Saturday, November 5, 2011

It only took 11 years...

by April Henry

For 18 years, I worked in PR and marketing for Kaiser Permanente. For 11 of those years, I was also writing a book a year (not all of them got published) and parenting. (And trying to exercise, floss, and keep the house sort of clean.)

For a lot of those years I was discouraged. Sure, I was making money writing, but it wasn't quitting money. It was vacation money. Furniture money. Once, car money. But never quitting money.

And I longed to quit. I was happy every time I read about someone who had successfully quit and upset when I read advice that said authors should never quit their day jobs. I wanted to reclaim my life. I didn't want to have a manager any more. During one four-month period, 13 people from my department were let go. I kept hoping I would join them (severance package!) but instead I was told to "channel" the CEO's vision. And then the next CEO's.

Then in the fall of 2007, I was approached about partnering with someone to write a mystery series. We ending up getting an offer for multiple books. While it wasn't a lottery-winning type amount, I also knew I would never have that much money at any one time again.

So I quit.

I quit before we had even signed the contract.

Now it's nearly four years later. And here's what I've learned in the last four years:

Money that you counted on sometimes doesn't happen.

Money that you didn't know about sometimes does.

And it all basically works out. And I am so much happier, especially if I let go and don't stress about exactly how it will all work out.

Here are two things that help me stay grounded and grateful.

Every night before I go to sleep, I think of three things I am grateful for that day. They can be really small, like a passage that turned out well or a cheerful conversation I had at the gym.

And for the bigger things, I keep a gratitude journal. If I see a blue heron, I write it down. If Girl, Stolen is the number one best seller for Scholastic Book Clubs in the month of October (which it was), I write that down.

Do you have any ways you use to keep your gratitude muscle exercised?


3 comments:

  1. I love thinking of three things to be grateful for at the end of the day...I know exactly what you mean, too, about just taking the plunge with writing. I did the same thing, and am grateful every single day that I had the family support that allowed me to go after the one thing I've always wanted more than anything...

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  2. "And it all basically works out" -- I agree. Most times it really does. I have no idea how that happens, but it does. And here's to Scholastic book club and blue herons!

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  3. I need a gratitude journal for sure. I find that when I'm feeling grateful, like does just basically work out.

    Congrats on the Scholastic book club and yay for blue herons!

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