Having just got back after a month long trip around Europe, I find myself feeling like another chapter in my life is starting.
Like all change, it's daunting, but I have nothing else to do apart from embrace the fear that arises and use it to motivate me.
I think a major reason for feeling the way I do is because I no longer have a stable job. My safety net has been pulled from under my feet. The last time that happened was when I finished college in 2001, but even then I had a part-time job, so I wasn't entirely "netless".
When I think about what I've given up it's not a great deal, to be honest. It was a job I had been wanting to replace for a long time. I had been in it for a decade when I finally left, so change was afoot.
So now I've left the job, what has it been replaced with?
That which I was doing all along: writing.
All I have to do is acquire a new perception of myself as a full-time writer. But that's harder to do than it sounds. It involves rewiring the brain to think and perceive differently.
In the space of five years I've written five books, published three of them, and had several articles printed in magazines. I say this, not to brag, but to highlight the fact that throughout all of this I still didn't see myself as a writer.
My good friend Peter O'Toole quit his job several years ago to become a full-time illustrator. Since then he has worked with The Telegraph, Clarks and Adidas, to name but a few.
On our trip to Europe we stopped by the UK for ten days to see family and friends. Pete was one of those friends, as our six week breakfast meeting was some nine months overdue.
As always we got talking about being artists and he said something that really hit my dilemma on the head, "Once you make a commitment to yourself to become a full-time artist, writer, or whatever, doors start to open up for you. I don't know why, they just do. When I quit my job to become an illustrator I didn't have any work lined up. I had no money coming in at all, but I made up my mind there and then that enough was enough; it was time to dedicate myself to doing what I was passionate about. Do you know what happened? I got two jobs that were way out of my league. I really shouldn't have been offered them, but I took them and reaped the financial rewards on completion. It wasn't just getting the money that felt great, it was the fact that my confidence had been given a boost and I knew that there was a real chance of making it work."
So now it's time.
Enough is enough.
How many more books do I have to write in order to see myself as a writer!?
My mate, Pete