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Amiga4eva

Forks in the road....

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I used to be one of those people that generally scoffed at those that put out the cry to Atomic in general for advice. Seriously, I used to actually make a scoffing noise - sort of a hearty gruff sound in the back of my throat. After a few seconds, this noise would rise to a crescendo that could only be adequately described as a chortle.

 

All in all, it was an ugly sound but it got the point across. And yet, here I am banging away at the keyboard about to lay down my own small dilemma for the audience at large to pick apart should they choose. It's not such a bad thing I guess, throwing out the net like a desperate fisherman in search of that one all-fucking-mighty catfish or a bundle of tasty golden perch (that's yellowbelly for you country folk). I have two jobs at the moment, both of which I like, but only one of which I'd say with a soul searching conviction I love.

 

The first is being a technical analyst, mucking around with .NET, SQL and a whole host of tasty technologies to create stuff. Cool stuff. The job pays really well. Well ok, it's not eleventy billion dollars, but as a 28yr old who didn't even attempt Year 12 and has no tertiary education, it's a sweet gig.

 

Then there's the writing, which pays a hell of a lot less, but I absolutely fucking love it. I mean, really love it. I throw myself into it at every opportunity and come out feeling a creativity joy that my full time job just doesn't afford me.

 

One is a job, the other is quite simply a passion. Looking at the choices many months ago, it was obvious where I should be. The writing was there, but the gigs were few and far between - so the decision to stay working as a technical code monkey made pure financial sense. Now though, the writing offers are coming in thick and fast. Seriously, it's like some kind of uber writing God has pointed a tripod mounted M60E3 7.62mm machine gun at me which fires - not bullets - but writing gigs, peppering me constantly with a barrage of sweet sweet opportunities to spew forth verbal craziness and get paid for it.

 

The money is better now, but it still doesn't approach my full time job. You can see where I'm heading with this, right? I know which one I'd rather be doing, but the nature of the freelance writer is that nothing is stable, it's a star on the verge of exploding every single second.... if things went well, I could pay my bills and live somehow within my means, but if things dried up, there'd be hell to pay in regards to any number of heavy financial institutions. If I suddenly found myself unable to get writing jobs around the place, I'd be seriously fucked. Or, I could just stay where I am now, working the full time job and having to scrape together every spare second to get my articles done.

 

So, what think ye Atomic? Should I stay on the current path, or should I throw caution and financial security to the winds and just eject myself from full time work to write full time and hope for the best?

 

Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

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Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

Wish I had some advice for ya :( Can I offer you some moral support instead?

 

I can't say I really envy you having to make the decision.

 

Rob.

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Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

Wish I had some advice for ya :( Can I offer you some moral support instead?

 

I can't say I really envy you having to make the decision.

 

Rob.

 

Yar..moral support appreciated, as would be sexual favors. Either or, I'm not a fussy man.

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Yar..moral support appreciated, as would be sexual favors. Either or, I'm not a fussy man.

Excuse me for being a party pooper, but wouldn't sexual favours kind of get in the way of figuring out which path of the fork you want to take? :P

 

Rob.

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Yar..moral support appreciated, as would be sexual favors. Either or, I'm not a fussy man.

Excuse me for being a party pooper, but wouldn't sexual favours kind of get in the way of figuring out which path of the fork you want to take? :P

 

Rob.

 

Shhhhh. You'll ruin all the fun. But - you are right.

 

The moral support option is good. Begin dispensing immediately Robzy! Just no lame jokes, my heart can't take it.

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While I don't know any writers personally, I have sneakily admired a few from afar.

 

And they all seem to have something in common.

 

Jobs.

 

Even authors who might be names in their fields can find it hard to accept the generally low and sometimes spotty income that comes of being a writer. Especially in Aus. We are a small market.

 

Another thing, unrelated to writing, is the area you work in. If, in 5-10 years time you decide that you wish to return, it might be hard to get back into the swing of things.

 

I'm a compromise kind of guy. I'd take the writing jobs, just for kicks, as a holiday from work. But always with the plan of returning soon, to remain current on all the latest tech. And if you find the writing holidays times are stretching further and further, and you're always smiling despite the bank balance falling, then you'll have taken the plunge without ever cutting off your options.

 

If it makes any difference, I always read your posts, even if I don't care about the subject material. It might be a shame to waste it :)

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It's not a case of IF you'll be fucked by leaving your job and writing full time.

 

But a case of when you'll be fucked.

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I think it has to be your own personal choice but if you have no family to roof and feed then I'd go with the job you love. It may lead to more and money does not equal happiness.

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It is possible to hold down a freelance job and a full time job, you've obviously been doing that for a while.

 

There are a couple of points - the good times (as in getting the gigs) aren't always going to be there. They ebb and flow, such is the nature of any job. Develop a plan & a model, start out with what aims you want, goals to achieve like where you want to be in three months, six, a year, two, five, twenty.

 

What sort of lifestyle do you want to have? Comfortable? Cheap? Rich and posh?

 

Don't be afraid to throw yourself out into the market, start advertising, approaching businesses if they need copywriters. Anything to help keep business going and build it up.

 

I can't make your own mind up, but if you do have the passion and the will, then go for it & good luck.

 

 

NB, for any other aspiring freelancers out there, try this site.

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If it makes any difference, I always read your posts, even if I don't care about the subject material. It might be a shame to waste it :)

Thanks - it actually does make a difference, while I'm weighing stuff up in my mind. Appreciated, deeply.

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:-)

 

Believe me I know the feeling, I hold down a number of jobs, all of which I enjoy, but if I could afford to I'd chuck them all in and focus on writing.

 

The uneasy compromise for me at the moment is getting involved more and more in consulting, which of course involves a great deal of writing and making some reports worth reading is an interesting exercise.

 

I don't suppose you have any options to move in that direction?

 

It is true that many writers also work full-time jobs, especially in Australia, and many well-known authors took a long time to be able to just write.

 

I think for now you need to ride the wave, the writing will probably come and go, but whilst the tide is in stack away the cash as much as you can, to go full-time writing you need a cash cushion. If the writing keeps coming in and that cushion grows, along with repeat business then you can re-visit the situation.

 

Frustrating, but you would be kicking yourself if faced by a mountain of bills in a few months time and IT work is slowing a little in the present economy, you might find getting back into the IT workforce difficult if it were to become necessary.

 

I don't envy you the choice, it's always better to be "working" at something you love.

 

Cheers

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the answer to this is at once simple and complex.

 

the answer is (from my point of view) that you need to keep your tech job.

 

no, its not perhaps the most fulfilling job in the world, but despite the dross lots of people love to shove down your throat at every opportunity, its a rare and lucky man who can get up at 6AM on a Monday morning and not groan at the thought of another week at work.

 

welcome to humanities world. i still cant believe we ended up in the position where we all have to spend the majority of the prime of our lives working.

 

anyway, wonderful though it might be that you could make writing your job, and awesome you are at it, its unlikely you will be able to. you could get work writing a column for a magazine or something, but that would eventually turn into just another job, and the charm would fade away.

 

from where i sit, it makes financial sense to keep on with the tech job, and it makes sense to preserve to awesomeness of being paid to write by not turning it into a job, but keeping it as a bonus income.

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Id love to quit my job and finish writing my book (its not going to well as im to tired when i get home and i really cant be bothered) but the fact of the matter is I cant, maybe when my books are finished they will sell and i will have enough to live off, but ive just started so ive got a long wait ahead of me.

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Dream, my love. What I'm getting from your words here is a feeling of fighting, of turmoil. Trust in the process :-) I know it may seem as though it's easy for me, an outsider, to say that. I do understand the fight, though I won't say why as it's quite a disjointed tale of a wise man, a string of doctor's waiting rooms, Owl medicine and a golden dragon, and I'm trying to stay within the realm of the familiar here :-)

 

Monsters live in the dark (I know this is a truth, I'm playing The Witcher at the moment), so grab a torch (or quaff a Cat potion) and let us throw some light around :-) What's the worst that could happen if you stayed where you are now? Are you prepared to accept being where you are now as your future?

 

And what's the worst that could happen if you threw your job and pursued writing? Can you deal with that, should it come to pass? If yes, then it seems to me that what you stand to gain seems to outweigh what you stand to lose. If that makes sense. And if you can't deal with the possible worst, why not and what needs to change so that you could?

 

If you let these opportunities slide, how would you feel about that?

 

You don't have to answer these questions here, by the way, I'm just throwing them out there to get you thinking.

 

Maybe a plan might help you feel better? Is it possible to scale back your hours at your full time job, or could you change to a part-time position? You would still have a reliable income, but more time for the freelance writing gigs when they materialise. Or in the very short term, do you have much leave stored up? Could you use that when you get a number of writing gigs come your way?

 

I really, really want to tell you not to compromise your dreams, your passion. But the stupid real world concept keeps coming up. So... at the end of the day (which, being nigh on 11.45pm, it now is the end of the day), all I have to offer is to tell you I'd hate to see you let the opportunities to do something you love slide :-( Don't be tooooo cautious. You have such talent, my dear boy, and you clearly have a passion for it. Hold onto that :-)

 

...

 

Ok, grrr, what's going on! I've had a string of coincidences whilst typing this reply, all revolving around the word or concept of dream. If that sort of thing is significant to you, then realise you may have just been slapped by the Universe trying to tell you something. Or rather, I may have just intercepted a bitch slap from the Universe for you... you're welcome, by the way :-)

 

I wish you the absolute bestest of luck. I wish I had some magical solution or advice for you. In the absence of such power, all I can say is good luck, and if there's a chance that thought can give rise to form, then I hope it works out for the best for you *huggles*

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Just a couple of thoughts, which you may or may not find useful at the moment, but which I think may be worth pondering:

 

-- The reason you enjoy the writing work at the moment may be because it isn't a full time endeavour, but rather something you are doing for the enjoyment. Much like a good hobby, but one you can get paid for while you're at it. ;-]

 

-- If things are good/alright at the moment, then that's something to be thankful for, and a point not to be forgotten.

 

-- Working in a somewhat similar field may be a good thing at the moment, acting as fuel to keep the writing fire going.

 

-- As a writer, I'm sure you can appreciate that quality is better than quantity. ;-]

 

 

I hope some of this may help... certainly advice which I should take heed of myself!

.

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For 99% of people, I'd say stick to the droll job that pays the bills and gives you play money.

 

But you mate - I think you're one of the rare breed who has the right stuff. A picture is normally worth a thousand words, but you can depict a scene in the minds eye with a fraction of that.

 

You don't get far in life if you don't take risks. But having said that, it might mean the difference between Coco-Pops and boring toast for brekkie for a while so far as lifestyle goes.

 

 

One strategy that might help your choice - picture yourself in 5 years time given both choices. Stay in the boring job, you might look back from the comfort of a leather chair regretting not taking a leap of faith.

 

If you can afford to slum it for a while, why not give it a try. It's not like you're signing a contract or anything that ties you into it for life.

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Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

Wish I had some advice for ya :( Can I offer you some moral support instead?

 

I can't say I really envy you having to make the decision.

 

Rob.

 

Yar..moral support appreciated, as would be sexual favors. Either or, I'm not a fussy man.

 

 

 

An A4E thread went homoerotic, without me even posting. There's a first in a while! :P

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever you decide, good luck. I reckon you should go for it, throw yourself off the mighty plank aboard the S.S. Job Security, because unless you can truly enjoy what you do in this painful, pointless existence, then what's the point?

 

;)

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If you can afford to slum it for a while, why not give it a try. It's not like you're signing a contract or anything that ties you into it for life.

my main concern over this line of argument (while a valid one) is it seems needless. if you really want to pursue writing full time, wouldn't a gradual phasing out be better then simply dropping from your job?

 

assuming your boss is half reasonable, ask him if you can go for less hours (with correspondingly less pay, obviously), or find a job that lets you work on a casual basis. simply dropping an established working relationship to chase a dream is not going to work out as Disney would have you believe. in the words of terry Pratchett (with extraneous parts removed) ""If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard."

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I used to be one of those people that generally scoffed at those that put out the cry to Atomic in general for advice.

 

...

 

And yet, here I am banging away at the keyboard about to lay down my own small dilemma for the audience at large to pick apart should they choose. It's not such a bad thing I guess, throwing out the net like a desperate fisherman in search of that one all-fucking-mighty catfish...

Funny, I just found myself doing pretty much the same thing...

 

...if in a slightly more distilled form

 

So, what think ye Atomic? Should I stay on the current path, or should I throw caution and financial security to the winds and just eject myself from full time work to write full time and hope for the best?

 

Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

I say jump and let the Universe catch you.

 

You might neck yourself a couple of times, but if you're unlike me and can actually muster a bit of persistence, go for it.

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Purest Gold

/proposes rank of UltraHero

 

unless you can truly enjoy what you do in this painful, pointless existence, then what's the point?

You're wiser than most folks twice your age.

 

If you can afford to slum it for a while, why not give it a try. It's not like you're signing a contract or anything that ties you into it for life.

my main concern over this line of argument (while a valid one) is it seems needless. if you really want to pursue writing full time, wouldn't a gradual phasing out be better then simply dropping from your job?

 

assuming your boss is half reasonable, ask him if you can go for less hours (with correspondingly less pay, obviously), or find a job that lets you work on a casual basis. simply dropping an established working relationship to chase a dream is not going to work out as Disney would have you believe. in the words of terry Pratchett (with extraneous parts removed) ""If you trust in yourself and believe in your dreams and follow your star you'll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard."

Now that's what I call substantial...

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Should I stay on the current path, or should I throw caution and financial security to the winds and just eject myself from full time work to write full time and hope for the best?

 

Tricky sticky, that's what it is.

You know what happened to me. You could be the best damned writer in the whole world and still lose your job because of factors beyond your control. One day you could be living the dream, and the next it could be all taken away. What it all comes down to is whether you're willing to take that chance (and the pay cut) to live out the dream. But I know that you've had a knack for writing and have previously considered going full-time for quite some time time now.

 

There are days where I even question whether I made the right decision leaving a stable and well-paying job for a dream writing job that eventually failed. Sure it was great fun and I met a lot of cool people, but at the end of the day there are times where I wish that I had that secure job instead of risking it all and losing. Hindsight is such a marvelous thing.

 

That's not saying you're going to be doomed to fail. But just make sure you have a backup plan if it things do go pear shaped. And if they don't? You'd be living out your dream, which is what everybody wants in their lives :)

 

At the end of the day, I'm sure you'll make the right decision, as only you can decide what best for you based on your current financial situation and your future job prospects. If you have enough money saved up and do have a backup if things go awry, then go for it I say.

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