MAJOR life update!
As you would already know if you subscribed to my monthly newsletter, in August I took a leave of absence from my job as a dietitian to undergo Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). One of the many things I explored during my treatment was the question of what my next act in life would be. I realized that fear was holding me back – specifically fear of failure, looking ridiculous, starvation, and letting my family down. KAP helped me acknowledge that I could trust myself to do what it takes to keep myself and my family safe. I am not going to let us down!
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Me? I wanted to be a fiction author, right from the very beginning. But as I grew up, I decided that was a pipe dream.
To be clear, I am a Very Good Writer™. I may not be the best (who is, by the way? and who gets to decide that?), but I’m pretty darn good, and I always have been. My first grade teacher, Ms. Betty Jo Bell, kept a copy of my first book, Ronald and Donald, because she was sure I would grow up to be a famous author. In fourth grade, I won grand prize in the school cultural arts contest for my story from the Statue of Liberty’s perspective. As a sixth grader, I was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. My eighth grade creative writing teacher chose my short story, The Diana, for publication in the school’s literary magazine.
There was no inherent reason why I couldn’t succeed as a writer, but I let fear dictate my choices, and fear kept telling me I would starve if I chose the writer’s path. Almost ever since then, I’ve regretted that I didn’t just go live in a Harry Potter broom closet somewhere in New York City with no health insurance and eat ramen noodles every day and just try.
TRY, young Jenna, while you’re still young and healthy and unsaddled with responsibility!
Well, I’m sick and tired of allowing fear make me sick and tired.
That ends today.
So after nine years at the same nonprofit , and nearly fifteen total years as a Registered Dietitian – I am now a full-time fiction author. And oddly enough, I feel... completely at peace with my decision.
I have no idea where money will come from while I establish myself as a full-time, professional writer. I have a financial cushion, but it’s not endless.
I don’t care. I’m diving in headfirst, anyway.
It’s a huge leap of faith, but faith in myself is what I now lay claim to. The odds of supporting myself and my family as a fiction author are so astronomically low, it’s like winning the lottery.
I don’t care. Somebody has to win that lottery, and there’s no reason why it shouldn't be me.
This full-time fiction author business may not work out in the long run. Either way, I really don’t care; but I am going to do everything I can to make it work out. If it doesn’t – or if it takes longer than expected – I can and will do what it takes to keep my family afloat. Meanwhile, when I’m on my deathbed, I can say I gave it the old college try.
I’m not going to wait until my children are grown, or until I retire, or until, until, until. If there’s anything I’ve learned about life, it’s that it’s uncertain. In fact, it’s not even guaranteed. I could get hit by a bus today. I could get cancer and be too sick to write by the time I retire.
It's today. I will live today.
How does fear hold you back from taking risks and leading the life you want?
Let me know in the comments! SUBSCRIBE to my monthly newsletter so you don’t miss any more major life updates, and I’ll also send you EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEKS of my upcoming sequel to The Catch!
Jenna Miles, Full-Time Fiction Author