I Have Chosen to Chance the Rapids: Taking My Writing Full-Time

by on January 28, 2013 · 45 comments

Choose to chance the rapids and dare to dance the tides – Garth Brooks

I’ve done something incredibly brave, something I never thought I would have the courage to do even though I often imagined it in the four corners of my dreams: I quit my day job. Not only did I quit my day job, but I did so to attempt to be what I feel is my calling: a writer who helps people save and manage their money.

It would have been easy for me to continue driving to the agency four days a week—Monday through Thursday, 7:00-5:30—proudly don the badge, turn on my computer and go about the business of ensuring compliance with our state’s environmental regulations. But I have never aspired to live a cushioned life at the cost of a truly fulfilling one. For however straight-laced, risk-averse, and routine-loving I may be—and I am—I have a healthy rebel inside of me that loves a challenge and that dares to live out her dreams. And I cannot live one part of myself without living the other, though over the last four years of blogging and working full-time I have had to make sacrifices to both. I am a person who needs to give 100% of themselves in their work, and I have felt a drain on both my spirit and my health for more than a year now from being pulled in two different directions.

In the fall of 2011 I was asked to present at the annual air training in Austin for our agency. I was quite honored to be addressing others who were sitting in the same seats I had for the last several years. I knew the material, I was not afraid of receiving questions, but something just did not feel right. Ahead of the presentation I paced back and forth in my hotel room, hands clammy and stomach in painful knots. Of course the outward signs of anxiety were all for naught; the presentation went just fine. But this experience opened up a different path of thinking for me as I began to wonder if it was possible to be very good at something that I might not be meant to do.

We all know that thoughts can change us. Having a steady paycheck deposited into our bank account and shuffling most of that money into savings at the first of each month truly added to my inertia over the last year and a half. But ever since I opened myself up to the possibility of doing this, my thoughts turned into subtle actions, leading me closer and closer to the point where I could confidently take on self-employment. Some of these actions included daring to declare on my home office whiteboard in tangerine-orange marker “I am a freelance writer/blogger”, emailing other bloggers who had taken their careers full-time and asking them about taking the plunge, lifestyle changes, etc., and having my husband check into whether or not I can be added onto his health insurance plan outside of the typical open enrollment time period.

Then two weeks ago on a Thursday I commuted to work like normal. Except that it turned out to not be a typical day at all. As soon as I stepped out of my car and saw the building I had come to intimately know over the last four and a half years I knew that I was no longer meant to be there. I felt a strong calling, stronger and more resolute than one typically feels about anything throughout their wishy-washy 20s. It was like a switch had been turned off. I knew I had to do something incredibly courageous by resigning from a steady job where I had established credentials, but now I also felt that I could do it.

The funny thing is that as soon as I acknowledged this calling, I felt so much peace.

Moving forward, I know that no matter if I succeed or fail I will need to take ownership of it all. Unlike other times in my life where being laid-off thrust me onto a new path whether I wanted to be on it or not, I conscientiously chose this one by taking action and quitting my job. I know that I cannot blame others on my future blunders, just as much as I will not be able to sheepishly pin my successes as pure luck in order to sidestep performance fear. I have no romantic notions about the months ahead and know that they will be quite challenging. So for now, I’ll just enjoy this natural high so rarely afforded by everyday life.

To my readers: Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement. You all are amazing! I love the insights you share about your own lives, as well as encouragement and useful information you leave in the comments section for both me and the community. You all are making this transition and my dream a true possibility and I cannot thank you enough.

Come back for Wednesday’s post where I will talk about changes to the money side of things in our household.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Aurora

Congratulations on this huge step Amanda!!! Having known you since 4th grade, I know this was not a decision you came to without very careful consideration and I’m truly excited for you to embark on this challenge! XOXO

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Amanda L Grossman

Thank you so much Aurora for being a huge supporter of Frugal Confessions from the start! I think you were my first commenter:).

XO:)
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Life Unplugged: Digital-Free Wednesdays

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Sarah Greesonbach

How exciting! Congratulations! I identify with so much of what you have shared but I know I am not ready to take the leap yet. I will be following along with your adventure!

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Amanda L Grossman

Hello Sarah!

Thank you for the well wishes. One day, it may be your turn to make the decision.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Savings Accounts for Us Lower and Middling Sorts

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Pauline

congratulations on taking the leap! I left my job 3 years ago and so far it has been amazing, no doubt it will be for you too.
Pauline recently posted..A golden mistake

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Amanda L Grossman

How exciting Pauline! Where did you used to work? I am glad you made the right choice.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Don’t have Time for the Grocery Game? Try this Service Out

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BluSky

Wow. I hope you really considered all the variables. Life is full of curve balls.

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Amanda L Grossman

I definitely appreciate your concern BluSky, and having you as a reader from early on.

We’ve definitely considered all of the variables over the last year and a half (or the ones we are aware of), and then have a cushion for the ones that life just throws at us. I will go into more detail about this on Wednesday’s post.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Our 2012 Energy Consumption

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krantcents

Congratulations! Decisions like these is very liberating, you get to choose what you do from now on. Good luck.
krantcents recently posted..Writing your will without a lawyer: Is it possible?

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Amanda L Grossman

Thank you so much Krantcents, and thank you for being a regular around here!
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..How to Host a Biggest Loser Competition at Work

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Julie Anderson

Good luck! Good for you for taking the plunge. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but I think you’ll find it very rewarding.

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Jesse

Good for you! I look forward to seeing your continued growth and success :)
Jesse recently posted..Spring Expenses: Are You Ready?

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Amanda L Grossman

Jesse-thank you for being my awesome Tech guy! I really appreciate your help and willingness to go the extra mile to make sure my website keeps pace.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Interest-Bearing Checking Accounts: Can they Compete with High-Yield Savings Accounts?

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Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce

You did it!! Congrats!! If all goes well, I shall be writing the same post in, oh….3 months…fingers crossed! Loved reading this!
Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce recently posted..How to Overhaul Your Life in One Month: A Case Study

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Amanda L Grossman

Love the title Tony;). I will keep my fingers crossed for you and hope to read all about your journey soon.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..I Have Chosen to Chance the Rapids: Taking My Writing Full-Time

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Shannon-ReadyForZero

Congratulations Amanda! Much of what you wrote about here reminds me of how I felt when I quit my steady job in New York to move to California (with no new job in sight at the time). It was a struggle and I dealt with quite a bit of fear and insecurity, but still so free at taking this risk that I had been thinking about for years. Enjoy this time and I can’t wait to see how things go for you! I have no doubt you’ll be very successful :).
Shannon-ReadyForZero recently posted..Weekly Shout Outs: My Money Questions Edition

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Andrea

I’ve already congratulated you, but I wanted to do so again. I’m so excited for you!!!!

You know, I went into my career as a therapist feeling like I was doing what I was meant to do with my life. And if I had never tried anything else, I probably would have been okay (but unfulfilled) for a long time. It took spreading my wings a little to see that I wasn’t at all happy in my career; I was just happy because I thought I was doing what adults are “supposed” to do.

You’ll still have crappy days and stress, but it will be completely different than what you deal with in an office environment. I can’t wait to hear about your adventures! :)
Andrea recently posted..Avoid Getting Scammed When You Hire a Web Designer

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Amanda L Grossman

Wow, thank you so much Andrea! You are so supportive and I am very lucky to have people like you to ask questions and vent to:).
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Savings Accounts for Us Lower and Middling Sorts

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Grayson @ Debt Roundup

You are making a huge leap and congratulations for doing so. It takes courage to make that leap. One day I hope to be able to make the leap, but I have a long way to go. I wish you the best in your endeavors and I am excited to read out how it progresses.
Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Dang it! I Fought My Emotions and They Won

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Amanda L Grossman

Thank you Grayson! As a person in mid-leap, I have to agree with you on the courage part;). I will enjoy you continuing to read along.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Don’t have Time for the Grocery Game? Try this Service Out

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Financial Samurai

Hang on for the great ride! It’s pretty exhausting entrepreneurship compared to a day job, but much more rewarding. With a husband who has your back, and a network of blogging friends, I’m sure you’ll do fine!

Sam
Financial Samurai recently posted..The Proper Asset Allocation Of Stocks And Bonds By Age

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Amanda L Grossman

It’s been great reading along to your own entrepreneurial journey, both ups and downs (and helpful for me as well). Hopefully we will both keep the dream alive (well, with a ton of hard work;)).
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..I Have Chosen to Chance the Rapids: Taking My Writing Full-Time

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Lance @ Money Life and More

Congrats on making the leap! I wish you the best of success over the next few months as you transition into the freelancer lifestyle. I’ll be interested to see how the journey goes, and I’m sure you’ll do awesome!
Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..How We Lost Sight of the Big Picture

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Funancials

Congrats and best of luck! You’ll do great.
Funancials recently posted..The Presidential Inauguration: A Prime Example of Why Politicians are Dumb

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Amanda L Grossman
Fred@Foxy Finance

Hey Amanda, so proud of your for taking the plunge and changing your life. I’m sure you won’t regret it and best of luck and keep working hard!
Fred@Foxy Finance recently posted..What is PPI and how can you reclaim it

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Amanda L Grossman

Thank you very much Fred. I think that is one thing I am quite sure of: no matter if I succeed or fail, I will not have regret taking this chance. That’s part of how I knew it was the right decision to make.
Amanda L Grossman recently posted..Life Unplugged: Digital-Free Wednesdays

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Laura

Amanda – congratulations! What a wonderful journey to choose. Just last weekend I started writing my own blog posts (after having been throwing the idea around in my head months, if not years). There’s no website yet, it’s just a trial run for now, but it’s a start!

You are an inspiring person and I wish you all the best. I cannot wait to read about your journey.

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FruGal

Hi Laura! Thank you so much for the encouragement. I think it’s wonderful you are taking action on something you have been meaning to do. Could be for you, perhaps it won’t be, but at least you are trying it out (just like me!) Let me know if you have any questions moving forward with your blog.

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Joe Saul-Sehy

Wow! That’s fantastic. As a guy who left a great-paying job to pursue other things….you made the right move. Unless it turns out you can live more than once, you should follow your instinct. Congratulations.
Joe Saul-Sehy recently posted..5 Lies Bad Advisors Tell Clients

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FruGal

Thank you so much for sharing your own experience Joe. Life is definitely only lived once, and I think our frugality and good money sense have bought me this chance. Hopefully things will go well!

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Danyelle Franciosa

That change in life will surely be exciting for you. I hope that the best things in life will come to you.
Congrats.
Danyelle Franciosa recently posted..Allkind Joinery Brisbane – Upholding a Proud Tradition

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FruGal

Thank you so much Danyelle!

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Evan

Congrats on taking the leap, Amanda! Did you talk to your husband before giving your 2 week notice? How did he take it?
Evan recently posted..Selling Your House At Auction

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FruGal

Definitely talked to my husband first! He’s been apart of the conversation for the last year–I would never dream of taking a leap like this without his input and agreement:). Fortunately he is truly supportive, and really believes in me!

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JT

Congratulations on your decision. I am sure that you will do well and end up in a much better place doing what you love than what you are just tolerating.
JT recently posted..Paying Off Over $200,000 in Debt in First Four Months

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FruGal

Thank you so much!

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