If you are currently in a day job and are planning on quitting it in order to be a fulltime writer, there are certain things you need to ensure you have done and considered. Read on to find out what these are:
1. Start writing
Before you even think of quitting your well-paying, benefits-loaded, cushy day job for a writing career, you need to be sure that you can write, and write well. If you have always dreamed of a writing career, but your great idea for a novel is still in your head and not on paper, or you haven’t ever tried your hand at any serious writing besides the great articles you wrote for your college paper- it is not the time for you to quit your day job. You need to become a writer first – meaning you should be writing daily, either your novel or freelance writing jobs. It might be hard to make time for writing when you are working full time, but you need to be sure first that you can actually write something that will sell. You should be pleased with your own work, and you should also have clients or readers who like your work. You also need to develop the discipline required for a full-time writing career now, months or even years before you plan to quit your job.
2. Understand what you are getting into
Writing is not an easy job- ask any successful or struggling writer. So, if your reason for quitting your day job for a writing career is just so that you can work 4 hours a day, take vacations whenever you want, and generally enjoy a semi-retired life- think again. Be prepared to accept writing as a full-time regular job, and be prepared to put in the time and the efforts. The chances are that you might be working much longer hours as a writer than you did at your day job, in order to make a decent living. Writing is also mentally challenging and not always fun. There will be days when you hate the thought of writing, but you will need to somehow complete your daily work load, just as you did with your regular job.
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3. Secure your financial position
A writer’s career can and will go through several ups and downs. Especially if you are planning to work as a freelance writer, your income will be irregular, even if you are successful. It is usually called the feast or famine type of work- you will either have more work than you can handle or you will be in a lull waiting for the type of work you like. Similarly, with writing novels, there is no guaranteed income right away. So, be sure that you have put away enough savings to support you for at least six months to one year. This way, you can focus on your writing for the first few months of your writing career, instead of worrying about the bills.
4. Set the ‘plunge’ point
It is hard to decide when exactly would be the right time to take the plunge and quit your job. But it is very important that you give this some careful thought and considerable planning. Set yourself a deadline time-wise as well as some minimum requirements to achieve first. Generally, it is a good idea to wait until you have a fairly good freelance writing career on the side, with a few regular clients. Alternately, you should have secured a decent advance for at least one or two of your novels, with the manuscript at a nearly-complete phase. This way, you know you have enough writing work to keep you busy as soon as you quit your job.
5. Have a Plan B
Even with the best and most talented of writers, there is no guarantee that your writing career will take off. Sometimes, things may go wrong, there may be medical or family emergencies, your personal circumstances may change, you may lose interest in writing or you may just not be making enough money to support yourself or your family as a writer. Be prepared for such eventualities by having a fall-back option. You can set yourself a time frame to achieve certain writing or income goals, and plan to go back to your previous type of work if you don’t hit the mark. Don’t despair or give up your writing dreams though, in case you are forced to resort to your plan B. You can always come back to a writing career at a later date, and be more prepared the next time.
Image credit: Kate Haskell on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]