I’m a good girl and I always have been. Just ask my parents or former teachers if you don’t believe me.

I’m an Enneagram 1 which means I like order. So, give me the rules and I’ll follow them – most of the time. (The feminist in me doesn’t always follow the rules about what a woman should and shouldn’t do or should and shouldn’t be – but that’s another post for another day.)

The rules say you go to college, get a good job, work hard at that job, stack your 401k and then retire.

So, I went to college – twice. With my bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and my master’s degree from UC Berkeley in hand, I got a job as a reporter for a weekly newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky. I had always wanted to teach so eventually I left that newspaper gig, but only after I’d secured a teaching position with a solid salary and good benefits – because that’s what good girls do.

But then on May 24, 2019, I did something good girls don’t do. I quit! I quit my teaching job to try my hand at being a full-time writer. I made the leap with no safety net beneath me.

Sure, I had a few publications that I wrote for regularly, but that income was just enough to pay for Beyonce concert tickets, the occasional girls’ trip, and Spring Break vacations with my husband. My freelance money was my play money. Now it had to be my mortgage money and my money for everything else!

So, was I afraid to jump? Hell yeah, I was scared! I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough money to pay my bills or that hubs and I would have to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner every night.

But I followed the old adage and decided to feel the fear and do it anyway.

How did this good girl convince herself to break the rules?

For years I wanted to be a full-time writer on my own terms, but I was convinced a person couldn’t make a decent living as a freelance writer in a place like Birmingham, Alabama. I needed to move to a bigger city like New York, Chicago, or even Atlanta. But I didn’t want to move! I love my city and I love my house.

But then I just got fed up with my own excuses and I declared YES, I CAN DO THIS!

Now here I am more than a year into this and I’m not only surviving – I’m thriving. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and in spite of a cancer diagnosis (and the obscenely expensive treatment it requires), I make enough money not only to pay my bills but also to pay down debt and buy Fabletics leggings and Savage X Fenty lingerie whenever I want.

Whatever your big writing goal might be, your first step to achieving it is believing that you actually can.

Here’s a little writing exercise for you: Take out your journal and make a 20 list of things – big and small — that you’ve accomplished. These accomplishments don’t have to be writing-related. But I want you to realize that if you could raise a child on your own or run a half-marathon or put yourself through college, then surely you can write a book or start a blog or send a pitch.

Do you dream of being a freelance writer, too? On November 15 at 6 p.m. CT I’m hosting a FREE webinar, So You Think You Can Freelance, to get you started. Don’t miss it!