At the end of 2013, I lost my job. The job search began. I had several interviews and second and third callbacks, but still, no job offers.
Around 2015 my mobility declined to the point of narrowing my job options. I started looking for remote or virtual work exclusively. Some jobs I went through all the preliminary stuff with interviews and testing but no hire. One I was hired for but then told no because they over hired.
From November 2017 to 2018, I was totally homebound as mobility continued to decline along with my quality of life in general. The constant rejection job-wise was disheartening and a bit depressing.
No matter how hard I tried, everything I tried just did not stick or work out. I had some up-and-coming prospects and hopes that just did not happen or pan out.
My self-esteem and self-worth dive bombed. I was really struggling just to get through the days. I have worked since I was fifteen years old. For the first time in my life, a lot of time had passed without me finding work.
I could no longer maintain the life I created and lived since my father died in 1990. I was putting in the work and seeing very little change for all the effort.
Investing in your writing communities.
The one thing I did do is stay very involved in my writing communities: Holly Lisle’s writing class forum since 2011, Insecure Writer’s Support Group since 2014, and Ninja Writer’s, LLC since 2016.
Another writer from the Holly forums and I started Stormdance Publications to create themed anthologies in November 2018. We have published three Grumpy Old Gods anthologies so far, with four more on our schedule to release this year into 2021.
And then there was COVID19.
The closings and stay at home in the USA started around March 2020. The world became homebound. Everyone was forced to figure out new ways to work, socialize, and survive.
I attended a lot of Zoom meetings. I also joined Ninja Writers Academy in January 2020 and started seriously working on my novel. I began hosting write-ins with my Ninja Writers science fiction/fantasy workshop group. They started finishing their first drafts.
In the last week of May 2020, the opportunity presented itself to start my own online business.
I had decided to create a short story course. Another NWA student approached me, offering to pay me when they heard about it. They wanted me to teach them, one on one via Zoom, as I created it.
That was the spark that changed me from an aspiring writer into a working writer.
I discovered I have a knack for story development and worldbuilding. People started asking me for that service.
I added developmental coaching to my service list. I also started offering help for those who struggle with learning Scrivener via Zoom one on one too.
That began my evolution to becoming a working writer.
Ninja Writers founder and creative, Shaunta Grimes, noticed that Ninja Writers students were finishing their first drafts in our science fiction/ fantasy workshop in the academy. When she asked them they told her that my holding the write-ins had helped a lot.
She approached me to run write-ins for Ninja Writers Club & Academy working part-time for Ninja Writers, LLC. I am now part of a team of eight. Now I do a NW fiction co-working call for the club and academy on Tuesdays, a short story drop-in for academy only on Thursdays, plus the write-ins.
I am the Ninja Writers Accountability Manager. I am the fiction columnist and editor for the The Ninja Writer Pub on Medium. Ninja Writers have many new things in the works for the end of the year and the coming year that are still in the planning stages.
My life before COVID19 was between four walls with little face-face socialization, jobless living on a tiny fixed income that did not cover the bills. I wondered if that was all my life would ever be any more. I felt like quitting everything.
Now my life is socially full, and I am a working writer. Things are far from perfect, but these are some long time dreams coming to fruition.
I have invested in all my writing communities for years now. I continued writing. I kept trying and chose to stay involved where I could; when COVID hit, I was able to step into opportunity.
Stay involved even when things feel hopeless. Opportunity pops up in unexpected places when you are not looking. If you don’t have a writing community to get involved in, find one. You are not alone.
Never give up.
Networking is important
Do the work.
IWSG ROCKS, insecure writers, join us!