Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I walked out of the building feeling elated rather than forced out. What could have turned out to be devastating actually gave me hope for better things to come.

The Vice President of the company I worked for had just laid me off. It was not a surprise, but expected since the day they hired a controller. One of the conditions of his taking the position was that his assistant was to come with him. I was the existing assistant, and he didn’t need two.

I was formally given my exit notice, but the Vice President had more to say.

He told me I could never make the money I wanted by working for someone else, and I would always work under the threat of being laid-off. Being a woman you just can’t make the money you want. He used his wife as an example of a woman who was independent, making her own decisions. His wife had a part time job working in the medical field, but she started her own multi-level jewelry business. By creating her own business she also gained independence and freedom.

His parting words of encouragement were to remember that this is an opportunity to change my life, to start my own business, to become self-reliant and to no longer depend on an employer for an income. I felt that this was a challenge that needed to be taken seriously. Of course, I wanted to make more money.


The words he had spoken would lead me on another path, if I allowed and accepted them. What he had said made sense. I had, up to this point, lived a life of dependency. If I wasn’t dependent on a husband for money, then I was dependent on a job. I had not thought that I could create a business or an income for myself any other way.

For the next few days I racked my brain to come up with some logical business ideas. I needed to figure out what I loved to do. Then the questions started pouring from my mind. What could I do? How would I start a business of my own? Did I have enough experience in any field to begin a business? What did I love so much that I would want to do it? Did I have the courage to begin my own business? I spent a lot of hours and days in my head, but was left without a usable idea.


While I was in this thought mode, one of my neighbors stopped by to say hello, and told me he had a word processor for sale. An old one, but it still worked. I decided to buy it, thinking that I could write.

Writing had never been a dream of mine and never something I even thought of doing. The only time I remembered writing was when I was 10 or 11. We had a project at school. We were told to write a short story and the next day read it out loud to the class. At the appointed time, I proudly stood in front of my class and read my short story. I was thrilled to share it with others and excited when they applauded.

Remembering this, I decided to put the wordprocessor to good use. I wrote the beginnings of three novels, a children’s book and a self-help book.

I contacted an editor who was also a writing teacher and of course a writer himself.

He was impressed with what I wrote and said it was nice to finally talk to someone who actually had the talent to write. He then told me not to attend classes, even his, and not try and edit my writing. He wanted me to write creatively and not stop. He would coach me whenever I felt I needed advice or confirmation that I was doing good and he would charge me a minimal fee. All he wanted me to do, was to write, write, and write.

I felt honored that he said those things to me. Though I had been looking for a new way to earn an income, I never considered this a business opportunity, nor did I think about being paid for the books I wrote. Maybe it is a short attention span, but I did not finish anything I wrote. Even so, I loved to write. I loved the words I had written and at times was even excited at the outcome of the story.


Meanwhile, I was out of a job and without a paycheck and I knew there was no feasible or practical way that the writing I was doing would lead to an income. There was no getting around it, I was very quickly running out of money and I had to do something. At the time, I had it in my head, that I would never go on unemployment. I was completely capable of finding a job and would not make the government pay while I looked.

So, I found a job, went to work and resumed receiving paychecks. Instead of writing I was involved in a job. My writing suffered and nearly ended. It was a pattern I repeated and would repeat many times again.


I would like to say that I’ve had a marvelous revelation, but alas I cannot. I still work for a paycheck which is minimal, dreadful and abusive. I write because I love it and because there are so many thoughts and words I must get out. My writing is a source of happiness as is sharing it with others.

I have learned that far from providing instant gratification, writing does not produce immediate success. It is time consuming and the rewards are not quick. I have to finish (and it can take a very long time) before I am paid.

Changing the way I earn money and the amount of money I earn can only happen if I believe. Believing that I can be the master of my work and the money I earn is essential to moving from dependence to independence.

  • Do you find yourself repeating patterns?
  • Does it seem impossible to change?
  • Have you given up a dream or using a talent to work for a paycheck?
  • Decide how you can make new choices and different choices, even if they are small steps.

1 comment:

  1. Joanna, I too would love to write for my living but am stuck at the starting gate. I don't know why. Perhaps it's fear of rejection...or ...i don't know. But...but...I continue to write because I love it. It's my clarity...it allows me to take the jumble inside my head, make sense of it, and then read it myself to understand what makes me tick. That is a gift, I think. I remember telling a friend once, that a perfect relationship for me would be me and my partner, sitting in bed with our laptops, writing about our undying love for each other. I do it so much better with written word! Keep writing. It make not make you your next million but it will continue to sooth your soul.