I never aspired to be a social media manager. It’s just something that I fell into. But once you’re in that cycle of relying on a job, it’s hard to break out of it – especially when it takes you five years of writing to earn what you make in a month as a social media manager.
A few years ago I started exploring the possibility of cutting back on work to focus more on my passion. At the time I was working with a former footballer on their book, and felt that if I made the proposal compelling enough I’d be able to at least take a sabbatical from work.
The project fell through. An offer was made but quashed by the company’s lawyer, who feared of libel. It was frustrating, but my desire to try and make it as a writer was unaffected. I’d just need to find a new project.
I took a new job. It was still working in social media – for a less interesting client – but the increased salary on offer would allow me to save up more money to give writing a go in the near future.
Then Brexit happened, and that near future became a lot closer. The company that paid my salary was on the news every five minutes warning of how catastrophic a no deal Brexit would be. Some dismissed their claims as ‘Project Fear’. It was anything but. Rumours of redundancies started spreading around the office.
All the while I’d been putting the ingredients in place to commit fully writing. I published a children’s book to allow me to give workshops in primary schools. I found an agent to get me talks. I networked, met new people. And by chance I came into contact with two of the biggest YouTubers in the world.
Listening to their story inspired me. They’d poured everything into their videos over a four year period and made no more than £2,000. Then they hit a wave and blew up.
As I heard more, I began to see further parallels in our journeys.
I had to give writing a go.
The next week, one of my colleagues quit her job. ‘What would I do if money wasn’t an object,’ she said. ‘Not this. I’m quitting to try and make it as a creative.’
Okay. I really had to give writing a go.
I planned to give myself another twelve months in my job. Save a bit more money. Network a bit more, get some more school visits in place.
Then the redundancies were announced. I was placed into the redundancy pool. My advertising agency was getting a much reduced fee from our affected client and actions had to be taken. My job was to be no more. Everything accelerated.
If I don’t commit to writing now, I never will.
It ended up happening sooner than planned, and I don’t necessarily have enough in place to break even over the next twelve months, but I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.
I’m still going to work in social media. I have some freelance projects lined up to ensure I at least make enough money to eat. Most importantly though, I’ll have more freedom to write. There’s a children’s book currently being considered by publishers, a ghostwritten project for a YouTuber, a football book due to be announced in the coming weeks, and not only that. My project with the two YouTubers who inspired me so much, who poured everything into their passion for four years for peanuts, is due out this autumn.
Let’s see what happens…