once I write anything (and everything) is to hit “Publish,” “Send,” or “Submit.” Because most of the time, following a dream or chasing a goal is a complete gamble. You never know what’s going to happen after you take that leap of faith. And there’s just no surefire way of guaranteeing that it’ll work out in your favor.
Along the way, there’s also the very high chance that you’ll be criticized. People may question your skill, talent and qualifications. And you’ll probably want to quit a million times because of it. But don’t! A simple, yet oddly profound, line from one of my favorite books, This Year I Will, states: “You’re an adult.” This means you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. So ignore the critics, never mind the haters, and silence all those little voices in your head telling you that you can’t. You have to believe that you can. You have to bet on you.
If I lost this gig tomorrow, I’m sure I’d be really bummed. But for today, I’m super proud of myself and I don’t care who knows it! I took a chance on myself and it paid off. Happy is an understatement.