I Am Creative. I Am An Author. From Affirmation To Reality.

**Warning: personal post*

Back in 2007, I was very unhappy in my day job.

In fact, I’ve never been happy in my day job but it paid the bills, enabled me to travel and I met a lot of great people. It was a mixed blessing. I fell into it to repay my student loan and just never escaped. I worked for big companies on computer systems and the work killed any creativity I had in me.

yes, that's really me! Great fun adventures...

In 2000, I resigned, left London for the Australian outback and swore never to do it again. My adventures were fantastic but eventually I ran out of money and went back. This cycle repeated itself a number of times… then in 2007, I was really, seriously over it. So I began investigating what else I could do with my life that would be helpful to other people and also enable me to escape the day job.

At the time, I read two books that made a huge impact on me. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. They talked about following your dreams and also using affirmations to set your intentions. The problem with changing your life is often knowing what you want instead of the status quo. When I looked at what I had always wanted, it was only ever to be a writer.

So I came up with my affirmation “I am creative. I am an author”.

At the time, I was not creative and I was not an author. Sure, I wrote diaries and letters but I couldn’t ever associate the word creative with me. I couldn’t even say this phrase out loud at first. I wrote it down and then started whispering it on the commute home (when no one was around!) I also moved to four days a week at the day job to give myself head-space to write my first book.

In April 2008, I self-published How To Enjoy Your Job…Or Find A New One. I was so happy and proud of myself. I thought I was going to change the world and free millions of IT consultants from their miserable lives. I spent money on printing physical books and did some old-style PR with press releases, radio and even national TV.

But I only sold a few books. Literally, a few. Even with national TV. I was devastated, but wasn’t intending to give up (as the affirmations were really kicking in now!) I also discovered that the book you write will change your life. It really did change mine as I understood what writing a book was like and I had found my purpose.

But I realized that I didn’t actually have a clue about marketing online. I had focused on traditional PR but what about the internet? So I started researching and buying online programs to learn about blogging and podcasting and other things.

After a couple of other attempts at blogging, I started this site in December 2008 in order to share what I had learned with the failure of my first book. For example, I had spent thousands of dollars on printing books and then discovered print on demand and selling on Amazon. I was determined that no one else would pay the price I did and I wanted to save people time, money and emotional energy on their own journey. I had also started feeling and becoming creative and the name ‘The Creative Penn’ came to me on the commute one day. I claimed the word for myself and have grown into it over time!

Since then, this site has grown and I have personally grown as a writer. Many of you have been here to see the changes over time. Thank you for sharing the journey with me so far. I have also continued to invest in my education as an online marketer and I absolutely love our online author community. In February this year, I published Pentecost, my first novel, which has now sold over 11,000 copies and remains an Amazon bestseller. The sequel, Prophecy is on its way.

So in August 2011, I decided that my affirmation has been fulfilled. I am creative and I am an author. I wanted to share this with you as encouragement as I know the fears that come with writing and the doubts that plague us. I’m an introvert too and have been crushed and hurt along the way. But I am also truly excited about the years to come as we are part of an incredible change in the industry.

So, all this background is to prepare you for my big news.

I have resigned my day job as an IT consultant in order to focus on my fiction writing and also on The Creative Penn community of writers and authors.

This is not a decision taken lightly (and yes, I have been saving for a while so there is a cushion). This has been coming since that day in 2007 when I just couldn’t take any more but it has taken this long to make a change that my risk-averse nature can bear. There have also been some inspirational people who have helped along the way, including Jonathan Fields with his new book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance which kicked me over the final line.

This is an uncertain time but I can see the way forward as an indie author and also as someone who can contribute to the creative community. I’m ready to make the leap!

What does this mean for you?

This blog makes me happy :) I don’t mean to sound cheesy but I love to be useful and sharing what works (and what doesn’t), as well as lessons learned, is very satisfying. I love getting emails from you and I love the comments. I hope you continue to find the site useful.

So you will still be getting the same quality of free information in terms of articles, audios and videos – nothing changes with the baseline of what you already get on this site. I love sharing and interviewing people and this is a great community, so stick around.

But this change gives me 40-50 extra hours per week (wow!) and so the following will also become available:

  • More fiction. If you enjoyed Pentecost, you will love Prophecy and now I will have more time to write! I’m going to be spending every morning writing fiction and every afternoon on this business, so expect the fiction back-list to be growing. Yes, I still want to be a Kindle millionaire :) Also, I will be starting a new blog for my fiction readers who are a different audience to this one.
  • Webinars – I will be doing 1 free tele-seminar a month on a specific topic. It will relate to my Author 2.0 mini-courses and there will be offers at the end but the webinar itself will be free so you’ll get 60 mins quality info and get to ask your questions. Recordings will be available to those who sign up. The first one is on Blogging for Authors but it is now full-up so if you missed this one, be ready for next month which I notify to my email list first.

There will also be Paid webinars. 90 mins of outstanding content with the recording and material available afterwards as well as Q&A and writing critiques. These will be paid for events that you can attend live or receive the recordings later. The first one will be on Writing A Fight Scene with awesome martial artist and author Alan Baxter – You can listen to a 40 min audio & video with Alan here as a taster of what’s to come but the webinar will be so much more. Click here to register your interest and we’ll let you know when it is scheduled. The cost will be US$20 and places are limited.

  • Multi-media courses. You can already buy Blogging for Authors and Writers and Ebook Publishing as multi-media courses and I will be developing other offerings in this space. I will be bringing out How to launch your book online and also a product on writing your first book. I will also be revamping and re-releasing my full Author 2.0 program. (Anyone who has already bought it at the existing price will continue to get all the revamped modules and extra bonus material – it’s a lifetime membership but the price will be going up).
  • Services. Every day I am asked to recommend people for ebook formatting, cover design, editing, blog building or marketing. In order to expand The Creative Penn, I will be partnering with special people to offer packages that give you value with people I can personally vouch for. To kick-start this, you can now get Kindle formatting for your book packages – click here for more information.

I hope you can see The Creative Penn becoming a resource hub for writers and authors, a community where we can help each other and learn together.

I’m looking forward to the next step (which is just slightly outside my comfort zone!).

Please let me know your thoughts about these changes. Are there any other ways I can help you?



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  1. says

    Congratulations Joanna – so exciting for you! You’ve been an inspiration to me as someone juggling work, writing and creativity so successfully. And now you are a role model for that next shift into a full-time writing and creative life. All the very best with all your new ventures and life in the UK and will watch with interest. Terri

  2. says

    Joanna, I am sooo proud of you for making the leap! The Creative Penn has given courage, inspiration and tactics to so many writers, and I’m so glad to see that you’ve gotten it and your writing to where you can leave your job. Congratulations!

    Your site and example were instrumental in giving me the courage to leave my job, back in June 2011. Like you, I’d hung on for a while, trying to figure out the right move. Now I’ve made mine too.

    Here’s to your continued success. When next my wife and I hit the UK, or should you find yourself heading to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, please do us the honor of letting us buy you a pint.

  3. LKWatts says

    Wow, Joanna – that’s amazing! I love all your blog posts and I follow you on Twitter to make sure I don’t miss anything new off you. I’ve always thought of you as a really successful business woman and you are. But because of the success you enjoy now I’ve always assumed it’s been like that with you forever. It’s silly really as I know plenty of other hugely successful indie authors that haven’t always been as successful. It just goes to show that if you’re determined and driven you can achieve wonderful things. I wish you continued success!

    • says

      Thanks LK. I don’t consider myself a successful indie author yet as I only have one novel and it’s not paying all the bills! I think I will consider myself successful when that goal is achieved, but I figured the only way to achieve it was to make space to write more so I can actually generate the backlist that will make the income! Thanks for your support.

  4. says

    As someone who’s been making a living online since 2003 or so, big congratulations and welcome to the ranks. 😉

    Though I must admit, I thought you were already a full-time web-preneuer. You’ve accomplished so much here! Keep it up, and have fun. :)

  5. Jack says

    Joanna, congratulations on your success and your big news. I subscribed to your RSS feed last week, and this post has given me inspiration. I worked in advertising for 13 years. The purpose of my job was to push people to buying suspect products and services. I hated it and the stress that went with it. I quit. My entire adult-working life, I never had a job I felt good about. Now that I’m free, I want to do something fulfilling. But what? I considered writing in the past but never thought of myself as creative. I told myself, “You can’t write, you don’t have the imagination, you can’t even think of something interesting to write about.” I expect this negative thinking destroys creativity. If you don’t mind, I am going to borrow your positive affirmation.

    • says

      Hi Jack, yes! please do borrow the affirmation and make it yours. I absolutely believe you have the imagination – all of us do! I think we kill off the little idea machine, the shy creative in us when we do the corporate job thing. My soul was sick after 13 years of it. I really hope you find your meaning in writing, or in something else creative. All the best!

  6. says

    Wow, I really enjoyed your post Joanna, especially since I could greatly relate to it. Hopefully, like you, one day I’ll be able to devote myself full-time to my passions and entrepreneurial pursuits. I recently started a publishing venture and your articles on indie publishing are truly a great resource. I’d love to stay in touch @houseoftales1

  7. says

    Joanna –
    I enjoy your posts. Keep it up! I worked in advertising and marketing for more than 40 years. Some of it was tedious, but most days were joy. Now that I’ve retired from all that, I have time to devote to my real passion … writing! And I read every one of your comments. In addition to writing, I try to help other indie wannabes. http://www.ronherron.wordpress.com


  1. […] She’s based in London, England although she lived in Australia and New Zealand for 11 years. She spent 13 years as a business IT consultant in large corporates across the globe before becoming a full-time author-entrepreneur in September 2011. […]

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