My heartfelt thanks to everyone who inquired â€“ sympathetically, encouragingly, mildly annoyed, or pointedly skeptical â€“ about what the hell was going on with my blog, and wasn't I supposed to be writing more now, anyway?
Well, yes, that was the idea. But I've learned a few things since I embarked on this quest to start a new writing career:
You might think that you can work extra hard to wrap up your old job, and that that will mean you can concentrate on your new vocation that much sooner. But it really doesn't work that way. The only way you get to your new job faster is to start doing your new job, and making it a higher (or at least equal) priority to your old job.
If you're going to start a new vocation, you need to tell absolutely everyone you know that you're going to do it, if you want to actually happen. I would be stuck writing software for another six months, were it not for all my family and friends and peers and blog-reading total strangers asking me what I'm writing these days. (Thank you, Augie Turak, for teaching me the value of public commitments.)
Richard Rose warned that when you try to start on a new direction in life, the "forces of adversity" will rise up to oppose you. It will seem like life is conspiring to thwart your escape. New enticing projects will come up. Old projects will suddenly get complicated. You will get sick. Your computer will die. Your friends' computers will die, and you will need to fix them. The only thing that will save you is a fixed commitment to keep going.
It is impossible to displace specific, concrete time commitments ("Write duplicate-checking code for the Monkey project, Friday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm") with vague and unspecific time commitments ("Be creative and dream about what you really want, sometime Friday after you get done with work.") It isn't even enough to block off the time on the calendar â€“ you have to decide ahead of time what you're going to do with that time, or you're going to face the overwhelming temptation to yield that time up to other pressures.
Until I've got all the same positive influences in my writing life â€“ peers, deadlines, commitments, and money on the line â€“ I'm going to have to stick like glue to the good habits that worked for me before. Most notably, blogging every day.