Reflections & Regret After 3 Years Without a Traditional Day Job

More than three years ago, I left the corporate newspaper world to follow my dream of becoming a published author.

My first project was to share my story of getting out of debt and saving money. I self-published The Hybrid Homemaker, which details how and why I left what most considered a decent-paying, respected position at the Green Bay newspaper.

In the years that followed, I wrote and polished two YA novels.

  • THE CHANNELS – First draft completed during NaNoWriMo 2010.
  • ARROWS – First draft began in October 2012. First query sent on July 2, 2013.

And a few picture book manuscripts, too.

I worked on some freelance writing and paid critique. I became a volunteer judge for Rate Your Story and volunteer Membership Chair for the SCBWI-Wisconsin.

I traveled to the SCBWI international conference in Los Angeles; this year, I’m going again.

Three years ago, my life changed in a big way, and within those years, I changed, too.

What life taught me.

  • Trust in abundance. Was is scary to give up one of our family’s main sources of income? Yes! The recession hit. People all around me were losing their jobs, not so “spoiled” as me to just “give one up.” Mr. Right and I had taken a leap of faith, and looking back, I can see that trusting in abundance – trusting in what was right for our family – was one of the best decisions we ever made.
  • Listen to what life is trying to tell you. Five years ago, I was experiencing burnout. Life was overwhelming, and I knew that. I knew me. My decision to simplify so I could do what I love seemed crazy to some, but then I remembered, this is your life. Live it well and …
  • Work hard. Writing a novel is more than typing out 65,000 words. It’s revision. Query letters. Pitch contests. Beta readers. Getting up everyday and doing it. Explaining to loved ones who don’t understand publishing why it’s taking so long. And more revision. I’ve learned you have to work hard for what you want in life, and if you don’t have it yet, work harder. Maybe you have a simpler dream than me, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing, “I’m living my dream.”
  • Try again. My life isn’t perfect. Our family has good days and bad, my writing career highs and lows. But every day is a new chance to try. Seize it.

The regrets …

  • None.
Photo by Makena G

Check out Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk, coming January 2016 from Delacorte Press/Random House. Visit her author site here.


1 Sandra Pawula July 31, 2013 at 1:19 am

I’m so happy for you! It sounds like it can only get better and better. I wish you the very best.

2 Melissa August 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Thank you, Sandy! It’s been a great year so far. 🙂

3 Alex G. August 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Hi Melissa, these are all good things & congratulations on 3 years! I quit my last job job in 1999. I just didn’t like having a job so I started freelancing. Back then it really felt like a choice between security and insecurity. Two recessions & many changes to the workplace later and it really does look like it’s now a choice between insecurity and insecurity. Security is an illusion. Healthcare is really the biggest obstacle for many people leading more independent lives. The removal of the ban on pre-existing conditions will free a lot of people up to become freelancers and entrepreneurs.

4 Melissa August 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hi Alex,
Thanks for sharing your story here! Healthcare is a major obstacle for many who dream of striking out on their own. But I agree, it’s a choice between insecurity and insecurity. Planning and common sense can help anyone afraid of taking the leap feel more at ease.

Again, thanks for stopping by!

5 Jennifer Sorenson August 6, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I applaud everything you are doing! Living the dream is hard work.

6 Melissa August 16, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Ha! Yes, that’s definitely something I’ve learned, too.

Hope you’re well!

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