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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Comments

  1. Tammie says

    Congratulations Joanna quiting the day job is a big step! I’m looking forward to Prophecy and I’m just about to check out the kindle formatting packages! I’m so happy for you.

  2. says

    Sounds brilliant, Joanna. I’m really looking forward to the changes. I’ve already benefited so much from your site, but I still have so much more to learn. Especially in the field of promoting my fiction – I’m terrible at that. Thank you for all of your hard work.

  3. says

    Wow! What a huge step to take, and a very brave one. This is awesome to read and I must admit it has been enjoyable to watch your progress over the past year or so.

    I first came across you when you interviewed Hyla Molander and you were both the first people I started following when I discovered Twitter. Your journey is remarkable and inspirational and this site is a hugely useful resource – I often find myself wondering how you find the time to write with everything else you have in hand.

    I wish you all the best Joanna and look forward to the release of Prophecy and seeing where your “new” career takes you in the future.

  4. says

    Fantastic post, Joanna – honest and vibrant as ever! You’re being so brave but I know your genuine desire to help, your passion to communicate and your incredible energy will make this new step work for you. We’ll all be watching this space!

  5. Kim says

    Congrats on this new adventure in your life – and it is an adventure, like anything that is worthwhile is meant to be.
    I took the decision in May this year to ditch the EDJ (Evil Day Job) and have not looked back. I am now happier and less stressed than I have ever been by throwing myself into my writing.
    I believe big steps like this are rewarded because you are showing true commitment to your dream and your passion. That takes courage and it is something that few people understand.
    I wish you nothing but success in your walk down the yellow-brick walk of creativity.

    • says

      Thanks Kim – that is very encouraging as you have already made it through the first difficult months. I was a bit worried that I would be lonely but there’s all the other people who are working from home online as well!

  6. says

    This is an incredibly inspiring story! Congratulations–and best of wishes for more amazing successes to come! I will be returning to this post when I feel discouraged and need a reminder of the payoffs of persistence and affirmation. Thanks, Joanna!

  7. says

    Congratulations on going full-time with your dream job! For years I listened to people (including many published writers) telling me
    “you can’t make a living as a writer.” What they left out was that there are other lovely, interesting things you can do that will fall under that writerly umbrella and contribute to a sustainable income. The Creative Penn will be just such a thing for you.

    I look forward to seeing more of what you’ll have to offer here. Your success is inspiring!

    • says

      Exactly Candice – I wouldn’t have given up the day job if I just had one fiction book, but I have a viable business as well that can be ramped up. I really consider myself an author-entrepreneur. Thanks!

  8. says

    Delighted to hear that you’ve had the tenacity to keep at it and manifest your affirmation into a living reality that does so much good for so many! Joanna, thank you for sharing your journey with us and for all you do for the writer’s community. Looking forward to the watershed of creativity that will come pouring out of you now that you can devote your full energies toward it.

  9. says

    congrats!
    I love draw, I love my studio, but I wanna more… wanna to be a writter too. Write my books and make my illsutrations inside him.

    but I really don’t know sell myself. poor marketing and e-marketing and this afraid me to launch a book.

    I like here, I like news. Good Luck!

  10. says

    Congratulations, Joanna! I can’t believe how much we have in common in terms of our work paths. I, too, worked in IT consulting (though I dealt more with the business end), and felt creatively stifled. I wrote my first novel two years ago, knowing absolutely nothing about getting it published, and your site has been a huge help to me. I haven’t quite managed to quit the biz contracts (single mom), but I’m headed in that direction and am halfway through writing my second novel, armed with at least a clue this time :)

    Thanks for all the help, and I look forward to seeing where your new path takes you!

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing your story. I don’t even know you and I am so happy for you. You made me get goose bumps at your good news. I know you will do very well. Thank you for the inspiration. I’m not working right now anyway but I’m working hard not to get back in a position of unhappiness. My simple affirmation right now is, “I am a writer!”

  12. says

    Congrats, Joanna. I’m enjoying a long sabbatical from work for the same reasons – albeit I am miles behind you in terms of ‘where I am at’! I think your contributions for self-publishers have been and will continue to be valuable and inspiring. All the best with this and your next book. K

    • says

      Thanks Karen – I see us all at different points on the journey. I look at some of the authors ahead of me and wonder if I will make it that far, but it’s just one step at a time.

  13. Joe Barlow@The Coffee House Wordsmith says

    Congratulations, Joanna! I’m so pleased for your success! It’s nice to see one of the “good people” get ahead for a change. All success to you, and I look forward to your next book.

    -j.

    • says

      I’m glad I’m considered a ‘good’ person :) not sure who else you’ve been following! We all have our work ethics and I’m one of those who thinks that hard work will get you there eventually – although I’m sure there are faster routes!

  14. says

    This is awesome news! I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for a long time and your information is invaluable! I’m in the same boat you’re in balancing your dream and real life and it’s just soo inspiring to hear your journey and how you are finally taking that leap! Congratulations!

  15. Lesley says

    Good Luck Joanna,
    I have already learned many hints and tips from your journey. I usually retweet to share to others and post on my facebook page. I look forward to seeing your success and your becoming a kindle millionare. Congratulations!

  16. Gary A Swaby says

    This is amazing, congratulations Joanna, and thanks for all your help. I look forward on hearing updates on your new ‘day job’ free life.

    I hope someday I can be at a position like you. I know you worked very hard for it, and I plan to also. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  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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