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    Preparing to Take the Leap

    From my surfing online, reading ezines, and receiving Newsletters from writers and editors all over the planet, I have deduced that writers usually fall into five categories.

    1. The part timers without the nerve to leap;

    2. The stay-at-home parents (usually moms) attempting to write with babies underfoot;

    3. The student who hasn't learned the hard knocks yet;

    4. The starving artist; and

    5. The full-timers who have several books on the market ACTUALLY making a living at selling their words.

    Schools of thought vary on the above categories, but what I usually hear Type 1 and 2 say before too long is: "I want to be a full-time writer."

    I can be found amongst the throngs of those pining for living my dream of writing for a living - a real living. And I discount no one in any category. I doubt many of us planned the details of where we exist today in the grand scheme of things. We just got there and wish for greener pastures. We whine (me, too), we dream, we talk, we wish, and very few of us actually set out with a deliberate, clearly defined plan of achieving our desire.

    So what is holding us back (besides turning into Type 4)? What is stopping us from writing down (after all, we ARE writers) an actual step-by-step plan of reaching the pinnacle of achievement, calling ourselves career writers. Wouldn't we love having a business card saying "Writer" pure and simple without feeling inclined to explain, "Well, it's what I want to be one day, but today I really am a ..." or "It's a hobby that I would like to do full-time one day after I..." I know, believe me I know. I do it, too.

    So, do something about it. Set your goals for the week, the month, even the end of the year. Set a chapter a week on your novel, ten articles a month, a short story per week, or even an entire book by New Year's Day. Then mark a calendar, set it so it stares at you daily, and go to work. Develop that routine.

    As for income, like many of you, I work an 8-5 job to put food on the table and clothes on the younguns (that's what we call 'em in SC). Yes, we do have responsibilities. But how much of our income do we "squander." How many drive-through hamburgers, video rentals, and sale purchases do you make that could be stopped and the funds syphoned into a "Writer Savings Account?"

    While you have the means to save, do so to have the nest-egg necessary to make the leap. Even better, take an allotment out of your paycheck and increase it everytime you get a raise. Put your little writing checks in the bank.

    Pay down the bills - AND don't accumulate anymore. Put Yourself on a cash only basis style of living and watch the bills go down.

    Set dates. Yes, set a goal date, or several small goals to lead to the ultimate one of taking the leap. With a concrete target you might take your dream more seriously. Think of little ways to mark off your goals: kids going to first grade, kids going to college, husband retiring, wife getting a promotion, paying off the car, landing a telecommuting job, reaching a figure in the bank account, upgrading your computer, attending a conference.

    I made my goals. I actually set December 2002 as my date to make the leap. I took an allotment out of my paycheck. I talked to a financial counselor (free) for advice on how to get where I want to be. I took positive steps. And I feel so good about it.

    Your situation could be totally different, but no one is without options in determining his/her life. Think seriously about where you are and where you want to be. Set goals. Dig in and get there. In five years you will be five years older, and you could be writing or still wishing you could be a writer. Which situation will be yours?

    Copyright © 2001 C. Hope Clark

    C. Hope Clark is a freelancer by night and Administrative Manager by day with the Federal government. She is editor and owner of FundsforWriters, a web site, book and two newsletters about grants, awards, contests, markets, fellowships and nonprofit partnerships for writers. Hers is a world about funding financial means for writers to remain afloat doing what they love - writing. She lives in Columbia, SC with two teenage sons and her Federal agent husband. Visit her sites - http://www.fundsforwriters.com and http://www.chopeclark.com; then subscribe to her newsletters -- mailto:FundsforWriters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and mailto:FFWJunior-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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