This is a little bit about my personal journey for the last few years.
Back in 2007, I was very unhappy in my day job.
In fact, I've never been happy in my day job but it paid the bills, enabled me to travel and I met a lot of great people. It was a mixed blessing. I fell into it to repay my student loan and just never escaped. I worked for big companies on computer systems and the work killed any creativity I had in me.
In 2000, I resigned, left London for the Australian outback and swore never to do it again. My adventures were fantastic but eventually I ran out of money and went back. This cycle repeated itself a number of times… then in 2007, I was really, seriously over it. So I began investigating what else I could do with my life that would be helpful to other people and also enable me to escape the day job.
At the time, I read two books that made a huge impact on me. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. They talked about following your dreams and also using affirmations to set your intentions. The problem with changing your life is often knowing what you want instead of the status quo. When I looked at what I had always wanted, it was only ever to be a writer.
So I came up with my affirmation “I am creative. I am an author”.
At the time, I was not creative and I was not an author. Sure, I wrote diaries and letters but I couldn't ever associate the word creative with me. I couldn't even say this phrase out loud at first. I wrote it down and then started whispering it on the commute home (when no one was around!) I also moved to four days a week at the day job to give myself head-space to write my first book.
In April 2008, I self-published How To Enjoy Your Job…Or Find A New One. I was so happy and proud of myself. I thought I was going to change the world and free millions of IT consultants from their miserable lives. I spent money on printing physical books and did some old-style PR with press releases, radio and even national TV.
But I only sold a few books. Literally, a few. Even with national TV. I was devastated, but wasn't intending to give up (as the affirmations were really kicking in now!) I also discovered that the book you write will change your life. It really did change mine as I understood what writing a book was like and I had found my purpose.
But I realized that I didn't actually have a clue about marketing online. I had focused on traditional PR but what about the internet? So I started researching and buying online programs to learn about blogging and podcasting and other things.
After a couple of other attempts at blogging, I started The Creative Penn in December 2008 in order to share what I had learned with the failure of my first book. For example, I had spent thousands of dollars on printing books and then discovered print on demand and selling on Amazon. I was determined that no one else would pay the price I did and I wanted to save people time, money and emotional energy on their own journey. I had also started feeling and becoming creative and the name ‘The Creative Penn' came to me on the commute one day. I claimed the word for myself and have grown into it over time!
Since then I have personally grown as a writer. I have also continued to invest in my education as an online marketer and I absolutely love our online author community. In February this year, I published Pentecost, my first novel, which has now sold over 11,000 copies and remains an Amazon bestseller. The sequel, Prophecy is on its way.
So in August 2011, I decided that my affirmation has been fulfilled. I am creative and I am an author. I wanted to share this with you as encouragement as I know the fears that come with writing and the doubts that plague us. I'm an introvert too and have been crushed and hurt along the way. But I am also truly excited about the years to come as we are part of an incredible change in the industry.
So, all this background is to prepare you for my big news.
I have resigned my day job as an IT consultant in order to focus on my fiction writing and also on The Creative Penn community of writers and authors.
This is not a decision taken lightly (and yes, I have been saving for a while so there is a cushion). This has been coming since that day in 2007 when I just couldn't take any more but it has taken this long to make a change that my risk-averse nature can bear. I can see the way forward as an indie author and also as someone who can contribute to the creative community. I'm ready to make the leap!
I'm looking forward to the next step (which is just slightly outside my comfort zone!).