By Darlene L. Turner
So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s. – Colossians 3:23 (VOICE)
I think we can all agree, 2020 has been a year for the history books and one we’ll not soon forget. I know friends who’ve lost loved ones, jobs, struggled with self-isolation, and much more. I’m sure many of you have as well.
2020 has been interesting for me. It’s held some exciting events. My debut book, Border Breach, released in April and although it launched at the height of COVID-19, it was still a blessing! Yes, all my author signings and in-person launch parties were cancelled. A disappointment for my first publication. However, this was miniscule compared to what was happening in the world!
Little did I know when I left my office on March 13th, 2020, my colleagues and I would work from home indefinitely. What I didn’t realize was I would never return. For the past few months, I’d been contemplating retiring after working with my insurance company for thirty-one years to pursue my dream career of a full-time writer. After lots of prayer, number-crunching with my hubby, encouragement from my sister and others, and what I call “God nudges,” I took a leap of faith. It was time. I told my boss I was retiring, effective August 1, 2020.
What have I learned from transitioning from a full-time quality assurance analyst role into storyland? Lots. Here are a few.
Take a break before diving in – I worked for this insurance company for thirty-one years and I was tired. I needed to take a break and unwind, so I was able to use up my final two weeks of vacation and finish mid-July. I took that time to do some writing, reading, day-trips with my hubby, and shifting my thoughts away from my previous job. I needed to break free to get my focus into storyland, so I allowed myself to do just that. It worked.
Create a schedule – a friend asked me if I was going to throw out my alarm clock when I retired. I immediately said no! I wanted to stick with some sort of schedule, so I left my alarm clock set at the same time. It’s only been a few weeks since I went into full-time writer mode, but my schedule has formed after trying different routines. I start my day off with a devotion, have a small breakfast and coffee, check a few emails, and then go for a walk. After that, I dive into my writing. I’ve found that setting a timer for 20 minutes and totally focusing on my story helps keep me focused. Every person needs to find what works best for them and stick with it.
I’ve shifted my mindset – I’ve been told that I look more relaxed and I know why. I’ve been able to totally focus on what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful to have a good job for all those years, but it wasn’t my passion. I go to bed each night thinking about what my characters will do next and I wake up excited to dive into my stories. Being able to write when I want to write and juggle my day accordingly is such a gift.
Have I doubted my decision? Honestly, it has scared me as we all know the publication industry is a roller coaster, but, NO I haven’t regretted taking that step and trusting God.
He’s given us a gift and a calling to write. Whether we do it part-time or full-time doesn’t matter. We write for Him. He will use our storyland to further His kingdom. We just have to take that leap of FAITH and let Him.
I’m so glad I did!
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Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.