Take my temp job, for instance. Why did I feel the need to stay late and finish up work I was doing for them, instead of going home and focusing on my own writing career? Why give in and start temping for extra pay, when I was making visible progress with writing?
One of my mentors, Julia Cameron, has a theory about this. She calls it The Test. It goes like this:
- Just when you get up the courage to quit your job, you're offered a raise.
- You're finally getting over an old crazy-making boyfriend or girlfriend, when they call out of blue wanting to get back together.
- You're making progress on your writing career when suddenly you're encouraged to get a second job to make more money.
When the tempting boyfriend, generous boss or your own self-doubt appears, you can either 1) give in and end up back where you'd started, or 2) find the courage to stick with what's right for you and show you're ready for new doors to start opening up.
I think this is especially crucial for freelancers to remember. Just because a client wants you to do more work on one of their projects, it doesn't mean you have to say yes and drop work on your personal project. There's a balance in there somewhere that I still struggle to find.
So two weeks ago, I decided to get back to what's right for me and gave notice at my temp job. The company tried to get me to stay through November, but despite their multiple offers to pay me more, to let me work less hours, to let me write AT WORK, for once in my spineless life I didn't cave. I didn't cave!
All I have to say is that one mega-sized door should be opening up soon. I mean, we're talking a Jack-and-the-Beanstalk sized door here. I can't wait to see what it might be.