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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.

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