By Olivia Savage (Guest Blogger)
My eyes were red and puffy from crying. I had already gone through enough tissue to wallpaper a small apartment. The sobbing deep in my throat just wouldn’t stop.
And I hadn’t even reached my lunch hour yet.
Few things suck more than having a complete breakdown at work. And this was my third one this month.
... So I did what I’d been doing this whole time to cope: Shut office door, lie down on the floor, fight to get ahold of myself long enough to get up and do my damned job.
The hiccups would stop (I hate that I hiccup when I cry—it makes me sound like a dying frog). Even so, like the trooper I was, I’d scrape myself off the industrial carpet to answer emails, make phone calls, and deal with the multi-crises that were all pounding on my door, waiting for me to man-up and solve them.
Because that’s what I did. That’s who I was. The organizer. The solver of issues. The one who made it happen because someone had to.
That’s why the word “manager” was on my door, right?
And why I was paid the big bucks. (... pardon me while I laugh hysterically here.)
What was Really Going On?
This “pull-up-your-big-girl-panties” self-talk all neatly distracted me from dealing with the REAL issue...
(Which I didn’t want to deal with because it was big and scary and would demand I answer some hard questions if I ever looked it straight in the eyes.)
The Real Issue: I did not like my life.
Cue self-doubt. Call in the guilt squad. And the ever-present voice of my mother.
... all working, in concert to make me feel ashamed and afraid were I ever to admit that I wasn’t happy with my life.
This is where the rationalizing starts talking you out of living the life you were meant to live:
What did I have, really, to complain about? No one likes their job, but we all have to pay for our coco puffs and lattes. Most people in the world live on $2 a day, so who was I to be so ungrateful? Besides, if I admit it wasn’t working, there would eventually have to be change, and I had NO IDEA where to even start with that...
Adding to fuckery of this whole situation was the fact that: I was good—like, really good—at my job.
Everyone said so. Which meant it must be true. And I did enjoy it some days...
... But others.
Have you ever felt like you were meant to do more than just pay bills and die?
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you went balls-to-the-wall after your dreams?
Does that voice in the back of your head whisper frightening and wonderful things to you when you’re lying in bed, late at night?
... telling you to go for it
... to leap off that cliff and see if you can fly?
Well, I jumped.
Fact of Life #1: Gravity sucks (more on that later).
One day, I couldn’t take it anymore. Once day, I couldn’t imagine scraping myself off the carpet the next morning, or the next. One day, I broke.
I’d had enough of fake-living.
... so my husband and I fired our jobs, sold our house and almost everything we owned, and moved into a 8-foot by 20-foot travel trailer that we pulled behind our truck.
Overreaction? In retrospect, mayyyybe... but maybe it was exactly what I needed. Like a hard punch to the throat (keep reading).
But at the start, oh, at the start of it all...
It was exhilarating.
It was terrifying.
It was uplifting.
For the first time in our lives, we were free!!!
Then the first of the month came and went, and on its tail, a reality check.
Fact of Life #2: No matter how far your run, people still want money if you use their stuff.
You know: cellphones, health care, food, gas, wine, the basics. (And I was definitely not going to go live off the land, wilderness-girl style. Mostly because there wouldn’t be coffee, but also because that sounds terrible.)
So here we sat with no jobs, a dwindling bank account, and a house that could roll off a cliff if given a brake-release and a stiff breeze.
In the woe of “How the hell do we pay our bills and still be free like a bird?!” I had a light bulb moment
... to finally do something I’d always wanted to. Something that was sure to solve all our financial woes and possible make us rich...
I was going to write a book!
I love reading, after all. And how hard could it be?
(Looking back, I realize Fate has probably hyperventilated from laughter at my life choices... multiple times. But anyways...)
Writing a book, it turns out, is not so simple AND is more time-consuming/ gut-wrenching/ self-doubt-generating than I could have ever imagined. Plus, I keep waiting for the moneys to roll in... I don’t think they got the memo.
Fact of Life #3: You have to do the work.
It seems like every guru, expert, and brother-in-law out there is offering some hack or secret or shortcut that will have you [INSERT CRAZY PROMISE HERE] in only [INSERT STUPID-SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME].
And while I love, love, love a solid plan with good strategies (you should see the color-coded charts I’ve made), there is ONE THING that you can’t hack...
If you want something important, something big or different in your life, you have to be willing to do the work.
For writing, that means Ass-In-Chair.
There is no shortcut for this. As I soon learned.
Writing a book is HARD and frustrating and many other things that I mutter under my breath while pounding on the keyboard.
And no one is paying you while you bleed away all this time... I could have been making tips as a barista, but, instead, I’m growing limp and pale through the glow of my computer screen and hoping that something amazing will happen as the hours and days and months go by.
But I managed to finish it. My first book.
... And guess what?
... After I finally wrote my first book?
The book sucked.
Like, sucked worse than removing cactus needles from your ass with a roll of scotch tape. (Which does not work, by the way! But that’s another story.)
And guess what else? No one bought it.
Even close friends who read it (for free, ‘cause I gave it to them) laughed at me. These people have let me wear head-to-toe fringe in public, so if they were horrified by my writing, it must be bad.
So let’s flush that dream-big idea down the drain where it belongs and seriously think about becoming a barista, because we tried (really hard) to write and failed miserably... or did we?
Fact of Life #4: When you’re starting... it will always suck.
But you as you keep going, you start to suck less. And less. Until you even tip the scales over to good (and so forth).
Yes, that first little book that I worked so hard on and was so afraid to show to people because I wanted so much for it... it still sucks.
But I didn’t stop writing.
In fact, I went on the war path to learn everything I could. I read books about writing, listened to podcasts, signed up for workshops, Facebook-stalked authors I loved, and KEEP GOING through the suck.
Now I can confidently say that I suck way less than when I started (Yay for me!), have seven books under my belt, and have discovered something I love: telling stories (and writing sex scenes, I love writing sex scenes).
Has writing brought me the fame and fortune I first dreamed of? According to my ramen-noodle-and-boxed-wine diet, no. But it has given me something far better, something I’ve never had before...
A sense of fulfillment.
... which a fancy job title and an over-sized house packed with stuff was never able to give me. I’m filled with gratitude every day that I get to sit at my computer and pound away at the keys because going after something you’ve always wanted—and sticking with it through the suck—is one of the most rewarding adventures I’ve ever had.
And I’m only getting started.
Calling myself a writer is a battle-cry-proclamation for me. I’ve worked hard to get here. And I’m working my ass off to answer the call of my inner-creative-voice. Because we all have that thing, that thing we’ve always wanted to do...
Fact of Life #5: You MUST engage with you highest calling.
Many pursuits will give you stuff, lots of relationships are ok, countless jobs aren’t that bad... but what will give you life? Success is great (I still want it!) but not without fulfillment.
What fills you—what makes you come alive—will be unique and your own story. No one can tell you what it is. You’ve got to dig and unearth it for yourself (See Fact #3: You have to do the work).
I’ve found it inside creation (the act of writing) and my biggest hope for you, my friend, is that you find yours
... And start living it.
... Start do it.
... Start sucking at it.
Because that’s where the magic begins.
Hug, kisses, and wishing you all the best in whatever you suck at,
Before you go...
Grab your FREE GIFT from Olivia — A Very Inappropriate, Adult-Only Coloring Book — by visiting her site:
While you’re there, check out her books and show her some love by going to Amazon and buying a copy of one you like [hint, hint, wink, wink].
What would you do if a hot, rich, famous artist asked you to pose for one of his painting?
...And, by the way, did I mention you'd have to be naked?
Completely, 100%, nothing to hide those love handles, nude.
Honestly, it's mortifying enough to stand naked in front of my own mirror, but to do it in the same room with my mind-blowingly hot, totally off-limits art instructor?
This is so not something that I, June Cooper, had planned for this college semester.
What I should be focusing on is working my butt off to pull in awesome grades and get into my choice of law schools.
No distractions allowed.
Especially if they come with male parts attached.
No distractions allowed.
Especially if they come with male parts attached.
Aside from just being dumped, a waistline that inexplicably keeps growing (damn you, chocolate cake!), and a highly developed caffeine addiction, my life is pretty much on track. Just how I want it.
Then, he showed up.
Famous painter. Artist. And one giant, smoldering, red-hot distraction.
My world comes screeching to a halt when Ryan asks me to pose for a painting.
Going naked is one of the most terrifying demands anyone has ever made of me.
But I could never have guessed how exposed my life would become through that one little request.
Olivia Savage is a naughty romance writer currently living in Arizona, home of the Grand Canyon, killer bean burritos, and the kind of cactus that you can’t remove with scotch tape.
Connect with her on the web and on Twitter. She's also eager to chat with you on Facebook.