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What's Keeping You Tethered?

"A ship in port is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."
--Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

We allow all sorts of things to keep us "safely" in port. Fear of failure. Fear of success. The pain of some childhood rejection still telling us we don't deserve better.

What's keeping you tethered? And what's your plan for casting off and doing what you must to hoist the sails? For without a plan, the the courage to act on it, the one certainly in this life is that you're staying where you are.


Dorothy Hagan said…
Hey, Colleen.

I have been giving much thought to this exact subject.

What's keeping me tethered? One simple answer. ME. I have looked back and evaluated and realized that I can't blame my lack of progress on not getting a break or poor markets or anything...except my own lack of tenacity and focus.

In one year's time, I wrote two and one half novels. Spent the next years submitting, revising, and LOSING FOCUS. Case in point, for the last five years I have worked as a teacher in very conservative Christian schools, where I keep the one book I have published strictly hidden, because it has some language and sex that would get me shown the door. Bend over Self. And let Me do you good.

The Plan: Quitting the day job. Yes, I am. Not going back next year. Short term: First draft of novel #4 (which is damn good) by end of May. Begin submitting and looking for agent also near end of school. Long term: Just keep writing and submitting. And writing. And submitting. It will pop sooner or later.
Love the fact that you're setting goals and moving toward them!

I was in your same situation, Dorothy, and what I chose to do was use a pseudonym, which allowed me to submit fearlessly while still keeping my income (and a job I enjoyed) until I had a couple of contracts in hand and a book on the shelves. Because I was really committed to making a living as a writer, I used evenings, weekends, and every vacation to complete, edit, and submit manuscripts while working - and this was with a young child and all that involves.

For a really great look at handling the realities (including the financial realities) of an author's life, I highly recommend the book THE CAREER NOVELIST, by Donald Maass. It's one of the most realistic looks at author survival I've read.
Jo Anne said…
My tether is money. The Almighty Dollar. When I was younger, I took two major life hits because of a lack of resources. I'm not married, no family money, no other source of income - and nobody's paying for my retirement but me.

When I found how eratic (and how miniscule) a writer's income can be, I stepped back from it. But now that I'm only a few years from retirement, I'm going for it as a second career. The recent downswing in our economy has brought home to me that I can't count on my investment accounts anyway, so I might as well count on me.

It's always worked before.... :-)
Dorothy Hagan said…
Thanks for the great advice, Colleen. Your work ethic is what I have lacked, but I am planning to rectify that now. And I will most definately be looking for that book.

This blog is really helpful. Tons of thanks for all the efforts.
Thanks so much, Dorothy. And I know you can do it!
Jo Anne,
I think money, or the security it represents, may be the biggest hurdle in the way of many a leap of faith!

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