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The Curse of the Wantrepreneur

For as long as I was old enough to think about what I would like to do with my life when I grew up there were some things I knew I wanted:

1. To do some work I loved doing, so it would not become a tedious, boring job.
2. To work for myself and not have anyone telling me what to do.
3. To work on my own schedule. I was a “night owl” and felt I could get more done late in the evening.

These were ideas I had in my mind before I had ever heard the word entrepreneur or knew what that was and that it could be possible.

So, my next step toward achieving that was to find out what it was I loved doing. I liked making up stories, and my highest grades were in English classes. Even though I waited until the night before a writing assignment was due, I spent much time thinking about the subject before I began to write and that was easy for me. Once I had a first sentence or paragraph that I felt was good, the rest seemed to flow naturally. I thought I would like to become a writer, but do it freelance so I could meet the above goals.

I read many books about writing from many authors, but they all had different approaches to writing and gave different advice. I was confused. I would try out what one suggested and not be successful with it so that I would try another one. None of them seemed to help me get and keep in a flow, which was what I was hoping for because I am very poorly self-disciplined. I became discouraged and thought maybe I was wrong, and this was not the career for me.

The Night Owl Wantrepreneur

The English Teacher

Then in high school, an English teacher wrote on one of my essays that I might have the talent to make a career of writing, (not in those exact words, but I kept the piece). That was the confirmation I needed. My father would not encourage me to become a writer because he had the image of the “starving artist” in his mind and no parent wants their children to starve. Also, he had little education having gone to work with his father after he finished 8th grade. My mother had a high school education, but no college. They would not afford to pay tuition for me to go to college and my grades were not high enough to get a scholarship even if we knew how to apply. I only put effort into things I liked and found easy, like my English classes.

I was told I should go to work, save my money and decide if I wanted to go to college or not. I wanted to get a job with a newspaper, magazine or media outlet, but with no degree or experience, none of them would hire me. I began looking for office work because my mother had talked me into taking typing classes and I took whatever office skill classes the school offered. Once I did get a job, began to work and was make money, it was more fun to spend it than to save it and I decided I did not need to go to college. I had read biographies of writers who had never gone to college and yet were extremely successful and I believed that I could do the same thing.

I would still write in journals, but nothing I considered publishable and I pretty much gave up on the idea that I could ever have a writing career. Things I had submitted when I was taking correspondence writing courses had all been rejected, and I got discouraged easily. I convinced myself that my dream career must have been a delusion. I was not as good a writer as I imagined myself.

Never Give Up Hope

The hope never died, however, and from time to time I would be inspired to write again, and I still thought that with more time to focus on writing I could get something published. One of my friends suggested that I could write children's stories and that I take the aptitude test of the Institute of Children's Literature and see if I could get into their course. I took it and passed, so I enrolled in their basic course. I did well enough for my instructor to recommend me for the advanced course and took it as well. I always paid in full to be sure I would want to get my money's worth and not back out. I am now finishing up my third course with them on writing books for children.

I took the earliest retirement I could and decided that with more time I would be able to write more. That was not true, but I finally got some things published in non-paying markets. At least now I was sure I had writing talent. I read that writers needed to have a niche, but I did not have one. I'd always had many interests, but none deep enough for me to become an “expert” in a field.

When I learned I could write short, rhyming stories, I decided that could become my niche, but no one seemed to want to publish such material. I could not afford to pay for a self-publishing service, but when I found a company who would do Ebooks for free, I sent in enough of my poems to make two short books, which no one is buying.

I have recently been listening to webinars and summits about how to self-publish books and Ebooks on Amazon, and now I know what I wish I had known before. I will use what I have learned when I write my next book and will go from being a “wantrepreneur” to a real entrepreneur with God's help and direction.

Have you let your hope linger for too long?  Let me know in the comments below!

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