This article is by staff writer April Dykman.
I’ve been a staff writer at Get Rich Slowly for three-and-a-half years and an editor for the last one-and-a-half. In fact, I was one of the first staff writers to come on board, along with Adam Baker of Man Vs. Debt.
But this will be one of my last articles as a staff writer. My last official day will be July 4.
From reader to writer
When J.D. first hinted about a contest for staff writers, his search was already underway. I thought the names were in and the deal was done.
But I loved Get Rich Slowly, and I was a long-time reader and active commenter. I also wanted to become a full-time freelance writer.
I took a chance and emailed him, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Yes, the names were in, but he was willing to add another.
Facing big fears
I told a few people about the staff writer tryouts, and while some were encouraging, others weren’t. “You’re writing your tryout articles for free?” said one part-time freelancer. “That’s never a good idea.”
I admit, I thought maybe it was foolish. There were some great writers in the running, some with blogs of their own. Although I had a lot of writing experience, I was inexperienced at writing for blogs or writing for websites at all, for that matter.
I also was terrified to put my writing out there in cyberspace. I was scared of what you guys would say in the comments — J.D. has a thick skin, but I most certainly did not!
Although I was nervous, I’d already thrown my name in the hat, and there was no way I could back out. I submitted these two articles, and waited in fear for the day they went live:
Of course you know how it turned out. You, the readers, and J.D. welcomed me on staff.
Learning and growing
Over the past three years, I’ve written quite a few articles! Some were popular, some struck a nerve, and others just plain fell flat!
But let’s not dwell on the bloopers. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Renters Insurance: Peace of Mind for Ten Bucks a Month
- How to Stop Buying Clothes You Never Wear
- How to Lend Money to Friends (Without Ruining the Relationship)
- 10 Career Lessons from Julia Child
- Want to Save on Groceries? Cook like a Peasant
- Prepare for the Tax Preparer to Save Money
The more I wrote, the more I got to know all of you. I learned to read comments and accept criticism as part of the job. I also got constructive criticism that made me better and words of encouragement that made my day.
J.D’s feedback was invaluable. He made me a better writer and better able to connect with all of you. His trust in me to edit guest posts and manage staff writers gave me more confidence and widened my skill set. I’ve even emailed him for travel advice!
In addition, my freelance business started to grow. I got a couple of clients who found me on GRS, but more importantly, I had the courage to pursue freelancing as a full-time job. I didn’t really believe I could write full-time before working for GRS — part of me thought it wasn’t possible to earn a decent living as a writer.
But two years ago, I was able to quit my job.
As it turns out, work life has been very good. In fact, a few weeks ago, I realized I was becoming a workaholic. This was definitely a new development, as I’ve always fiercely guarded my personal life from work intrusions.
But I was skipping out on piano lessons and time with friends. I’d eat dinner with my husband, but then pull out the laptop and work until the wee hours of morning.
I let work encroach on my personal life because I love what I’m doing so much that I don’t want to stop. Twice I even forgot to eat lunch! (I also write a food blog for fun, so forgetting to eat is kind of a big deal for me.)
While loving my work is great, I knew this wasn’t a lifestyle I could sustain. My mentor pointed out that this is what causes burnout.
It was a hard decision to leave. In fact, I made my husband press “send” on the email to J.D.! I couldn’t do it! But I need to step out of my comfort zone and focus on projects that challenge and scare me again.
Not exactly goodbye
Nevertheless, I’m so attached to this site and community that I couldn’t quite close the door completely. Although I’m no longer an editor and my last day on staff is July 4, I was given the okay to come back from time to time and write for GRS. And of course I’ll be among you as a reader!
So it’s a not-quite goodbye, and a very big thank-you. It’s been a privilege to write for you.
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