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The Slower, Less Traveled Road

My online writing career - slow and steadyWhen I look at my online writing career, I realize I could have earned a lot more money and reached my financial goals a lot faster. My slow, steady and maybe antiquated method for earning money isn’t the most popular route to travel.

The Road I TookRoad Less Traveled

I started out on the more frequently traveled road. That road involved lots of writing, querying, higher-paying gigs and lots of frustration. After spending time on that road, I realized it was very similar to the 9-5 employment road. It was paved a different color, but the frustration was the same.

Both roads required me to spend time working for someone else in order to get paid. I had to abide by their rules, regulations and guidelines. This, in and of itself, isn’t such a bad thing. It was a lot better than getting up and going to work, but it started to put a damper on my spirit and take my writing joy away. Anyone who has written for Demand Studios understands what I’m talking about.Writing for Demand Media Studios can be frustrating

Actually, I have to thank places like Demand Studios (for their frustrating editorial process) and Bright Hub (for their out right rejection of my application). If it weren’t for my frustration and rejection, I might not have concentrated as much on my residuals early on.

Thinking Long-Term

During my days of writing frustration (and rejection) I had to stop to think about what I wanted from my writing career. So, in usual style, I wrote a list of what I wanted/needed. Here’s the list I wrote oh so long ago:

  • I want to write
  • I want to write books
  • I want to help folks via my online properties
  • I want a sustainable business model that allows me time away from the computer and isn’t dependent upon my being online all day.
  • I want to write evergreen, timeless, motivational content that does not require updating (or very little).
  • I want my online properties to support my lifestyle
  • I want to experience life and write about it
  • I never want to retire.

The last line about retirement is key. In the 9-5 world people grit their teeth and try to stick it out until retirement only to find that retirement isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. The cost of living continued to rise and the retirement checks did not.

Humans are the only species that retires. The rest of the animal kingdom remains useful until they die. If an animal retires, it becomes dinner for the working folks.

Back to the Road Less TraveledWrong Way

In order to shape my online writing career to meet the goals I listed, I had to change direction. I slowly transitioned off of the frequently traveled road in favor of the side road. The side roads aren’t smoothly paved, nor do they have the white reflective paint, which makes it easier to see when traveling at night. There were no Facebook or Twitter rest stops on this road.

There were one or two Wrong Way signs, but that was about it. Choosing to ignore the Wrong Way signs, I continued down the path.

Choose Your Path

I didn’t mean to get all Robert Frost  on you guys, but I think you should take a little time to jot down your writing goals. Take a moment Freedomaway from the craziness and the frustration. Find some quiet time to think about where you want to be in the next 2, 3, 5 years or so.

Once you know where you want to go, use that as your measuring stick to see if you’re on the right track. Learn to work from the inside (from your own goals, dreams and aspirations) out instead of the outside (what everyone else is telling you to do) in. I find inside out living so much more rewarding and you will too.


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{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Ken Muise December 5, 2011, 8:42 am

    AAaaawww…shizzle, shizzle! This kinda’ post makes me wanna’ do 40 push-ups, build a Star Wars lego Imperial Star Destroyer and blog, blog, blog!

    You are the best at this kind of thing! Explaining the paths, options, fear and frustration and then gilding it all with a stardust glitter! Wooooooooooooooo!

    • Felicia December 5, 2011, 8:50 am

      ROFL!!!! Ken, you have such a way with words. LOL!

      Glad to be of help. 🙂

  • Crystal December 5, 2011, 10:18 am

    “If an animal retires, it becomes dinner . . .” Great point! I’ve been “retired” for several years now. When I left my 9-5 at age 44, people around me were incredulous. What was I going to do with my time? Wouldn’t I be bored? Are you kidding me? I’m happily busy pursuing all kinds of new interests. I’m with you – I also will never actually retire.

    I do need to make a list of what I want, however, so thanks for the gentle kick in the pants. That, along with today’s great article on focus in your Motivation for Writers newsletter, made me realize that I need to reassess my direction and progress.

    • Felicia December 5, 2011, 11:06 am

      Crystal, I can’t ever imagine you retiring. I have the feeling you’ll find one cause or another to champion (donating your hair to a worthy cause is just one example).

      • Crystal December 5, 2011, 12:41 pm

        Yeah, you’re right – I guess that’s the beauty of adult-onset ADD!

  • Grandma December 5, 2011, 10:54 am

    Ditto to what Ken said. Love this thought: “If an animal retires, it becomes dinner for the working folks.”

    Having the struggle of trying to decide what that “one thing” is for me. Thanks for this timely post.

    • Felicia December 5, 2011, 11:08 am

      Grandma, I kissed a lot of frogs before I found my “one thing.” I’m not so sure it’s my true one thing, but it works for now. 🙂

  • Kevin Martyn December 5, 2011, 11:13 am

    Hi Felicia,

    Working for yourself can be a double-edged sword, as you may have heard it said before when you’re self-employed you only have to work half the day, in which 12 hours you decide to work is generally up to you.

    Doing things your way is a big consideration when it comes to self-employment, so thinking in advance what is it you want to do and how you want to do it. My rules are quite simple, if I don’t enjoy doing it and I don’t!

    Kind regards


  • Michael December 5, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Great post.

    Just wanted to make you aware of a couple of errors. In the second paragraph of the “Road I Took” section you have “t” instead of “to” and in the first paragraph of the “Back to the Road…” section you have “There we no Facebook…” instead of “There were no Facebook…”

    Hope you don’t mind me pointing these out so you can correct them.

    I like the bit in here about not retiring. I don’t want to retire either, except from my workaday job.

    • Felicia December 5, 2011, 2:53 pm

      Thanks for the corrections, Michael. I guess I should have taken lessons on editing on that road less traveled. 🙂

  • Loretta December 6, 2011, 5:39 am

    Excellent post,Felicia. You are an artist — you paint pictures with your words.

    • Felicia December 6, 2011, 7:11 am

      Thanks Loretta. Actually, drawing was my first love but I abandoned it because of life and family obligations. Once things start really flowing right with my writing, I’ll have the chance to spend more time drawing.

  • Dawn December 6, 2011, 6:26 am

    Thank you for another timely post! It’s wonderful to realize that I’m not the only one insane enough to ‘retire’ from the 9-5 chaos in my 40’s. My family has pointed out that I am busier now than ever before, but happier as well.

    Another lesson we can learn from the animal world is to trust your instincts. We’ve ignored our own instincts for too long – once we’ve tuned back in, the results are amazing! When I wrote the business plan for our current endeavor, it almost wrote itself. Yet from a societal viewpoint, I must be crazy to leave a good paying job with benefits and turn around a buy a farm.

    It’s always a good idea to have a long term plan to guide you. I posted mine on my mirror where I could see it every day. It works well as a motivation booster!

    Thank you, Felicia!

    • Felicia December 6, 2011, 7:13 am

      It’s funny you should mention instincts. In one edition of my motivational newsletter (can’t remember which issue because I write so many at one time), I discuss the importance of developing and trusting your instincts. You’re living proof of that.

      • Crystal December 6, 2011, 10:06 am

        Develop Your Instinct Muscles, 11/28/11

        The motivational newsletter is great, btw. I recommend that everyone subscribe:)

        • Felicia December 6, 2011, 10:28 am

          Thanks Crystal. 🙂

          • Crystal December 6, 2011, 4:09 pm

            You’re welcome, Felicia. I’m actually saving them all to a special folder so that I can easily find and re-read them.

  • Sakura December 6, 2011, 11:44 am

    Thank you so much for maintaining this blog and sharing your wisdom and insight. 🙂

  • Joni December 8, 2011, 4:32 am

    I am very much in tune with your voice, I don’t notice when you make slight typos. We have a few things in common such as our age and confidence level as newbies. I also believe we are always evolving and changing. What might be the right path for me this year may change in two or three years if I come upon yet another fork in the road.
    I will never go back to the corporate world; it goes against everything I am. I have learned that I “need” much less than I ever thought; especially since it is just me taking care of myself.
    I love the motivational newsletters!

    • Felicia December 9, 2011, 7:01 am

      Joni, we are very similar. It’s funny you should mention how your path may change over the next few years. I’ve noticed how my path and NJFM has changed over the years.

      There’s a natural tendency to stick with what works, but there’s always the internal struggle to leave what’s safe and venture into something new. I’m getting to the point where I’m feeling a little more comfortable leaving the safety net and venturing out to explore something new. That’s a major evolutionary step for me.

      BTW, my typos. I’ve got more than I can see. Sometimes I look at them and say, “Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t see that one.” Usually, I’m thankful that they’re pointed out so I could correct them. 🙂

  • Edward G Gordon December 13, 2011, 6:12 am

    I haven’t got past the “I want to write” and “I want to write books” phase. Does that make me a selfish person?

    Lol, anyway Felicia the one thing I always take away from reading your posts is positivity. You have a knack for writing motivational pieces that work. Which is why I keep returning I guess. (there’s a lesson there for me I think)

    The truth is that the only thing I want to do is write. I’d prefer to write fiction but if all I could get was to write for the back of a kellogs cornflakes box – well I guess that would do too.

    Maybe some day I’ll actually get good at it.

    • Felicia December 13, 2011, 11:31 am

      Edward, I think you’re a lot better than you give your credit for. I tend to stick with non-fiction because it’s easier. I’ve got a few fiction pieces but they were written for my kids and will never go any further.

      You’re not selfish at all. You just have a better memory than I do. I have to share what I do so when I forget, I have a ton of folks to remind me what to do next. 😉

  • Elizabeth April 30, 2012, 7:22 pm

    You are so spot on as always. I feel like you have provided such motivating and helpful writing advice, that it has really shaped the course of my online writing career. I have only recently felt that I really knew what I wanted to do and have had the passion to pursue it fully. I feel like I am on a path to actually reaching my goals and it is largely because of you. Many Thanks Felicia!!!

    • Felicia May 3, 2012, 6:40 am

      Follow your dreams, Elizabeth. There are times when you’ll need to wear a pair of blinders so you won’t get sidetracked by the outside noises, but keep following your dream.

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