I just spent the past week moving my 9-to-5 office. In a word, moving sucks. It’s stressful, exhausting, scary, expensive . . . all the things that put my regimented OCD soul into a fight or flight mode and kept me up at night going over every detail and every possible snag. I thrive on routine and predictability. When the word spontaneous comes up, you will not find my face as an example. I will put up with just about anything so as not to rock my same ole same ole world. Case in point, those 24-years of marriage. But sometimes you just gotta move on down the road . . . even if you don’t have Mapquest to provide you with every turn and rest stop.
Maybe you lost your job, were laid off, fired, phased out or maybe your place of employment just closed its doors. If you’ve checked the Help Wanted ads, it’s terrifying out there. But you have no choice. You have to start over someplace new. Maybe you’ve gone as far as you can where you are and to get to the next stage career-wise, you have to pull up roots. Perhaps changes where you are have suddenly made it impossible to remain through no fault of your own, one of those when it becomes more painful to do nothing scenarios. Whatever the reason, the result is the same. You’re back to square one, the new kid, the fish in a strange pond swimming madly to keep up, trying to fit in, to find your grove, to make a place so you can make a difference and a living.
I don’t like change but my working and my writing careers are defined by them, whether they be by my choice or by external forces. The best ones weren’t always the one I chose to make. Sometimes, that slamming of the door on your backside is the impetus toward better, greater things. A lot of times, our own attitude and preparedness makes all the difference on whether the move is smooth or miserable. We can see it as an adventure and make the most of it or we can fret and moan and ultimately let it destroy us.
Moving companies send you those little check lists, reminders of what to do and when so that you’re ready in advance for the actual physical event. We can’t know ahead of time if our company or publisher is going to close its doors or if our boss/editor/agent is going to get pregnant or flee to a country with no extradition but it doesn’t hurt to have an emergency plan in place. Take a moment to consider yours. Could you survive a sudden relocation? Afford an unexpected loss of income? Here are some ‘moving’ tips:
- A financial cushion makes an abrupt change in circumstance much more pleasant. Start building that nest egg fund to fall back on, whether it be in the bank or in the backlist. I’ve resold 7 of my backlist titles (the first one LOVE’S OWN REWARD was just reissued by Bell Bridge Books!) for two more years of employment.
- Stay aware of the business climate around you. If the ground is beginning to crack under your feet, it may be time to start packing a bag before fissures appear to swallow you up.
- That ‘not all your eggs in one basket’ plan is always a good one. Spread your safety net as wide, without being dangerously thin, as possible so if one egg breaks, you’ll still be able to make breakfast.
- Never leave empty handed. Your contacts, your friends/associates, your experience, your resume go with you so learn how to use them to your best advantage. Don’t ever burn bridges.
- Consider freelancing. Always dreamed of being your own boss? Now may be the time to take control of your own career by self-publishing. I’m taking that plunge with the next book in my “By Moonlight” dark paranormal series this October.
- Plan ahead for that next step you’d like to take so if forced to take it, you’ll be ready. Where would you like to work? Have some ideas outside the box of your usual genre tucked away in case the bottom falls out of the one you’re in. Cultivate agents and editors when the opportunity arises so they know who you are and keep in touch with previous ones. It’s all who and what you know. Learn as much as you can to make yourself self-sufficient should you need to fall back on your own skills.
- Don’t panic. Get your rest. Get advice from others in the know who care about you. Don’t grab on to the first branch you see. It may be poison oak. Don’t move ahead from a position of emotional weakness by putting less than your best foot forward.
- Don’t be afraid to take a step backwards to prepare for a leap forward. Would you like fries with that? If you take pride in your work, no job is beneath you. Ego doesn’t pay your bills. Try a small press to rebuild your career and numbers. Write articles and blog posts to keep your name out there while you look for a steady job.
- Don’t waste time wallowing. So you got a raw deal. Brush it off. Pull up your Big Girl Panties or Big Boy Briefs and get on with it. Use your down time to polish your craft. Try a new direction, a new genre, a new name. Put together solid proposals and when you send one out, start working on the next. It’s now your job to get that next job.
- Once you’ve got that job don’t play the apples to oranges game. No work place is the same as the one you left and they aren’t going to accommodate you. Adapt to the status quo and learn to swim in their pond or expect to go under.
The Insecure Writer’s Support Group
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time.