Diane Chamberlain Guest Post
When I first started writing, I’d hoped to continue my private practice, but as the demands of my writing career grew, it quickly became clear I would have to pick one or the other. I loved them both, but my dream of being a writer went back to my childhood. Plus, I knew how hard I’d worked on my books and how fortunate I was to be published. I couldn’t give that up.
It was very hard to end my practice. I’d published three books by that time, but my identity had still very much been connected to being a clinical social worker. Plus, my practice had been primarily with adolescents and I would miss working with them so much. Many of my clients touched my life as much as I touched theirs. I still hear from a few of them and it’s wonderful to see them grow into a happy adulthood and know I had a small part in that.
Obviously, I believe in following your dreams, but I also believe in making enough money to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. In my case, my husband of twenty years was willing to carry the main financial burden as I built my writing career—or so I thought. The very week that I ended my practice, however, he told me he’d fallen in love with someone else, and just like that my “perfect marriage” was over and with it, my financial support. It was a panicky time in many ways. However, I signed a wonderful new contract and for the first time, I actually could support myself writing. That was sheer luck, though, and I don’t advise quitting your day job without a safety net. The bottom line for me is that I feel very blessed to have had two careers that have allowed me to touch people in a positive way.
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