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I reached my ceiling at my last job but never truly realized it until I walked out the door on my final day and felt the weight lift off my shoulders. I had worked there for years and found myself in a comfortable routine where, for the final two years, every day seemed to blend together and issues that used to keep me up at night started falling by the wayside once 5 o’clock hit and I was headed home.
I started my old website, Sunday Scaries, in 2013. After a month of writing, the stage fright of being on the internet set in and I decided to shut the site down much like every basic girl who starts a fashion or food blog. But, through the encouragement and support of some select friends and confidants who knew I was writing on Sunday Scaries as a hobby, I decided to start again.
To be honest, I really had no plan of action. I wanted a creative outlet for both my writing and design, so creating a website based around my anxious Sunday nights seemed like the perfect avenue to fulfill my intrinsic creative needs. What started as a weekly post soon transformed into two to three columns per week. And in that same breath, my loyal following of twenty viewers per week eventually reached into tens of thousands.
The website was a mistress that was only seen by those who stumbled upon it and those who I chose to include on my little secret. I didn’t tell any of my family, and hell, I even kept it from my best friend until I received a text from him that said, “So how long are you going to do this website without telling me?” after he caught wind of it. I had an inherent fear of being criticized which would, in return, stunt the growth of the path that I wanted my project to take.
But I began to see a vision that it could be something larger; something that could take me from working a job that I no longer loved to something that would allow me to feel personally fulfilled full-time. But, that very career I was trying to escape was also a hurdle in the larger picture I was trying to paint. Working anywhere from a modest 30 to 50 hours a week, I wanted to maintain a personal life while also working on what had become my baby — Sunday Scaries.
Never thinking I’d be sacrificing time with friends for the website — aprés ski beers, local concerts, whatever it may be — I soon found myself going home from a full day’s work only to bury myself in my bedroom for hours upon hours fine-tuning what I saw as a venture bursting with potential.
I grinded. I sought out awesome writers to increase the site’s output, created t-shirts, did branded freelance writing for larger websites, self-educated, and spent money out of my own pocket for development issues surrounding Scaries. I’m positive that I annoyed the hell out of my friends who were willing to listen to the relentless questions I’d bounce off of them. But what began as the documentation of my irresponsible nights out soon became a viable project that I truly thought could take off. And, well, it did.
I’m not going to deny that I was incredibly lucky along the way. There were several events and unique circumstances that helped me out massively. I didn’t necessarily deserve the retweets that sold an extra twenty t-shirts. I never expected certain people to selflessly help me out when I was blindly going about my way not knowing what to do next. The email I sent to a site that gets millions of views? Their editor didn’t need to respond and take a flyer on me. The random emails I received asking if I’d be willing to contribute to other successful websites? I was lucky as hell to find those in my inbox. I struggled to believe that others believed in me the way that I had finally begun to believe in myself. But hey, sometimes luck is a product of hard work and an unbelievable amount of fortunate events proved that.
Everyone has excuses for why they can’t pursue what they really want to do — time, money, whatever — but without trying to sound preachy, I’m going to sound preachy when I say this: there are no excuses, complaining isn’t allowed, and doubt can never be allowed in. From the day I bought the domain for Sunday Scaries to the date I was offered my current position, it had been a full two years of work that, in reality, never felt like work at all. I had unintentionally given myself a full-time job outside of my full-time job, and because it was so intensely fulfilling, it never dawned on me that I was “shooting for the stars” or “pursuing my dream” or whatever cheesy cliché you want to attach to it. I was simply doing what made me happy.
After I was offered my current full-time writing job, I called the very person who had encouraged me to start Sunday Scaries again after I had stopped after that original month. In the middle of the conversation, she told me something that still gives me a chill to this day: “Will, I’m so proud of you.” And somehow, even after getting a job doing what I love, quitting my old post, and excitedly knowing I was going to move to a city I’d never been to, those simple words — “I’m proud of you.” — made everything worth it.
I’d suggest you give it a shot. .