Love is where the magic is. When you love what you do with such a passion, you’d do it for free. This is your path with heart. You’ve heard the saying, ‘when you do what you love, you’ll never work again.’ It’s true. Work doesn’t feel like a slog, it feels energizing.
From Teacher to Romance Writer
As my friend and fellow author Annie Featherston, writing as Sophia James, shares below, when you combine your favorite skills with doing something you completely and utterly love, you come home to your true Self and find your place of bliss. The result? Contentment—and more often than not, producing something highly marketable.
“I’d taught for fifteen years and loved it. And then I didn’t.
It wasn’t the students or the workload. It wasn’t the noise or the constant worry of, ‘was I doing enough’ that pushed me out either.
I was a good teacher but underneath was a passion that I couldn’t ignore any longer. I wanted to be writer, a historical romance writer, and I was beginning to get offered some wonderful opportunities that did not meld with the structured teaching year and the constant pressure of it.
I felt like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. I was teaching half time, taking tours to Europe with my husband to help him, running mentorship programs…. and writing.
Writing was my complete and utter love and yet it was always taking a secondary place. I wrote at night. I wrote in the weekends. I wrote when the kids were asleep. When I wrote I didn’t think of the time or the problems, all I saw was the joy and passion of it. I loved forming characters and thinking of stories. I lay in bed at night asking my protagonists questions and spent many hours trawling over history books to place them into a context.
I have a degree in history so it was as if all the things I had enjoyed were coming together at last. History and writing. I knew that at 54 I couldn’t be patient any longer.
I needed to be in a field that I felt fully aware in, that I loved beyond the weekly pay check and that filled my spirit with lightness.
I’d just won a New Zealand based competition for a completed romance and it was validation, I suppose. If I didn’t make the jump and do it now perhaps I never would. And if I never gave myself a chance I would feel bereft.
I penned my resignation letter and left to Australia to be a mentor on a five-day intensive scheme the Romance Writers of Australia were running. It was scary and hard but when I finished it successfully I remember standing alone in front of the mirror, a cold sore from exhaustion and worry on my lip, but my clenched fist punching the air in triumph.
To feel like that is to know you live.
When I got picked up by Harlequin Historical and published it felt like all the dreams I had hoped for so long were finally happening. I had visualized this. I had walked the lonely windy beaches of Gisborne and shouted my hopes for it into the wind. I had sat in the mall with three crying children in the car and written scenarios on the back of the supermarket docket because the story just wouldn’t wait until I got home.
If I had not been paid one cent for my writing I would still have done it somehow. But the strange thing is that money does follow passion, and suddenly I was making as much as I ever did in part time teaching.
Writing is hard work. A book does not come fully formed from thin air or dreams for me. But I’ve persevered and sat and written. I’ve made deadlines. I’ve written blogs. I have delved into social media and stood there with a smile on my face when the reviews have not been what I wanted.
But I have always believed in myself and my stories. I’ve kept going. I have never given up.
And I have loved my writing life, my freedom, the creativity, the possibilities.
If I had my time over I would have left my teaching career earlier. I would have been braver and less worried by all the sensible advice others were giving me. I should have listened to my heart and taken the jump into a lifestyle that is my perfect fit and even if I had never succeeded I would have known that at least I tried.”
I love Annie’s story of reinvention. So-called sensible advice is no replacement for the wisdom of your heart, your soul, your intuitive knowledge that certain choices are right for you. Her story inspired me to stop putting my dream of writing romance novels on hold. I read and listened to her regret that she hadn’t been braver and started earlier.
Yes, it’s true—love is where the magic is! Thanks to following my passion for love my stories are now in print.
After trying out a few fascinating careers I now live my dream job as a writer, combining business with wild pleasure, sending love letters out into the world.
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