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A week ago I found out that I’m going to lose my job.

I’ve got four more months in my job and then I’m out on 20th June. I’ve never been so scared in my life. I’m single. Two teenage kids. Big, fat mortgage.

When I first found out I felt so much anxiety in the front of my neck I could barely speak. It’s a good job, after all. I work as a public servant, four days per week. The days I’m not at work I spend writing novels. It’s been a good arrangement for several years. It’s been stable and secure, varied, albeit fairly dull. It didn’t test me in a big way, there wasn’t a whole lot of growth over the years. I was fairly content to turn up, do the work, leave with a pay packet and go home and write my novels.

I dreamed of being able to live off my writing…but that’s the thing, they’re dreams.

Returning home that night after receiving the news, I immediately started thinking about what I was going to do. Finish the second book, yes…sure. Might be able to postpone starvation for a few weeks that way. But it’s not going to be enough. Not by a long shot. Two kids need me to sort my shit out, FAST!!

My head was spinning. I went through the ‘Why me??!!’ wailing at the wall. Why does this have to happen?

When I feel really alone, when I doubt myself, when I think my problems are insurmountable, I read. I read about other people who’ve faced pretty fucked up situations. I read about the problems people have faced. I read about how most people have hopes and dreams that have been cruelly thwarted by circumstances. It made me feel less alone. In fact, it became abundantly clear that my problem was in no way unique.

It was just a problem. Just a bit of struggle. And we’ve all got them. In spades.

It got me thinking that to want a pain-free, struggle-free life is just absurd. Life is only possible with struggle. You can never, ever fully comprehend all the consequences of the choices you make or the circumstances that come your way. And they’ll be a mixed bag of truly extraordinarily wonderful consequences, and downright ugly painful ones. So you’ve just got to roll with it.

When I came to understand this, the anxiety that was stuck in my throat left. I thought about what I truly value, what I wanted to be defined by, what I’m good at, what’s meaningful to me, and what’s going to drive me forward. I decided I would start my own copywriting business. It’s been there at the back of my mind for years as something I wanted to try, but never felt brave enough to give a go.

Even if there’s uncertainty, and quite possibly failure, I’m going to take that first step.

We are, and always will be, defined by what we’re willing to struggle for.

So now, I sit at my desk and I plan, I strategise, I develop templates, I develop my systems, I do online courses. My writing for the second book has also improved. It’s punchy, and smart, and emotive. And I’ve realised there’s a strange kind of joy in this struggle stuff. I’m more motivated and enthusiastic now than at any other point in my life.

It took a long time to get here. I’ve had to really be dragged out of my comfort zone and I left scratch marks leaving, that’s for sure. I was always waiting to be ready.

But we’re never ready. I’m still not ready. Life’s too short. And there’s too much shit to do.

I may not be PewDiePie, but thanks for staying on the page and giving me some of your time. If you’d like to find about more about me, please visit my website http://www.jmlawler.com

P.S. I bet you have a bloody interesting life with struggles of your own. I’d love to hear from you. Really, I would love that. We’re all in this together. Please drop me a line at hello@jmlawler.com or connect on the social media links below.

On the hunt for beta-readers

I’m two thirds of the way through my second book, The Tempest and the Turning. It’s going really well, I like the character development and the story arc that’s evolving. But I’m biast, of course.

What I really need is a beta-reader.

Not sure what a beta-reader does?

A beta-reader reads an unreleased work (completed or not) and gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader. This feedback is used by the writer to fix remaining issues with plot, pacing, and consistency. They may comment on parts of a story that are confusing or things that don’t make sense.

Does this sound like something you would like to do?

I will happily acknowledge your support in the credits of the book upon completion, in addition to sending you an eBook version once published.

Even if you haven’t read the first book in the series, The River and the Ravages, I would love to hear from you.

Please drop me an email at hello@jmlawler.com today.

Thanks for reading. Until next time,

Yours truly

~ Jann

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