It’s 8:58 am as I write this; it’s a chilly November Tuesday.
I’m sitting at my home office computer, typing away in my studio apartment. The weather app on my iPhone says it’s -18 degrees celsius (-24 with the wind chill). And I’m here, well-rested in my warm black sweatpants and cotton sweater, getting paid to write articles from the comfort of my own home.
I love my job…
Sometimes I still can’t believe this is how I make my living. I’ve been a full-time writer for over a year now. It’s my dream job. And the fact I get to do what I love for a living is nothing short of a blessing.
What’s more, there are a few insightful lessons I’ve learned as a full-time writer. And these lessons will benefit you, especially if you’re still stuck working a less-than-ideal job—like I was…
Lesson One: Nothing Beats Persistence
I started a daily writing practice in April 2019. That’s when I began journalling every day. Almost a year later (in February 2020), I decided I wanted to become a writer. At the time, I was stuck in a construction job I hated.
And what’s worse, I had been trapped in that job for nearly a decade (8 years)! However, I knew the power of discipline. So I began taking my writing more seriously; I started by:
- Keeping up with my daily journalling habit (which I still practice to this day)
- Creating a personal blog and writing in it every day
- Writing and self-publishing my first book
I worked on these projects and wrote every day—without fail. Soon, my skills developed and began to improve. Then, when I was laid off from my shitty construction job (for the 5th time, literally), I decided to go all-in on writing.
For better or for worse, I was going to be a writer
This notion was non-negotiable in my head. After being laid off, I came home and threw my dirty work clothes down the garbage shoot in my apartment; I bought a new laptop, made a list of potential employers looking for writers and started banging on the keyboard. I was fired up!
But then the unexpected happened…
I received no response to my pitches. But I kept applying for writing positions. Soon, I began getting some receptiveness: One company asked me to write a 5000-word story (without pay) to “prove” my skills.
I invested the time and wrote the story. I was rejected.
Another company asked me to write a 2000-word article (this one, paid). I invested the time and wrote the article. I received no response and no payment.
Never Compromise With Failure
I kept applying for writing jobs, refusing to compromise with failure. And after two months of applying every day, I landed my first full-time writing gig! I worked with a marketing agency based in Florida as a freelance writer.
This job eventually led to my current position. Presently, I work as a full-time in-house content writer for one of the best digital marketing agencies in Canada. And it was all because I refused to compromise with failure regarding my goal of becoming a writer.
Lesson Two: Criticism is Necessary
I’ve been employed at my current agency for a little over a year now. And I’ve learned a lot during that time. When I began my writing career, I had no formal training or education.
Instead, I was self-taught.
I developed my skills through writing every day. And although this approach got my foot in the door, room for improvement still existed. This fact became apparent when a particular client reported quality issues with my writing to my superiors.
And let me tell you, learning what you’re doing wrong is not a pleasant experience.
For a month, I was put under a microscope. Old writing assignments were pulled out and flagged. New writing assignments were probed and scrutinized—unmercifully. My ego and pride were shattered as my writing was torn apart in every conceivable way.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The criticism was all constructive in nature; my superiors were just trying to help, and they genuinely wanted to see me improve.
But that didn’t make it any less painful.
However, I sucked it up, turned it around, and got better. And that criticism is one of the best things that has happened to me in my career so far. My writing has improved drastically, I’m more confident in my abilities, and my clients are much happier with my work!
These improvements wouldn’t have been possible without that tough, constructive criticism.
Lesson Three: Things Will Always Be the Same
I had high hopes for my dream job. And many of these hopes were realized. But many others were dashed. Coming from construction, I believed becoming a full-time writer would change everything regarding my work life.
But fundamentally, everything is the same. For example, I still have…
- Bad days
- Challenging tasks
- Difficult clients
- Confusing moments
The list goes on. And it made me realize that fundamentally speaking, things are the same as when I worked in construction. This is not to say the quality of my professional life hasn’t improved. It has—by a lot!
However, challenges still remain.
And that’s the point I want to get across with this lesson. Your dream job won’t eliminate problems from your life. Instead, you’ll just be introduced to new problems. This sentiment is not to stop you from going after your ideal career.
Far from it!
It just means you should be happy now. Because if you’re not happy without your dream job, you won’t be happy with it—at least not long term anyway.
Landing your dream job is a privilege and a blessing. However, it’s also an obligation (in my opinion). What I mean is it’s your obligation to find work you love. Why? Because when you do what you enjoy, it improves your quality of life and makes you a better person. You’re willing to work harder, learn more, and become great at what you do.
And this ripples into every other facet of your life, making you better and happier in the process.