Just Jump!

- by Charlotte Hubbard

We were sitting at the little table in my husband’s new apartment, eating the birthday dinner I’d brought up from home, when he got sorta pale. “What have I done?” he asked quietly. “What if this job doesn’t turn out the way I hoped–or what if we don’t find a new home we like, or–”

Poor guy, you have to understand that within the past six days he had 1) left his job of 20+ years to start his new job, and 2) left his town/friends of 20+ years to live in a totally new metro area…3) without his wife there, for the first time in nearly 34 of our 35 years, and 4) has learned a new phone, new job computer, and new office procedures while 5) setting up an apartment, grocery shopping, etc. all on his own. Not to mention the birthday thing. Not to mention a few nights he didn’t sleep well. And this on the eve of our whirlwind house-hunting weekend in St. Paul, MN with a Realtor who comes highly recommended.

So “shell shocked” is putting it mildly! A lot of major life changes crammed into a very short time . . . and those get a little harder as we mature. Even if we choose those changes.

So I smiled at him and said, “Well, you can either JUMP IN and embrace this new adventure, or you can quiver at the side of the pool and never get your suit wet. Me, I’m leaping in!”

I’m grateful he smiled and saw my point . . . or maybe he didn’t want to get shown up by a girl. And even as I play cheerleader, I have to acknowledge that this is all harder for him, out there blazing a new career and life trail on his own, because I’m still at home. With the dog. And all those 20-year friends at our church and around our block. Easy for me to insinuate he’s less adventurous than I, when nothing major has changed for me–YET.

But I find that because I’ve reinvented myself a few times to stay published, I have a little less angst about how things might shake out for my current writing career. Because I’ve said YES to switching audiences yet again this past year, I’ve landed a nice series contract for Amish books–and am working with an editor at another house on an Amish series proposal. Because I said YES (albeit kicking and screaming at first) I rescued my career by switching to contemporary stories for a while–learned that I had a mindset for present-day erotica which has since reverted to Victorian-era tales. It was all about leaping in, not knowing for sure if the dive would be smooth or more like a belly flop, but aware that propelling myself with a sense of eager anticipation and confidence felt
preferable to standing on the sideline with my knees knocking.

So I’ve taken the same attitude with this move that’ll soon uproot us completely: Jump in! See it as an adventure. Set aside the fear and embrace the change (even though, yeah, it’s awfully disruptive to my writing at times)–or, better yet, be the agent of change. Because if you choose to change major things–or major attitudes–on a regular basis, the fear drains out. I can honestly say I’d have been a whole lot more rattled about this move to St. Paul ten years ago. Right now? I feel like a kid who’s been introduced at a new playground, where *I* get to choose where I’ll play and who’ll be on my team!

Stay tuned for more over the next months! And I hope my attitude might rub off on yours, those days when you’re huddling under your towel with a case of goosebumps and a painfully pounding heart. Perception and attitude are about 90% of everything we do, so hey–jump in! Embrace a new publishing opp, or revamp your website, or attend a cool conference where you don’t know another soul–fearlessly, because you want to!

Practice makes perfect, you know. The more you jump, the more you’ll come to love it!

4 comments

  1. Wow, Charlotte, what a challenge!
    My ex has relatives in Minneapolis so I’ve visited there. We went in December for the holidays and our sons took skiing lessons there. They just don’t offer skiing lessons down the street at our home in southern California. The people we met there were all friendly and thought we had accents! They sounded like the cast of FARGO to us. You have the right attitude and people will love you no matter where you go.

  2. Charlotte, my hat’s off to you for being so honest about your writing journeys. Back in the day before Internet, we writers could hide out in our cubyholes and readers would have no idea that we were all dancing as fast as we can. And jumping off cliffs.
    How right you are about re-inventing ourselves being a necessary part of this whole writing career business. Every time I think I have a ‘plan’, a roadmap, I either hit a pothole or boulder and go flying off in a new direction. But how boring it would be to write the same genre for the same audience and publisher our entire writing life. We’d probably lose what’s left of our brains from boredom. Besides, nothing stays the same in the market, thus the need to adapt and change.

    Best of wishes for your husband. Mine kept the same job for over 30 years, something I can’t see our sons doing. Nor would I want them to.

  3. Vonna and Phoebe! I truly appreciate your good wishes…I’m sure there’ll come a day or two down the road when things maybe aren’t going the way I’d hoped…we all have those days! But friends like you–especially writer friends–are just the BEST. Nice thing is, I can stay in touch via email with my colleagues so in a lot of ways, this move isn’t as traumatic as it might’ve been before the Net kept us connected!

  4. What a terrific attitude! Much better to live your own adventure than to worry your life away, right?