Note: This is a guest post provided by Kaitlin Wright. I met Kaitlin in university, where we studied the same program. She recently told me about her decision to go full-time freelance and I am so excited for her. I admire her determination in taking a risk to do what she loves.
When I told my parents, they met me with blank stares. Yes, mom and dad, I’m quitting my industry-relevant, secure, full-time position so that I can rough it on my own. To most – especially given Toronto’s current job market – this is a stupid decision. To me, it was the only option.
Soon after graduating with a BA in English and Professional Writing, I accepted a full-time position working with social media and website content. Though I was lucky to be working at all, I found myself writing less and less. I started to worry; if I’m not writing, I’m allowing my career asset to dwindle at a time in my life when I should be maximizing its growth. In other words, if I’m not learning and writing now, how am I ever going to have a serious career as a writer?
This thought plagued my daily life. I’d sit at work, relatively bored, wishing that I had an outlet for writing. Then, I read an article by Sonia Simone of Copy Blogger, asking if it was crazy to trade boredom for stress in the pursuit of your passion. Her writing sparked something in me. She had been a bored, full-time worker in a relatively good position when she decided to transition to the stressful world of freelance writing. Inspired, I decided to break my routine and get proactive.
I started blogging, submitting articles to online magazines, and networking with industry professionals. Before I knew it, I was writing almost every day. Soon enough, I was running a freelance business on the side of my full-time job. I felt fulfilled. Even after a relatively tough edit or technical piece, I was at ease. I didn’t want that easy feeling to stop, and as a result I found my full-time job more and more monotonous.
Struggling with my current in-between career choices situation, I tried to focus on how I’d like to feel instead of what I’d like to do. I realized that the feeling of writing was more rewarding than the finished work itself.
Because of that rewarding feeling and despite the stress and struggle it may cause, I decided that I had to write. As a child, I had a drawer full of notebooks, a full bookcase and a curiously strong affinity for Shel Silverstein. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write, I studied writing in university, and yet I accepted a job with little to no writing in the description. What was I thinking?
I took the job for a lot of common reasons. It’s hard to find job security as a writer, and in a job-scarce environment like that of Toronto in 2012, I was happy to find anything that included a bit of copywriting. Also, the idea of having steady income after years of scrounging as a student was too appealing to refuse. These reasons, or something like them, are used by countless young people as they enter the job market. This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something I learned from.
I learned that, for me, job security is not worth losing my passion. In my mid-twenties, I’m well poised to take risks with my career and I’m lucky to have an opportunity to take such risks. As I enter the final month of my full-time position and prepare myself for three months of self-inflicted travel writing, I’m surprisingly calm. I hope that calmness permeates into my life as a full-time writer, but it probably won’t. I hope that my writing is financially fruitful, but it might not be. Despite all of these uncertainties, I take comfort in the fact that I’ll always have writing.
Author Bio: Kaitlin Wright is a freelance writer working and living in Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing, her passions include fashion, food and wellness. If you need inspiration for your own life change or if you’d like to indulge in some of Kaitlin’s passions, check out her blog and follow her on Twitter @ispeakcity.