For nearly two years, the germ of an idea had been beckoning. I have a MA in English. I submitted an idea for a workshop on how to write manuscripts for journals to an international conference, and it was accepted. At that conference, I got my first client for consulting work as a editor. Based on the full room I had at my workshop on the very last day of the conference, I began to wonder how many other people needed editors. Was this something I could do as a career? Could I do it full time? I googled business plans and started writing drafts of business plans. I went and talked to an accountant. And then I did nothing. I have two kids and a mortgage! Walking away from a full-time job, no, not even a job! A position—the very idea was ridiculous, irresponsible. Nobody likes their job. Everybody has trouble with co-workers. It is a very spoiled and privileged notion to think that you should actually enjoy what you do for your paycheck. Right? I couldn’t walk away from a sure thing, a guaranteed income, to take a chance on a seedling of an idea, an inkling, an intuition.
The next year, I went to the same conference and attended a workshop on revising manuscripts for publication and interpreting reviewer comments. The room was packed. People—professionals!—were sitting on the floor. I looked around wildly for my business cards, and then I remembered: You don’t do this. You can’t do this.
n the meantime, I quietly began cleaning out my office, taking only my personal effects: Photographs of my children, stacks of dusty CDs that had multiplied on the shelf, folders I had purchased because I need splashes of color. It seemed easier to remove things slowly than all at once. One afternoon, I took two blank CDs down to a computer with a CD burner and backed up all of the files on my computer. It took two hours. But by the time of my performance review, I was ready to leave.