Daring or Delusion

To finish the moment, to find the journey’s end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom.
Waterfall, Fort Mountain State Park, Georgia

Well, I did it. Two weeks ago I took myself out of the running for an amazing training and development job, before the third round of interviews. The job was everything my Day Job Self was looking for: exciting, challenging, learning-focused. I’d have been working in a company known for its amazing corporate culture on the team of an executive I really liked based on my initial conversations with her.

The main drawback of the opportunity would have been the commute, similar to my previous day job (and probably made worse by the recent collapse of the I-85 bridge). Spending 2.5-3 hours a day in the car was certainly one of the hardest aspects of my last job, one I didn’t miss at all when I was laid off in January.

But there’s more. When I left my job in January, the prospect of unemployment was scary — not just financially, but emotionally too. There’s a solid sense of usefulness when you get up every morning and go to a job; do specific things in an office where you get almost-immediate feedback from coworkers, supervisors, etc. It was a known quantity: I had meetings to attend, tasks to complete, coworkers to have lunch and play softball with. And in many ways, I loved it. When it was  suddenly gone, it felt a little like riding a merry-go-round that stopped, tossing me off as my own forward momentum carried me forward through the air. So I scrambled to apply for new positions, trying to get myself onto the next merry-go-round as quickly as possible.

But as the process and weeks went on, something else happened. Being home again allowed me to focus again on my writing; and to get some extra time with Skywalker and Fozzie, which was much needed for all of us. I realized that — even though I’d been getting up in the pre-dawn hours to write each day — I wasn’t making the progress with my craft that I wanted while so much of my energy and intellect were focused elsewhere. And there were other aspects of my writing career being neglected entirely: group memberships, marketing, keeping up with industry trends, even this little blog.

By the time things began to get serious with the potential next job, I found my excitement waning — even though it was a dream opportunity in many ways. I’d settled back into my writer-mom life and was really enjoying it. The polished skyscrapers of Buckhead and downtown Atlanta had receded into the distance like a postcard from somewhere I’d visited. I felt the pull to stay home again on many levels, including the reduced stress on our family and the joy of immersing myself in the writing life once more. So, when the next merry-go-round emailed me with a request for an in-depth interview, I politely and honestly declined. They were understanding and gracious, but it was still hard to hit “send.”

This is the first time in my adult life I’ve turned away an otherwise viable, exciting job opportunity – and I’ll be honest, it is scary as hell. I worry that I’ll fail. That my own skills and ambition won’t be enough to make a real career of writing. I worry that I’ll get bored, or that I won’t be able to master my ADHD enough to stay productive without someone looking over my shoulder. I worry that I’ll look back in a year or two, trying to re-enter the job market later on, and regret that there’s yet another gap in my patchwork resume. These concerns are all legitimate, and Hubs and I discussed them at length before I pulled the trigger.

But those worries are small compared to my excitement. As we speak, I am editing the fourth draft of my fifth novel, and I can’t wait to tell you more. I’m loving being able to engage more with our writers at the Draft House, and to be a little more present for my kids (especially on weekends when I would normally have to take time out from our family to squeeze in my writing time). I’m glad to be back on this blog, sharing my random thoughts with you; and glad to be devoting more time to writing and improving my craft. Writing has always been my first love, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to try to nurture that relationship.

I may fail, and that’s okay. Who knows what the future holds? For now, though, I’d rather fail at my own dream than succeed at someone else’s.

Wish me luck – and stay tuned for updates on my adventure!

MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a Distracted Writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction -- her latest, SUGAR STREET released on 8/7/18. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

3 thoughts on “Daring or Delusion”

  1. FaithFaith

    Well, I know it may have been a daunting decision, but I’m happy you are back to writing full-time! (Or, at least, as full-time as you can get with 2 kids and a hubby to consider!)

  1. I Get Organized, You Get Prizes - MJ Pullen

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