I’ve been thinking about personal accountability this week.

Being self-employed is not an easy job and it isn’t for everyone.

Doing it requires a lot of personal accountability, years before you ever see any kind of success.

You have to show up to work and do all the things that need doing even when it feels like there’s no one around to see you doing it.

Lots of people dream about running their own business because all they see is the freedom and they think it’s an easy life.

They think you don’t get bored (you do).

They think you always love every single task you have to do (you don’t).

And they think that it’s more convenient to decide everything yourself (it isn’t).

I’ve seen many people, looking for ease and convenience, try and fail at being self-employed or running their own businesses. Those are always the people who have a tendency to think aspirationally.

Don’t get me wrong, we all do.

I love watching videos of other people crafting complex historical garments and pretend that I’m going to do that myself, one day. But I’m self-aware enough to know that’s never going to be me.

So, I just enjoy riding along the process of someone else doing it.

The one thing I have known ever since I was a teenager was that I wanted to be self-employed.

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years, most of them low commitment jobs that didn’t follow me home and allowed me time to develop my skills and pursue the things I was truly interested in.

And whether I was freelancing in pursuit of the skills I wanted to develop (such as copywriting) or getting paid to learn more about how the world works (hello every single customer-facing job ever), I’ve always looked at them all as an opportunity to get paid to learn.

Because if you only ever limit your learning to what you do in school, it’s going to be a very poor life.

But when you fill your life with learning, every day becomes filled with wonder, and life truly becomes a journey because you’re always on your way to somewhere.

My journey to, first figure out what my ikigai is, and then figure out how to commit to actually achieving it in a sustainable way, has been a process years in the making.

And it requires an ability of me to see reality far beyond what it is today – while at the same time being fully willing to let it all go.

Because it may happen. It may not happen.

Divorcing the outcome from the work that I’m doing is another one of those Zen things that’s so important. The minute I become attached to the outcome, I’ve already lost.

For me, writing is my personal practise, my way of processing life, that I’ve been practising since I first started journaling and writing little stories that have been lost to time.

And everything since then has only been layering on more skills to make me a better writer, a better storyteller.

And though I’ve been doing this practise out in public, in front of other people, had my work scrutinised and appraised and evaluated, I’m a nobody in the world of published works.

And I’m going to continue being no one for a long time yet, because this is a very saturated industry where supply far outstrips demand.

Yet – and yet – amongst all this content that we’re drowning in today’s curation age (because we’re well past the information age at this point), there’s a demand as old as humanity itself for good stories.

We still want to gather around the campfire when the sun starts to set – or, in this case, to gather around the words on the page when faced with the demands of everyday life – and listen to tall tales about things we’ve never seen and will never experience otherwise.

The person that I’ve dreamed of being for the longest time, and that I’ve achieved in various shapes and forms over the years, is the storyteller around who the eager faces gather, ready to transport that marvel of the human condition, the mind, to magical places.

And so, to answer the question at the beginning of this text, my stories will not be worth the time of a lot of people.

And that’s okay.

I write dark fantasy/sci-fi romance because I have worked hard to have a flexible ego that I like to regularly challenge.

What I write will be displeasing to a lot of people, it will be boring to a lot of others.

But if I can just give a handful of readers that sense of being completely sucked out of reality and into fantasy, my work will have been a success.

And whether or not that happens, I will be here because this is my practise that makes my life more meaningful.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before [s]he dies. The [wo]man who never reads only lives one.”

– George R. R. Martin

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