Goins, Writer

On Writing, Ideas, and Making a Difference

How I Became a Full-time Writer

Today is my last day of work before launching out on my own as a full-time writer. It’s also Good Friday, a day of new beginnings only made possible by something else ending.

Pro writer

Photo credit: gilles chiroleu (Creative Commons)

Bonus: When I became a full-time writer, I found my calling. Want to know how to discover what you’re meant to do? Click here for a free download.

Today is the result of years of hard work and hustling, culminating in a dream finally come true. It’s a good day, but one not without its cost.

When people ask me how I did this, how I became a writer, and what advice I have for them, I usually caution them. Pursuing a dream is hard and costly. It requires lots of energy and dedication, but it can be worth the effort.

These days, most people I meet are talking about their dreams. They want to launch out into their life’s work or pursue a calling, and they’re doing it all wrong.

They think they need to take a giant leap out into the unknown when, in fact, the opposite is true. It’s all about small steps over time.

Step 1: Turn pro

Most of the work of a dream is committing to it in the first place, deciding to stop acting the amateur and do the work of a pro.

For years, I played around with writing. I wrote when I felt like it and told myself little lies about how I’d be a writer… some day. I wasn’t taking my craft seriously.

Then one day, a friend asked what my dream was. When I said it was to be a writer, he said these words that changed my life:

You don’t have to want to be a writer. You are a writer; you just need to write.

So I started calling myself a writer. Everywhere I went, I introduced myself as “Jeff Goins, Writer,” even put it in email signatures and on my Facebook page.

And you know what? I started acting like it. Eventually, I even began to believe it. Turns out sometimes you do have to fake it before you make it.

The lesson here is simple: If you wait for someone to give you permission to start pursuing your dream, you’ll be waiting a long time. You have to begin before you think you’re ready.

Step 2: Practice in the margins

After I decided to pursue my dream, I still had to find the time to do it. Working a full-time job and having a wife and other commitments, I didn’t have unlimited free time. I had to find time to practice in the margins of life.

For me, that meant getting up early. Like, 5:00 a.m. early. Every morning, I would wake up, get my coffee, and write for two hours. At first, this was difficult; I had to force myself out of bed and downstairs before the sun rose. But eventually, it became habitual. I did it without even thinking about it. And soon, what started as a discipline became a daily joy.

By doing this, I learned the excuse I had given myself — “I don’t have enough time” — wasn’t true. I did have enough time; it was just hiding in “inconvenient” places. I learned that the secret of mastery is frequency, not quantity. It’s more about small, regular repetitions than volume of work.

Step 3: Build a bridge

When my side gig starting yielding results — getting published, having 10,000 people subscribe to my blog, being asked to speak at conferences — I didn’t jump ship.

I stuck it out with my day job, partly because I loved the work and partly because my family was counting on me to not flake out. I didn’t want to dive into a dream prematurely, and I didn’t want to burn any bridges with my employer of six years.

So I took my time, building a bridge between my day job and my dream job, finding ways for the two complement each other. This meant applying what I’d learned from my blog to our organization, while practicing my craft at work so I could do it better on the side.

Wherever I could, and always with my employer’s permission, I recycled materials, using my time and opportunities efficiently. I refused to believe the lie that pursuing my dream and doing my job well were mutually exclusive.

When it came time to tell my boss that I would be moving on (after a lot of deliberation over this), he told me he was proud of me. We both got emotional, said a prayer together, and agreed to stay in touch. I realized then that because I included him in the process, he’d been cheering me on the whole time.

What I learned & what’s next

These past two years, I’ve learned a lot about honoring commitments, pursuing a dream, and launching a business. As I look back on this journey, three lessons stick out in my mind that are worth sharing:

  1. Don’t wait for permission. You have to start acting like a pro before others will believe it.
  2. Don’t jump too soon. There may be an opportunity to build momentum on the side so you can minimize risk once it’s time to launch. People are counting on you; don’t take that lightly.
  3. Don’t believe the people closest to you want you to fail. Some of the people you fear the most could be your biggest allies. They were for me.

In this next season of life, I’ll be focusing on writing books and speaking more. I’ll also continue to create new courses and eBooks for all you lovely readers. But today is about reflection and celebration. So that’s what I’m doing, appreciating that it took to get me here (and how grateful I am to everyone who helped).

The secret to launching your own dream

If this inspires you or makes you think you might want to do this some day, allow me to share something with you.

The real secret to launching out as a full-time writer or full-time anything is will. It comes down to owning your calling and committing to the work, however hard it is.

For me, this meant I had to stop saying “I don’t know how” and start saying, “I’ll figure it out.” It meant learning to be more patient and perseverant at the same time. And you know what? I did figure it.

And with God’s help, some faith, and a little luck, you will too.

Free Bonus: Want to know how to tell if you’ve found your calling? Click here for a free download.

What’s your dream and the story of how you’re pursuing it? Share in the comments.

About Jeff Goins

I write books and help writers get their work out into the world. I am the best-selling author of four books, including The Art of Work. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity.

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  • Congrats, Jeff! Really cool that you made it happen. 🙂

    • Well done, Jeff. Hope it all goes well. Having built up such an enormous blog following, I’m sure it will!

    • Thanks, Laura!

  • Tyler Anne

    Congrats and great article! My only dream has always been to become a full time writer so I take inspiration from your journey and advice. I especially love this piece: The secrete of mastery is frequency, not quantity. Great post!

  • Hearty congrats, Jeff. Yes, it was a series of small steps over time. But today is still monumental. Thanks for creating and inviting your tribe along for the journey. We’re blessed and inspired because of it. Your success is ours; and our (future) success is (attributed to) yours. God bless.

    • Wow, Diane. Thanks. That means a lot. I hope to make you proud.

  • Great article! Congrats!

  • Congratulations Jeff!
    Did your company give you a cake or a fountain pen?

    • Hah! No, but my wife will give me a cake tomorrow (for my birthday). Does that count?

      • Yes, it counts. Are there enough candles to start a bonfire? And, Happy Birthday.

  • MargieL

    My dream is to take my gift for breaking concepts down and communicating them, my gift for writing, and the gift of my life along with all I’ve learned through it, to help people. In a nutshell, I want to create shortcuts for people to healing and higher living…on as many levels as I can. I’ve started doing this on my blog http://www.LifeLifted.Org.

  • Great advice and a super, huge congrats Jeff!!

  • Alice

    Without your encouragement through your own blog I never would have started mine. Even though circumstances have made it difficult for me to write as frequently as I’d have liked lately I have not let go completely and still managed a small output. Time and energy should improve and you still inspire me to carry on, make me believe that anything is possible if I keep at it. Well done and praying blessings on your new direction. Thank you

  • Jim Nolan

    Way to go, Jeff. Thanks for passing on all this great information. It’s just invaluable.

  • Ken

    Thank you for writing and sharing in the margins. I’m very glad that I started reading your advice regularly in 2012. Best of luck. You deserve it.
    Ken

  • 21stcenturyconfusion

    Hi Jeff,

    Great post idea! Between you and Michael Hyatt, how could anyone fail at their dream if they desire it, will dedicate to it, stick with it, and learn from you two how to avoid some of the common pitfalls and to use tha tools, ideas, and encouragement that each one of you provide!

  • So thrilled for you, Jeff!

    Thank you for the example you set for us all. Your journey is inspiring thousands of us.

    Cannot wait to see what amazing things God has in store for your future. Keep confidently owning the calling He has for you!

    I’m cheering for you!

    • Thanks, Crystal. You’re an inspiration right back. So we’re even. 😉

  • Claire

    Hi Jeff 🙂 My dream is pretty much your dream, only I’m a few years behind! I’ve been watching you grow and admiring your work and hope that one day we can collaborate. I wish you every success with your writing and the wonderful business opportunities that have transpired from it. Congratulations!

  • You have done such a good job and are a great example of how to pursue your dream responsibly. Congrats, Jeff!

  • Diane

    Thank you Jeff, every time I read your blog, I take away faith, and confidence. My dream is to write a book, so I too can share my experiences with the world. Congratulations, and blessings to you and your family.

  • prozakky

    This was a brilliant read Jeff. I seem to be struggling with forming a ‘Good’ Routine especially since I blog. You mentioned getting up at 5am, what time to you actually shut down from the net and call it a night?

  • Amy

    Thank you so much for this post! This hit me like a ton of bricks! I too want to be a writer and help others realize their dreams. I can’t wait to share your words of wisdom to the readers on my blog. Thank you again for giving me the inspiration I needed!
    Amy
    https://thestayathomemomsdigest.com

  • Neil Harris

    Congrats, Jeff. This new phase of your life is something that your readers will be following. I find it insightful that you have been blessed to bridge your previous job and your writing.

  • Ginger

    Thank you for your gentle advice. Congrats and I look forward to reading more from you and motivating myself to “get there”.

  • Susana

    Jeff, I just wanted to thank you for your inspirational words. You have given me the push I needed to ‘stop behaving like an amateur’ and start acting as a professional writer. All my best wishes to you and your family, I am thrilled that you are finally living your dream.

  • I love this! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 How encouraging, and great advice.

  • Inspiring, Jeff. Maybe one day, I’ll find myself in love with writing. As of now, I’m still searching. 🙂

    • No you’re not, Vincent. You’re hustling! And I can see.

      • I don’t know, love is such a strong word after all! Perhaps in some ways I love writing, but it’s too soon to tell. I’ll get back to you on that in the future.

  • Linda

    I want to tell you Jeff that you your blog that I just I read has inspired me very much. My story is that I have loved to write since I was Nine yrs old and I have written some and mostly poetry but My whole life I have been sitting around saying I want to write magazine articles and rave about how I want to do that and I want to be that writer I know I am and I feel I was meant to , as if God gave me that gift of it, and maybe that is why I have had this urge all this time, but….I have allowed issues in my life hinder me from ever truly pursuing it. I have had enough of talking and now I seriously want to just do it. I stumbled upon your blog I don t even know how, but how glad I am because you are the mentor I need to give me that boost of motivation and so I am taking that online course, then I am going to write articles for free online, then find paying ones when I can build my confidence that I can do this, and just start small and go from there. Thanks for you blogs.I am enjoying them very much. Linda

  • Hi Jeff! This article really has inspired me. I really feel it has been used by God to give me a kick-up-the-backside…. Always a good thing! A few moments after reading it, I then read the UCB Word for today… A British Christian website and this is what it read….’ 2) By fulfilling your life’s assignment. Jesus said, ‘I have glorified You on earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do’ (John 17:4 NKJV). In the final audit you will stand before God and He will ask you, ‘What did you do with the gifts I gave you? Did you fulfil your assignment on earth?’ In that moment, nothing will be more important than how you answer that question.’

    God encourages us through each other and he confirms it… as he has for me through the UCB site. Thanks for this article and for pointing out that writing is a process:) Congrats on going full-time. Mitch.

  • I’ve been writing my blog for a couple of years….trying to figure that out.

  • Micki

    Congratulations, Jeff! I learned about you through Platform University, but your story really resonated with me. I have my own dream of becoming a grant writer, speaker and organizational development consultant. I am currently working a “day job” where I can occasionally practice my skills, and work “in the margins” on my dream career, but am working toward the day when I can quit that job and pursue my dream with more intensity. Hopefully, I am only about 2.5 years away! I really feel that God is pulling me toward my dream career.

    Good luck, and I will continue to follow you for inspiration!

    Micki
    thegrantchat.blogspot.com
    @lakeviewgrants

  • In middle school, I wrote the beginning of a mystery. For 20 odd years, my Dad kept asking me to finish the book so he could know who the “bad guy” was! 🙂 That’s the short version of my becoming (dare I say it?) a writer! (Yes, I love your step 1. 🙂 )

  • Hee Jeff, I love your examples and your wrestlings.
    They teach me to be open to my own tribe and readers. Thanks for everything and every word you have spoken already. Bless Silvana

  • JEFF!! I LOVE IT!! Wow, I’m so doggone thrilled at this! I LOVE dreams! Better than that, I love fulfilled dreams and the guts to share the journey with others. You’re awesome man!! Thanks for this inspiration.

  • This is terrific article. Your words really hit home with me because I am in that stage of just getting started, but I too, tell people I am a writer, despite what else I do to make ends meet. I write and read things like this everyday. I know after years of hardwork I will become an overnight success. I’m just a few thousand hours short of 10,000 to perfect my craft.

    • Wow. That’s a lot of work. Well done, Neale!

  • Happy for you, Jeff! All the best — and Happy Easter!

  • CF Sherrow

    Thanks for the honest and inspirational words! I can relate – it took me 5 years to write my first novel while working as a physician assistant in a very busy clinic. Took early retirement and worked hard at writing for another year and now the novel is under contract. The second one is in revisions and the third is just getting started. I hope to have my website up and running in 6 weeks or so. God is good at allowing me to pursue my dream of not only writing but counseling. More than allowing, He pushes me to be my best for Him. And I tell people I am a writer, not just a retired PA!

  • Renee Baude

    Happy Birthday Jeff! Thank you for making a difference in the world! Whatever you do in this world will be remarkable. In TW’s you have inspired and encouraged us to make our own difference. Be Blessed.

    • I’m honored, Renee. You are definitely making your own dent in the universe. Keep up the great work!

  • Colleen Shine Phillips

    This post is literally a God-send. It reflects what I know in my heart and needed the courage to do. And today is my birthday! Which is a huge landmark considering which one it is. Thank you so, so much. And, as Crystal said, I am thrilled for you, also. Hope to have the privilege to meet you one day. Perhaps when I am up in the U.S. or maybe….you could host a conference here in Chile! A Blessed Easter to you.

    • Awesome, Colleen. Happy birthday! Mine is in two days.

  • So exciting! Thanks so much for sharing your journey and encouraging us!

  • Kathy Brunner

    Jeff, Congratulations on reaching a dream well deserved. Thank you for encouraging others to remain focused and realize it is a step by step process more than a leap into oblivion. Like Jon Acuff realized, there is a way to transition between what you are currently doing and what you want to be doing more of and it just takes a deliberate choice and self discipline to make it happen. Have a blessed Easter. This day will be the beginning of a new “life” for you as well.

  • Jeff, I’ve been following you awhile, and haven’t commented yet but this is BIG and I wanted to make sure to say CONGRATULATIONS! I work as a writer full time too, and as scary as it is, it’s the best thing ever, and a true blessing. Welcome to the club! Frankly, I kind of always thought of you as a full time writer already! Again, huge congrats!

    • Thanks, Katie. Just started following you on Twitter.

  • Wonderful post, Jeff. Congratulations, I’m sure this is a thrilling day for you.

  • Congratulations, Jeff! I recently started following your blog and believe the reason for your success is because you are willing to take a mentor role. Because of bloggers like yourself, I have decided to be more strategic about my own journey to becoming a full-time writer.
    Thank you!

  • BRO, congrats! Honored to have met you when i did, your life and words have definitely BLESSED me. Thank YOU! So i GO! bendiciones friend!

  • Bob

    Congratulations Jeff. You are an inspiration to me. I hope to be able to do the same some day.

  • Marko

    Brought a tear to my eye. I want to do the same this year, this post will be my inspiration.

  • Dawn Muench

    So happy, grateful and excited for you!!

    • Thanks, friend. The gratitude is mutual.

  • Peter Paluska

    Simply well done, Jeff.

  • Mohamed Kharbach

    wow inspiring story, thank you Jeff for sharing, I am going through the same process and I have really learned a lot from your experience, thanks a lot again

    • Glad to hear that, Mohamed. happy to share what I’m learning if it helps you.

  • Mrunmayee Pandhare

    Great article! I write blogs whenever i feel like..becoming a writer has been on my mind for quite sometime now…liked what u mentioned abt “acting like a pro” and “using writing at workplace too”…I’m starting with baby steps to achieve tht.. Ur an inspiration…Thanks for sharing this!

  • Thanks for the twitter. I have been writing full time for nearly a year. Have been retired nearly ten years but had to keep working. When I hit 75, I quit. My blog is mrsisola.com on wordpress. Need lots of direction.

  • Congratulations, Jeff. Enjoy this new adventure.

  • Joe A.

    Congratulations Jeff! What an inspiration! I am in the same boat as you were when you started pursuing your dream. I’m employed full time, I wake up early in the morning to go to work and have a family to tend to. Finding time to practice (plus recently became a student of your course last week) in the margins can be a challenge but I’ll figure it out. Great post and God bless!

  • HUGE congrats to you Jeff. It’s been a thrill over the last couple years since My Escape Velocity and Problogger watching you grow and develop and conquer. Can’t wait for what’s next for you and your family.

  • Well done; yes it is quite a step becoming a full time writer and I did make the leap as circumstances pushed me a while back! Mine wasn’t quite as ordered as yours 🙂 I think frequency and quantity are both good – it’s like exercising, the more you flex the creative muscle the stronger it becomes. I write masses and then pick the best. For me the greatest thing I have learned is patience, responsibility and not expecting something for nothing. It really is a step by step process that cannot be rushed and in some ways is the antithesis of so much advice published on the net. You know the Top 10 tips to…..cheat sheet type documents. I am glad there are no short cuts as the journey itself is fascinating! Look forward to hearing how it goes:)

  • Wait. You’re saying a plan, hard work, and consistency were the keys to your success? Like you said, I believe this is a recipe that many can see success with in most any area of life but few are patient enough to work it out this way.

    I learned the excuse I had given myself — “I don’t have enough time” — wasn’t true. I did have enough time; it was just hiding in “inconvenient” places.

    That line is simply brilliant, as is the rest of this post. Thanks for sharing your journey and CONGRATS!

    • That’s right, Nick. However, I have to be honest: the plan revealed itself as I went, not beforehand.

  • anita dawes

    Bless you and all your wonderful advice. I have learned a lot from listening to you and know you must inspire so many people the way you have inspired me!
    Good luck on your journey and best wishes!

  • Ann Noire

    Thank you. The key to this is finding that hidden time in your life to stay on key commitments.

  • April

    Great story and congratulations!! Yes 5am is my magic hour also. 🙂

  • Jeff, you touched on a few things that I struggle with personally – discipline (getting up at 5 am to write for two hours) and the feeling guilty about using the margins. As a missionary/pastor, I sometimes have a difficult time defining margins. If I could get up at 5 to write for a couple of hours, I could get up at 5 to do more sermon preparation or pray more, etc. Maybe you didn’t struggle with that, but if so, how did you overcome it?

  • Dawn Davis

    My husband sent me this article via email. It was so fantastic and inspired me more than other articles we have read about writing.

    My husband is working two jobs and allowing me the freedom to write screenplays. As a result of chipping away for 2 years I now have 8 finished and he is dreaming of joining me in the process of filming these stories in order to bring them to life. Trying to figure out how to do this and still be faithful to financial comittments has left us scratching our heads. I love the approach you took and feel like it is one that is balanced and practical with God’s help.

    Bless you for taking the time to tell your story.

    Dawn Davis
    TWOBYTWOfilms and music

  • Andy Walker

    Thanks Jeff. I’m just starting out on the writing adventure, and am loving the creative process. Perhaps one day I’ll finish the book – your article has inspired me to really get down to it on a regular basis (although I’m not sure about the 5am start!)

  • Kandace

    My dream is to take a painful life story and use it to help others. (Through writing and speaking) Not pain that was given to me, but pain I caused. In a day when people are stepping forward to publically mourn and grieve their losses and hurt caused by others, I am being compelled to let my journey of repentance and transformation give hope to those who are ready to own up and come clean. (Wow, that was a long sentence.)

  • Jessica Larsen

    I don’t remember when I started to read your work, but you are the only writer I subscribe to and read often. Thank you. I’m also working on blogging about my adventures, and starting a sailing company, you are a huge inspiration!

  • Laura Parkhurst

    So excited for you! I like your “working in the margins” part of the article. I am learning how to do that. I have been getting up before 5 am to get my head clear and drink my coffee (new best friend!). I am working in little bursts, when there is a moment instead of hoping for that chunk of time to happen, then I am ready when the chunk does happen. I dream of becoming a freelance illustrator and an author. I started out feeling like it has to “happen right now” but now I see that it will happen when the time is right and I need to be working along the way, staying faithful. What ever the outcome, I am learning to love my art again and enjoying the fact that my art is being enjoyed by my children and my friends. Succeed or not, it will be a good journey. Thanks for your good advice and the sharing of your own journey.

  • I am super psyched for you Jeff, congrats

  • Jane

    Congratulations! I’ve been following you for some time. Thanks for your inspiration, example, and willingness to share what works.
    It’s taken some time to embrace Step 1. Reading about getting better at writing can’t beat to writing to become a better writer.
    Thanks.

  • I’ve heard John Maxwell share, “Find something you love to do so much that you will gladly do it for free, then get so good at it that people will gladly pay you for it.” Thanks for leading out on this and sharing your journey!

    • Great quote, Dwayne.

      • Thanks Jeff! I believe you’ve lived this out to the core. Looking forward to watching the next phase of your journey!

    • Love this quote as well.

      • Thanks Robert! We can always count on Maxwell to have a good word on just about anything ;o)

  • Congrats Jeff! So glad to hear you’re moving on to the dream job. Amazing stuff.

    I’d have to say my dream is to inspire others to live a better life. And to realize that regardless of position they’re a leader. I’m pursuing this by writing and creating products that will help people move forward with what needs to be done.

  • littlelubbe05

    Thank you Jeff for committing to CHASE your dream down! Congratulations on your new journey and for inviting me to be along for the ride. Cheers!

  • Grace Marshall

    Congratulations, Jeff; I subscribe to very few blogs because most of them are often just words on a screen. But I know when I read one of your blogs, I am getting good stuff, pearls of wisdom my heart has needed to hear. I, too, am a writer and I look forward to the day when I can roll out of bed and write all day.

  • Marissa S

    I may not be a published author or completed very many stories, but this post did inspire and encourage me to continue my love of writing. Thanks for sharing!

  • I needed to read this, thanks so much for being an example and shining your light.
    My dream is to be an author, filmmaker and a worship minister.

  • Carroll

    Many congrats! And thanks for the inspiring pep talk. I totally agree that the main ingredient for successfully pursuing your dream is WILL. I’ve completed writing, revising, and re-revising a manuscript. It was a long time coming, especially because of my overloaded schedule, but when my will took over and I was in the writing zone, it was magical.

  • Sirita Wright

    Thank you for providing such a inspiring post. I too am a writer as well as a actress. I have been pursuing both simoustaneouly whe also working FT as a
    hostess in NYC. I have made a commitment to God to walk this path and enjoy the journey. I am celebrating my first feat. film screening this weekend in Boston, performing in a play this evening and will begin filming a web TV show next month! I just give my best each day. God does the rest!

  • Congrats and good luck! So excited for you to be making the leap – I’m sure it’ll turn out well for you and your family 🙂

  • Really happy for you Jeff! Keep being an inspiration to those who follow you. God bless.

  • Jeff – thought I would let you know I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. It’s posted on my own web site: Painting With Light https://www.ronherron.wordpress.com

  • Wow. I could only imagine what it’s like to move on from your job to follow your dream full-time. I’m hoping to be a published author soon. Congrats

  • Congratulations! I was just lamenting over the difficult decisions and sacrifices I have had to make in order to become a writer. Way to go for overcoming them and encouraging us to be steadfast.

  • This is so exciting! My dream is to have my own social media company so I can help others tell their story better using online mediums. I’ve been in grad school these past 2 years, and I had a graduate assistantship with my college. During this time I’ve been working full time to fulfill my assistantship and doing freelance social media work nights and weekends. This has allowed me to build a lot of contacts and grow my business slowly but surely. I graduate and complete my assistantship in 5 weeks, and I’m just about ready to launch my company full-time and get that started. Woohoo!

  • It’s been an honor watching you go through these phases.

  • Congratulations, Jeff!! Happy 1st Monday of your life as a full-time writer. Looking forward to more great things from you.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Bryan Regier

    Godspeed, Jeff.
    I’m following (and benefiting from) your career with great interest!

  • Snaksa

    Hello Mr. Goins. This is the most encouraging article I’ve ever read. I’m sure you inspired many people with your words. My dream is to become a programmer. It’s hard because I’m busy with school work all day, but I find time to practice late at night. I hope that one day I’ll be working for a big company like Apple, Microsoft or Google. Greetings from Bulgaria! I’m looking forward to your next article.

    • Greetings right back! Thanks for the comment.

  • Andrew Elsass

    This post was very timely for me.

    I have the similar dream of being a self-supporting writer (so far I blog and I’ve published one ebook that sold about 20 copies) but recently started my first full-time job. While I enjoy my work there and wouldn’t be able to find a better office job if I tried, it scares me how easy it would be to get complacent and just put off the writing thing for ‘sometime down the road when I’m more established’.

    But screw that- last week I actually started getting up an hour earlier than I needed to so that I could write, because I wasn’t bringing myself to do it in the evening after work. I recognize an hour isn’t that much, but baby steps- maybe a few months I’ll bring myself to 90 minutes, then 2 hours.

    This post made me realize again how fortunate a situation I am in- I have a job I don’t truly despise that will eventually allow me to transition smoothly- once I put in the immense amount of work- into writing full time. Thanks Jeff…you’re paving the proverbial way for me

  • Dane F. Baylis

    Congratulations Jeff! Having taken an 18 year hiatus to provide for a family I looked at all the time I’d wasted that was right there around the edges, sat back down in my chair, took a deep breath, and started banging on the keys again. Lets just say it was dream interrupted and I’m back with a passion I haven’t felt for years. Will I succeed? I already have, all I have to do is write!

    • “I already have.” LOVE that. Thanks, Dane!

  • Congrats Jeff! I also became a full-time writer this year and you’re totally right, calling yourself a writer is the first step. Striking out on your own can be seriously scary and exhilarating at the same time. I had to take a leap of faith and be confident that God will provide. I have one quarter down and the rest of my life to go but I’m enjoying the journey. Good luck to you!

  • This is a fantastic post, Jeff. After five years of following precisely the same process you describe, I too am making the leap. I’m leaving my day job after twelve years on May 1st, and though he’s expressed fear at my departure, my employer is also cheering. I would only add a couple of other points to your excellent advice:

    1. For me, I had to make sure I had God’s stamp of approval. Until I knew beyond question he was telling me to go, I wouldn’t consider quitting my job.
    2. When you leave employment, don’t burn the bridge. Make every effort to behave with the utmost integrity, showing your dedication to the last moment.
    3. Make it clear to your employer, that after you move on, you will remain loyal, and speak well of the organization, both verbally and in written words.

    As you pointed out, work situations can offer valuable fodder for writers, and what we write can help the organizations we work for. Moving on doesn’t mean our mutual benefits must stop, if we end things well, they will follow us into the full-time writer’s life.

  • Congrats on making the jump, Jeff! Welcome to entrepreneurship! As someone who has gone down a similar path, I know how hard you must work to get to where you are today. Maintaining a double life is difficult, but because you’ve worked so hard to prepare yourself for entrepreneurship, your chances of success are so much higher.

    I agree with you that you shouldn’t jump too soon, but the inverse is also true. I was afraid to make the jump for a long time. I finally realized that the business I wanted to build could only grow so much while I worked in the off hours. Dedicating myself to it fulltime meant I could finally achieve traction with my business and do the work I was yearning for. There is NEVER a good time to jump. Sometimes, you just have to decide then do it!

  • Top Notch

  • Jim Martin

    Very happy for you Jeff!

  • To pursue the same “bridge” you’ve made. The writer dream has popped up in the last year and I’m finally allowing it to have legs. (I currently earn cash as an accountant). My big recent “step” was to sign up for a conference in which I’ll be able to meet with publishers, taking a book proposal in hand. I had to commit and sign up BEFORE I’ve written the proposal. I’m in the same “I’ll figure it out” stage which feels infinitely better and more peaceful than the anxiety-ridden stage I was in before where I was hesitating with the “I don’t know how.” Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Forgot to say, I kept thinking of you all last week with the timing of Good Fri/Easter and symbolism of you leaving your day job, launching out into new life. Feel very excited WITH you!!

  • Awesome, awesome news – many congrats, Jeff! After way too many years as a spreadsheet jockey, I’m finally starting to tune in to the little voice in my head/heart that says “You like words too much to only read other people’s”. Not only am I starting the early morning writing plan (two 5 AM mornings down, countless more to go!), but I finally got up the nerve/confidence to make a career shift (from bean counters to corporate education/communications). Thank you for blazing the trail and sharing your story!

  • Heather Goodell

    Congrats Jeff! So happy for you! I love reading your work.

  • Marawan

    wow, amazing article Jeff! I have been writing short stories and poems for a while now. Two months ago I decided to start a blog of my own writing but it just failes because there is thousands of others out there. Man, its rough to start new to this whole thing.

  • Christelle

    Jeff this is an amazing article, talking about labels, persistence, dreams, all in one! Congratulations for getting there and being able to draw such a nice lesson from it.
    I’m only at the beginning of my journey, but it’s inspiring to read success stories like yours.

  • This is so inspiring and helps me confirm my choice to quit my job and pursue freelancing full-time. It took me a while to come to this decision too, since I’ve worked at the same place for over 10 years. I am so excited about the new adventure in front of me and I’m finally owning my dream that I’m someone who can change people’s lives.

    I didn’t jump too soon — in fact I think I waited too late and now don’t have the respect of my boss. The transition has been very difficult, but I’m happy to hear you and your boss ended things on good terms. Really excited to see what the future holds for us!

  • So excited for you. Thank you for your investment is others as you were on this journey yourself. We are all better because you share your journey.

  • Jeff, Congratulations sir. I had always thought this day would come for you, but I didn’t know completely when. I am so glad you chose to call yourself a writer as know it has impacted so many, including myself. So much so that I was more than happy to pay for the price to get into your Tribewriters course. Looking forward to see where all of this goes for you.

  • Congrats! I just found your blog through Michael Hyatt and I can relate to a lot of what you write about. It’s funny to think about pursuing dreams. What I’ve found is that after achieving them there’s always a new one out there waiting. Once I got the job that I always wanted, I started to rethink how I was using my blog and my life, and I think I have very similar aspirations as you. It’s good to know that it’s possible … now I just have to get my act together. Good luck!

  • Martin Vlcek

    Hi Jeff,

    I am so happy for you and so proud of you at the same time. I know how hard it is to make the full-time leap. Your inspiration and encouragement means a world to me.

    This post was especially heart-touching for me because I quit my full-time job just a few weeks ago, at the end of February, to become a full-time writer.

    I completely agree with all your points. One of them is different for me though. I can never do two things really well and I know I have to jump into the water in order to really start swimming. In other words, I decided to quit my job even though I have zero experience with writing or being a writer. For me, this is the only way how I can pull this off. I would not be able to find enough motivation and will to practice just in the marginal time alongside my day-job. I think you really need to devote the best time and energy to the thing in which you really want to succeed. However, I don’t recommend quitting the day-job to anyone, let alone if you don’t have enough emergency savings. The line between bravery and stupidity can be very thin:).

    I have 10 years of online marketing experience and 5 years of expertise in finance and investing. These are the two topics which I write articles about to start with. However, improving my English and writing skills will be completely new and very challenging for me.

    I hope you don’t mind if I stop by on your site in the future as I am sure I will need all the help and encouragement to pull this off.

    Thanks again for your inspiration and please keep up the great work you do!

    Martin

  • Mariah

    This is a great article and very inspiring! It’s true that what makes one a writer is not that you’re published it’s that you’re someone who writes. With two small children, I feel like my dream is somewhat deferred but your post reminds me it’s not. I can still grab a few minutes each day to write and those minutes add up over time to bring me a little farther down the path to improving my craft and creating my story. Thank you Jeff for the beautifully written reminder.