How I found a new center when my world spun out of control.

Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

The funny thing about losing your balance is at the beginning, for a few seconds it’s exciting and maybe even a little fun. And my tipping off point was that summer of 2015, the one that began with me leaving my corporate job and Marie Kondo-ing the crap out of my house. I was so ready to see where this momentous trust-fall of leaving corporate America was going to take me. I relished those first few months, leaning into the fall, curious to see what would happen next.

Four months after I left my job, Grandma lost her balance too.

How blocking out business days made my writing days more productive

Image of an open planner, calendar, glasses & workspace.
Image of an open planner, calendar, glasses & workspace.
Photo by STIL on Unsplash

I thought quitting my day job would free up plenty of time to write — it did not. I filled up my days with countless appointments and fell prey to advice that told me to find social media followers or engage with book bloggers or build a fort out of books big enough for the news choppers to notice me as they circled from above. After a year of “writing full time” my cumulative word count was abysmal and I wasn’t very happy. …

Hand prints are maps of our brains. Your dominant “doing” hand is a snap-shot of where you are at in your life right now.

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I met the palm reader in the back of a Pilates studio where she rented space. Sitting on a comfy arm-chair across from the pretty young woman, I felt immediately at ease. Maybe I felt at ease because the woman reminded me of my writer-friend Annie, except with long-brown curling hair. Maybe it was because the space was relaxing. Maybe it was because it felt like this lady knew what she was doing and had my best interest in mind.

Not-Annie squirted a dollop of hot pink paint into my palm and used her fingers to smear it evenly…

Sometimes the easiest way to see clearly is to borrow someone else’s eyes.

Man holding his glasses away from his face bringing the world into focus
Man holding his glasses away from his face bringing the world into focus
Photo by Nonsap Visuals on Unsplash

I’m sitting across the breakfast table from my pregnant friend. She’s the kind of pregnant that hurts to look at, because how can you cram any more human into an already fully formed human? She’s tired of talking about babies and pregnancy, so she asks, “How’s the writing going.”

I’m tired of talking about “the writing,” because at the moment it’s going absolutely nowhere. I swallow a forkful of biscuits and gravy, and decide if she can suffer through growing an entirely new life form, I can suffer through a conversation about my writing.

“It’s not…

Our studies begin in pre-pre-school, the first time we’re left in a group and forced to interact with other Cheerio-infested, snot-nosed children.

Photo by Timothy Dykes on Unsplash

I write for the people who don’t belong — for the ones on the outskirts filled with otherness. I write for the people like me.

It’s our not-fitting that makes us the same. The not-fitting brings us together, but we also know the not-fitting will always keep us apart — even from one another. If you are one of us you already understand. If you are not one of us, we want you to know: we will never belong because we can never be something we are not.

We are invisible, tucked inside the bodies of human chameleons flitting…

Waist deep in empty beer cans, a writer discovers what she’s working towards and why.

Hand holding magnifying glass. Looking down path. In the magnifying glass crystal clear image of the path. Outside blurry.
Hand holding magnifying glass. Looking down path. In the magnifying glass crystal clear image of the path. Outside blurry.
Photo by Steven Wright on Unsplash

On December 17, 2019 I listened to an interview with high-performance coach, Brendon Burchard. Burchard said: High performers have a great sense of clarity about what they’re working toward and why.

That day, I added CLARITY to my list of daily goals. It’s been on the list every day since.


In early December, 2019, I emailed my newest class of Group Authorpreneurship Coaching clients and told them they needed to come up with a group name. This is the first activity I have each new class do. It’s their first chance to work together and see how each other’s…

Being in the dark is hard because it feels like you’re stuck. Like the story is broken. Like you, as the author, are broken.

Photo by Steven Houston on Unsplash

In my story, Seven, the dark closed in around a character named the Badgeman. He was in a woman’s hovel; she was not home. He was going around her house mending broken hinges, stocking the larder, chopping firewood—taking care of this woman’s house like it was his home. He was clearly waiting for someone, but when the woman came home she was alarmed to find a stranger walking around in her life.

That woman and I didn’t know who Badgeman was. She trembled in the corner of her hovel waiting for him to show his true nature, while I went…

When I Finally Pulled the Trigger to Leave my Soul Sucking Day Job

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Two years in to my Soul Sucking Day Job I realized it wasn’t right for me. Five years in I realized I wanted to be a writer, and I started building my corporate escape plan. The escape plan started with taking a close look at my finances and stretched over five more years as I built a writing career.

On the cusp of my ten-year anniversary at SSDJ, years of planning fell into place, and I found the courage to make a break for it.

The Timeline

4/20/15- Email from agent after reading my whole novel. I’m super excited because I know…

Why It Took Me Ten Years to Quit the Job I Hated

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Two years in to my Soul Sucking Day Job I knew it wasn’t right for me. Five years in, I actively investigated alternate futures with a career counselor and decided I wanted to be a writer. So why did it take me another five years to escape?

Because breaking into the writing industry was going to be hard. I had no contacts in the business, no writing portfolio, and no idea how to go about a creative career. Plus, at thirty, I was already late to the game. I assumed money was what would keep me tethered to my day…

3 Steps To Take Today Towards Your Escape

Photo by Kev Seto on Unsplash

You know that job? The job that pays your bills but eats up all your energy. The job that leaves you a husk of humanity at the end of the workday. The job you were only going to work for “a while”, so you could save up some money, and then take time off to write your book or finish that screenplay or get your MFA.

If you have that job right now, I feel you, I see you, I’ve been you. Two years in to my Soul Sucking Day Job I…

Jessica Conoley

Jessica Conoley is an author, editor, speaker, and Authorpreneurship coach. She writes YA and fantasy novels, creative non-fiction, flash fiction, and essays.

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