I haven’t written on the old blog here since back in August of 2015. So it’s been a few months. And by a few I mean like five. I don’t really say much with regularity on here because most of my writing energy is put into creating new novels, like the War of Thieves I released a month ago.
It’s been a little over eight months since I quit my job to become a full time writer. There have been some good moments and some challenging ones. Really challenging ones.
It’s hard when you have a family you want to take care of, when you have student loans bigger than your salary used to be at your regular job, when you have a car payment, when every cent seems to disappear from your bank account the second it went in. A lot of you probably hear me on this.
When I was considering quitting my job to write full time, one of my good friends said, “That’s a big risk.”
I knew he was right.
I also knew that there was no risk in staying at my job. It was guaranteed I would be miserable. The risk was flipped. And there was no risk of me every being happy doing that gig.
Many people in this world are happy at their jobs. They love what they do. My wife is one of those. She loves her career and enjoys going to work.
I’ve never been that way. Since I can remember, I detested working by other people’s rules. I guess it’s the entrepreneur in me. I always wanted to do things my way and when I had to play by other people’s rules, wallowing in their red tape and bureaucracy, it was awful–like being a caged animal.
There are moments when I wish I could be happy at a normal job like everyone else. They’re few and far between.
Since I can remember, I’ve always loved a good story. I love hearing them, reading them, and watching them. And I also love telling them. I got in trouble my freshman year in high school for writing a short story that was a little too graphically violent. Reading it in class probably hadn’t helped.
Even though I got called into the teacher’s office after class, she never stopped encouraging me. All the English teachers did at that school. I could never figure out why. After all, I wasn’t really that good. Was I?
It’s hard being a writer. It’s stressful.
People say, “At least you’re not out there digging ditches.”
Actually, I am. I’m digging a ditch with my fingers and with my mind, out of dirt that doesn’t exist because I have to make it up.
When I had the idea for the Sean Wyatt series and the first book, The Secret of the Stones, I was so excited to share that story with the world. I couldn’t wait to do it. It took me nearly two years from beginning concept to finished product to get that book done. It was rough, had tons of errors, and the cover was awful. But I got it finished.
Now my books have been read in dozens of countries around the world. Right now, on an airplane, someone might be reading one as they travel the globe.
Yet it’s hard not to feel like a failure sometimes. Maybe we are our own worst critics.
Whether your a writer or working at any other job. Struggles happen. No matter what career you’re in, it can be easy to feel like giving up, like you’ve failed, like it’s time to finally throw in the towel. Or in my case, start trying to figure out where I could get a job.
But I can’t quit now. I haven’t finished digging the ditch.
And neither have you.
No matter what it is you do in life, if you have a goal for it, a passion for it, a mind set on doing it, you have to keep digging. Dig and dig and dig until the ditch is done.
And then what? Start another ditch.
Life beats us up all the time. My sister recently asked our dad, “Is life always hard like this?”
He laughed and said, “Well, yeah. What? Do you want it to be easy?”
Maybe not much for a motivational speech but his point rings true. It’s not supposed to be easy. If everything were easy, you’d never feel like you ever accomplished anything.
The Panama Canal is an incredible feat of human engineering, innovation, and hard work. It’s one heck of a ditch. And it sure wasn’t easy to dig. It took years of pressure, time, effort, and struggle. It didn’t happen overnight.
If you’re ever having a hard time with something in life, just remember that all of us are in our own ways. And that isn’t a horrible thing. Because when we push through to the Pacific Ocean on the other side, the sense of accomplishment or relief or whatever glorious emotion awaits you will be worth the struggle.
So don’t quit. Don’t give up.
And keep digging.
I’m going to.