I had always been called a ‘writer’ amongst friends and family. It was no different at work. An educator by profession, I often crafted stories, essays, and poems for my students to learn from and for my colleagues to use. This earned me the nickname, ‘The Lady of Words’ at my workplace.
Yet, apart from entering a couple of short story competitions, I had never made any serious attempt to write for myself or even think of publishing my writing on a blog! My life was caught up in the daily grind of routine chores.
I needed to find myself again through my Writing
But all that changed around the middle of 2018 when I found myself bedridden and in excruciating pain from a workplace injury. The ordeal carried on for a while and as I battled through the pain, frustration, guilt and helplessness that inevitably results from such experiences, it dawned on me that I was wasting away my creativity. I realised I needed to find myself again through my writing.
Being proactive and determined by nature, I started to chalk out the steps I would take as soon as I was well enough to be up and moving again.
Outlined below are the exact steps I took to begin my writing career
Step 1: I made up my mind that I was going to publish my writing.
This may not seem like a big deal in itself. But, I actually wrote it up and put it on the wall where I would see it every day. This created an undeniable sense of accountability within me. “Accountability separates the wishers in life from the action-takers that care enough about their future to account for their daily actions. “ John Di Lemme
Step 2: I made deliberate changes in my job front.
My current work was leaving me drained of energy and motivation on a daily basis. This was taking a toll on my physical and mental health. So, I decided to break my work week up into two separate teaching jobs at two different workplaces. In effect, what I did was an extreme form of job crafting. This created a strange sense of freedom within me even though I was still working full time. Having two different workplaces allowed for variety in my work week which gave me back my joie de vivre.
Step 3: I found myself some much needed time to write
Don't get me wrong, I didn’t magically find extra hours in the day! I just put each day of the week under a microscope to see exactly where my time and energy was going. I fine-tooth combed every waking minute to see where I could save precious writing moments. I shuffled chores around, delegated household jobs and guarded my newfound writing time zealously. And I wrote, wrote and wrote some more.
Step 4: I grouped my jobs into REAL and DEAD categories
To avoid energy-depleting behaviours, I put writing and other meaningful activities for the time of the day when I felt the most energised. These were my REAL jobs that brought meaning and joy into my life. DEAD jobs, especially any accountability related routine paperwork, I kept for times when I was running on low battery.
Step 5: I joined some freelance writing groups and started networking
Finding your tribe might be a bit of a cliché, but it holds true for us creative souls. I found support, encouragement and advice in these groups. There were freebies and webinars to learn from that kept me productive. And then, of course, I found writing platforms like Medium and Vocal Media. And there was no looking back for me.
And that’s it friends.
I have shared with you my journey towards a new future.
It will make me very happy if you find even one useful thing to take away from my story.
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Jim Rohn
No matter what your journey, dogged determination and careful planning can get you to your destination.