Ask any successful author for writing advice and the first thing they'd probably say is to write. Just sit down and write.
The second thing they'd probably say is "Don't quit your day job."
Which is exactly what I'm doing. I'm taking a year off from my career to pursue my dream of publishing a novel. For being a rule-follower, I picked a pretty big one to break.
Allow me to explain. I taught 5th grade for the past 3 years but became frustrated to find that it wasn't the job I thought it would be. (I'll share more about that another day, I'm sure.) I've been writing as a hobby since 7th grade, but being a teacher quickly consumed all free time I might have had.
Going without writing for a year or two was hard. My life was missing something. When I finally gave myself some free time, the ideas flew faster than my fingers could type. It was wonderful, but I was still a busy teacher with lessons to plan, papers to grade, and lives to touch. I decided to take an online writing class, hoping that might make writing more of a priority and less of a guilty pleasure that could be pushed to the side. The class went extremely well, and I was encouraged to submit a story for publication. It was accepted, and I was hooked.
I continued to devote more time to writing and had two more short stories published. However, a problem quickly became apparent: I could teach seriously or I could write seriously, but doing both was not possible. Since the thought of teaching for the rest of my life kind of made me want to poke out my own eyeball, a change was necessary. At 25 years old, I realized something very important:
I want to be an author when I grow up.
It's a dream, a path bound to be littered with rejection and failure, but the chance of succeeding at something I love outweighs the possible negatives. So before I have a mortgage or a family or too many years invested in a retirement plan, I'm taking a chance. I'm taking one year to go after my dream. I'm living at my parents' house and whatever living rooms or spare bedrooms my friends let me stay in. I'm giving up a steady income and trying desperately not to go broke. In 365 days, I'll have to make some kind of a decision, but for now I'm quitting my day job. I'm breaking the rules.
And I'm going to love every minute of it!
I'll share my adventures here, because there will be adventures. I'm certain of that. I hope you'll follow me and let me know what you think.
Now I'm off to start day one...