One Year Later
Time to take some stock.
A year and a month ago, I left my last corporate job to embark on being a writer full time again. I thought maybe third time would be a charm and that I’d be writing full time, taking on some consulting and going forward from there indefinitely.
While some version of this played out for a good long while, when an interesting corporate gig dropped in my lap I decided to take it up again. So, I was back to working full-time in a corporate gig. At the very least, the corporate day jobs keep getting better.
What have I learned?
Well. One thing I learned is that I can’t seem to get away from doing a corporate job. After three attempts at being a writer in the gig economy taking on consulting projects, it has finally hit me that the instability of income from gigs is actually too stressful for me and that I need a corporate job to anchor a part of my identity and to provide me with the peace of mind to be able to work on my writing without pressure. With my corporate work, I felt a lot of anxiety about my writing not generating enough income and I felt even more anxiety about where my next pay-cheque was going to come from.
I think until such time I am able to walk away from the consistent income, the sense of identity, and the sense of self-worth a corporate job provides, I have decided over the course of this year that doing a corporate job is ok and it is part of who I am. I am a professional, it was what I was trained to do. And though I have wrestled with it and that part of my identity for the last almost ten years, I’ve finally concluded that I can be proud of my professional capacity as a corporate lawyer. It is a part of who I am and it is a part that makes me whole.
When I first left corporate law, I wanted to get away from it so badly, but over the course of ten years, I have come to see that it has brought me copious amounts of privilege and luxuries that I otherwise would never have had. I am finally coming around the bend to being humbled and grateful for this part of my identity.
The other more prominent struggle I have had over this last decade has been with my “writer” identity. This is the identity that I want. This is who I strive to be every day. Being a writer is my dream and that dream is boundless and large. Yet I never feel like I am worthy of calling myself a writer. On some level I could say the same thing about my corporate identity (since there’s always the next level) but because it’s never been a dream of mine to climb the corporate ladder, that part of me knows what enough looks like. While I’ve been lucky in that I keep trading up for a better corporate job, I don’t stake too much on it because I am simply looking for something that is good enough. Currently, my corporate job is great, it is the best one I’ve had yet and it is providing me with all the things I need from it: low stress, community, income stability, social interactions, learning, etc.
In a previous post I had mentioned that my saboteurs seem to now all be gathered on my writing and this is probably why. It’s like the last stand they must take - to be dementors to my writing. Because this part of my identity is the most vulnerable and weak and needs the most support. But I must work on fighting them and getting them under control as much as possible so that they do not effect my writing progress.
So in a bid to fight back against my saboteurs, I am going to make a list of the things that I have accomplished in this last year (and anything else that comes to mind) just to prove to myself that even if I feel like there’s been no progress, there actually has been. Without further ado, I give to you:
All the damn things I’ve done for my writing thus far - 2022 edition.
Took Catapult Class on Long-Form Article Writing
Took Catapult Class on Book Proposals
Read and learned about getting a book deal opening up a whole new level of understanding of the business of being a writer.
Actively following Agents + Books by Kate McKean
Wrote Book People long-form article
Participating in monthly writing group meetings with my Catapult classmates
Learned and are now using Scrivener, Otter.ai
Conducted over ten interviews and pre-interviews of book people
Accomplished NaNoWriMo and wrote on book people themes and topics
Starting meetings with my writing mentor Aish
Starting work on Book People timeline
Reading non-fiction books that I otherwise probably would not read
Putting up welaquan.com
Finished (and continue to add to) Harlem Row
Made writing progress with Tax Law Picture Book
Made publishing progress with Contract Law Picture Book
Connecting with Prof Kadri of Georgia Law re: Torts
And… I am just getting started! I have to keep reminding myself that I am just getting started on my Book People journey.
What I aim and will accomplish before Aug 1, 2022 (and the subsequent 5 month hiatus I will allow myself for personal reasons) include:
Contracts Law Picture Book - kindle pub, print-on-demand, nybarpicturebook.com updates and announcement of it’s arrival.
Tort Law Picture Book - final edits + forward from Prof Kadri, kindle pub, print-on-demand, nybarpicturebook.com updates and announcement of it’s arrival.
Complete Book People timeline
Write four micro-topics for Book People
Update Harlem Row
This feels realistic and accomplishable. This is what enough looks like for this year. Now all I gotta do is convince myself to believe it!