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Michelle: Dreaming in 2010

Hello, my name is Michelle Norton and I’m about to become a full-time freelance writer.

I had to practice that. In front of a mirror for about 24 hours but then I sucked it up and went to my current boss to tell her I was quitting.

I’m a web designer and a single mom. Back when I went through my divorce, about nine years ago now, I quickly finished college and took the first job that came up. I put everything aside to care for my infant daughter. I went from housewife on welfare to single mom secretary in six months. And boy did it blow all kinds of bad things.

Between job changes, a looming house short sale, medical debt greater than what I make in a year, and pay cuts, 2009 has been a crazy year. This is the year that I became really sick and yet it was also the year that for the first time the opportunity to follow my dreams arose out of the ashes my past.

What I Do
As I said, I’m a full time web designer for a non-profit. I also do web design on the side and write. I never stopped writing in my spare time but it rarely got me anywhere. Most writing gigs were payed out in trade or some very low income. Some time in 2004 I started writing my own gaming modules for local conventions. People seemed like them. It really sparked the will to do more in me. In 2008 I had my first short story published by Transmitter magazine. People seemed to like that too.

What Started This
There’s one more thing I do with my free time, as copious it is not. That’s ML for NaNoWriMo. That is, I am one of the Municipal Liaisons for Denver for National Novel Writing Month. As something I really enjoy it has brought friendship and fun into my life. One of the guys who participates asked me to write a guest post on it for his blog. That went live in October 2009.

And then things got a little crazy.

Suddenly I was making money writing content. Enough to make me think I might be able to quit some day. Then I got sick.

Kidney stones aren’t fun. However, being homebound for a few days with nothing better to do than write showed me that I could support myself. I made back the money I was losing by staying home (I was out of sick days at work) and then some. By December I made the decision. I was going to quit my job and start freelancing full time. All my experience and a degree (I have a degree in Creative Writing) were finally paying off. I gave my boss notice.

So I am now one month away from leaving my full time job. I won’t have health insurance (that’s a whole ‘nother story), my daughter is excited to be able to come home after school instead of around six or seven at night and I’ll be working from home.

Am I scared to make the jump? Oh yes! But I’m committed to do it.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. Welcome, Michelle! We’re thrilled to see you here. All best wishes for the big leap — you’re an inspiration!

    January 5, 2010
  2. Welcome Michelle, and Woo-hoo! Congratulations on the changes you’re making and that your daughter is looking forward to it, too!

    January 5, 2010
  3. Jen #

    Wow! Congratulations and best of luck — may you grow wings as you make the jump!

    January 5, 2010
  4. Thank you for the warm welcome all. 2010 is going to be an exciting year!

    January 5, 2010
  5. Hooray! I’m excited for you and I don’t even know you. It does me good to hear of people making bold moves, as its all too easy to play safe and not dare.

    This year my goal is to see my book on the shelf (I’m doing a final edit) and for the next one to be written to first draft.

    Hope it goes well for you.

    January 5, 2010
  6. Eve #

    Go Michelle! This was an awesome post, I don’t even know you and I feel so proud of you! Your story brought a big smile to my face and lots of hope! As a single mom I give you so much credit! I wish you a very happy and prosperous year, full of many more dreams coming true!

    January 6, 2010
  7. Congrats on your courageous leap, Michelle! You go girl!

    January 6, 2010
  8. emmajaner #

    Sounds like an exciting prospect, and not only a more creative and freeing one for you but also a saner one for your family life too! I wish you every success with your freelancing. And you know, of all the people I’ve come across (including myself) who have left full-time employment to pursue a working life that’s a little less secure or conventional, I have never known a single one to reach the conclusion, further down the line, that it was the wrong decision.

    Living the dream!!!!

    January 7, 2010

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