What I Don’t Do Since I Quit My Job to Become a Freelance Writer

Quit my job to be a freelancer writerToday’s post is unlike any other you’ll find on this site.

It’s personal.

I don’t usually do personal.

I need to share this with you though – especially if you’re teetering on the edge of something right now. Especially if you’re teetering on the edge of quitting your job to become a full-time freelance writer.

I wrote this in my notepad the day after I quit my job. I hope it helps if you’re struggling with what you think you should do against what you actually want to do with your life…


What I don't do since I quit my day job:

I don’t get up before 7am.

I don’t drag myself out of bed and rush to get ready, already dreading the day ahead.

I don’t leave the house in a whirlwind and hop-foot it to the station.

I don’t cram myself into a packed train carriage, wedging myself between partially opened newspapers and brash pin-striped suits.

I don’t stay that way for the best part of an hour.

I don’t shove past people in a frantic rush - because as a grown adult I don't fear another adult telling me that I’m late.

I don’t arrive at a central location at a specified time to operate a machine that no longer exists.

I don’t clock-watch.

I don’t time-waste.

I don't eat because 'it's time to eat.'

I don’t smoke as a reason to get up from my desk. In fact, I don’t smoke at all any more.

I don’t complete tasks or adhere to processes that I don’t agree with.

I don’t say yes when I want to say no.

I don’t regret anything.

I don’t compromise my own goals by working towards somebody else’s.

Instead:

I sit by the lake and watch a family enjoy a barbeque in the park.

I read, I write and I conjure.

I interact when I want to, and sit back and observe quietly when that's more appealing.

I schedule appointments when it’s convenient for me.

I eat when I’m hungry.

I meditate on things that have meaning and exercise if the mood takes me.

I find ways to make work seem like play.

Mostly I look out at the world clearly for the first time, and it beams back at me and it tells me: ‘You’ve changed what it means to be busy and you’ve learned what it means to be you.’

More than that: In the quieter moments, if I listen very carefully, I can hear the world whisper that being me was enough all along.

For (far more practical) tips, and to learn how to build a writing portfolio and a solid reputation as an online writer, read this FREE eBook.

Image courtesy of Bohman via Flickr.

33 Comments

  • wendymc12

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    Hi Kirsty,
    I think this is your best post yet!! I love the comparisons. When I decided to freelance full-time, it mean that I no longer had to feel guilty about having to choose work over my kids. I hated being looked down on because I wasn’t programmed to work a ton of overtime. Work is not “my life,” my family is!

    To really embrace all parts of life and also do what you love is the greatest gift anyone can receive. I hope your post convinces more people how worth it going after your dream can be.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      Thanks Wendy. I’m glad it resonated with you. If it resonates with just one person I’ll be happy…

  • Carneika

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    This has really depressed me because I do most of those things 🙁 .. and I feel like I don’t have the times (let alone the confidence) to even start my freelance career.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      It wasn’t meant to depress anyone Carneika! I think having the confidence is likely to be the main thing preventing you – it is with most people. My upcoming course about how to earn a full-time living from freelancing writing online is for people just like you. Stay tuned for updates on its release date. You’d be amazed at how much confidence (and time) you suddenly have once you’ve got a few paying clients on your books. If you don’t have the time or money to take a course then I hope my free content will help you in the meantime. Stay in touch.

      • Carneika

        Reply Reply November 19, 2013

        It’s probably my own fault for spending more time thinking about hating my job than doing anything about it.

        I’ll have to look out for your course. I’ve done a journalism degree but no one seems to be able to tell you how actually make money for yourself.

        • Kirsty Stuart

          Reply Reply November 19, 2013

          Precisely – what’s the use of studying if they don’t teach you how to make money from your chosen career? That’s what I address in my course.

          “It’s probably my own fault for spending more time thinking about hating my job than doing anything about it.” – Hey, we’ve all been there…!

  • Gemma Press

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    Make that two people, Kirsty!

    Your life before freelance sounds very similar to mine – not much like a life at all! This really resonated with me having quit my 9-5 a couple of months ago to be a freelance writer. I was terrified but commuting for a million hours a day and saying yes when I didn’t want to was not how I wanted my life to be. Everything is on my terms now and whilst I work hard, work isn’t everything. Unless I want it to be. That’s my prerogative 😉

    Great post! x

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      Couldn’t have put it better myself Gemma! 😉 Thanks for commenting – glad you liked the post.

  • Rosie @1ManBandAccts

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    I’ve had a sneak peek of Kirsty’s course and it’s really good. I’m a bit biased about the Handling Your Money As Self-Employed section as I’m writing that, but seriously she can write this girl. You could make a full time living at it 🙂

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      Aw, thanks Rosie. 🙂

  • Katharine Paljug

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    This is fantastic, Kirsty, and so true! Once I switched to freelancing full time, I felt like I suddenly stopped fighting my body and my natural rhythms. And I’m no longer constantly worried that work will get in the way of things I really want to do!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      That’s great to hear Katherine. Glad you enjoyed the post.

    • Rosie @1ManBandAccts

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      Exactly! That’s a great way of putting it. I know some people get on with 9-5 somewhere else, but seemed a lot of wasted time to me. I generally do 9-ish to 5-ish but it’s a choice.

      • Katharine Paljug

        Reply Reply November 21, 2013

        And even most people who do work in a 9-5 office setting aren’t working that whole time. A lot of it is wasted because they have to be there, have to be at their desks, have to be on the computer. But if I have 4 hours of work to get done, I’d so much rather ONLY work those 4 hours and then go do something else!

  • Holly

    Reply Reply November 19, 2013

    I used to have a lot of fear over management, getting reprimanded, fired, etc. I would conjure all kinds of horrible possibilities in my head because I felt like I was under their control and they owned me no matter how well I performed. I no longer live like that.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 19, 2013

      That way of thinking is more common than people think Holly. Glad you broke free. 😉

  • Jackson Anderson

    Reply Reply November 21, 2013

    This is soooo good haha!

    Really, really enjoyed the comparisons and I definitely know what it’s like to live on both sides!

    The one I loved the most and can’t stand more than anything with being back in the 9-5 was
    “I don’t shove past people in a frantic rush – because as a grown adult I don’t fear another adult telling me that I’m late”.

    That one resonated hard, it’s amazing how people somehow forget that they’re actually people when they become in positions of power and all of a sudden between the hours of 9 and 5 are a corporate drone and forget human compassion and understanding… like seriously if someones 5 minutes late, it’s only 5 minutes… let the accomplishment of their work be your judgement not the rigid schedule adherence.

    People forget to be themselves and let a suit change everything… disgusting.

    I really look forward to more personal posts Kirsty, insight into a successful life are always entertaining and inspiring!

    Cheers

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 21, 2013

      Plus, what are usually well-mannered, polite people doing pushing and shoving to get to work on time because they’re afraid of their boss? That’s no way to live if you ask me..!

      Glad you enjoyed this Jackson – always good to hear from you.

  • Joe

    Reply Reply November 24, 2013

    Great post, I’m very jealous!

    I quit my job last year, but one year of freelancing later and I feel like I’ve traded one grind for another.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 24, 2013

      Ever thought of selling your own books and/or information products Joe?

      • Joe

        Reply Reply November 25, 2013

        I have thought about it in the past, but noting really comes to mind.

        I’m about to start my own blog in the niche I do most of my freelance writing in, with a view to that becoming an income source, to give me a bit more of a sense of being self-employed.

        Thanks!

        • Kirsty Stuart

          Reply Reply November 25, 2013

          That’s a good start Joe I reckon. I bet loads of stuff comes to mind as soon as you start blogging. Keep me updated!

  • Melissa

    Reply Reply November 26, 2013

    I arrived at my place at little differently. I lost my job in April and after taking a couple of months for “me” I decided I wanted to explore working online and freelance so I could be home with and for my hubby and son! My husband is retired so we can do errands together and when our son is out of school, we can all be together and do things as a family, even if it’s just going to the store and getting out of the house for a little while, we can all go and be there for each other! 😉

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply November 26, 2013

      That’s great Melissa. You sound really happy – and it all came about from you losing your job. Strange old world we live in… I hear lots of stories about people who lost their jobs and it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to them. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.

  • Miranda

    Reply Reply December 6, 2013

    I’m a senior in High School and I’ve always wanted to get a degree in English or Journalism. But after looking in to it, all of the careers seemed to be in education. Freelance sounds wonderful. I’m just afraid I won’t be able to find a job and pay the bills.:(

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply December 6, 2013

      Hi Miranda and thanks for stopping by! It’s great to study your craft, but it’s also a good idea to bear in mind that you’ll need to learn how to earn a living from it afterwards! If it helps, I’d say freelancing is no less reliable for paying the bills than a full-time job. 🙂

    • Rosie @1ManBandAccts

      Reply Reply December 6, 2013

      As Kirsty says, it’s you that determines financial security, not whether you have a job. You’re in a really good position, being at the beginning of your career, few responsibilities and an awareness that it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be with employment. That’s the really scary bit, that a job is not security. In fact, there isn’t any, that’s why it’s so scary.

      The beauty of freelancing is that you can build your learning, clients and income around whatever you decide to do, whether that be a degree, online learning (try Treehouse or Lynda) or a job. Have a read of the money section of the course for how to put it into practice.

  • Nina

    Reply Reply December 7, 2013

    This made me smile 🙂 I’ve just gone freelance and while I’m still working towards my ideal mix, I have been known to sit by a lake on a weekday afternoon just because I can!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply December 8, 2013

      Good for you Nina. 🙂

  • Mandy Eve-Barnett

    Reply Reply March 24, 2015

    I have to bide my time to leave – a child to support – but I have managed to make a reasonable amount this year. My business is building and I am learning every day. My time will come.
    Great post and thank you for the insight.

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply March 24, 2015

      It will too, Mandy. Good for you. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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