Bet on Yourself

Submitted into Contest #89 in response to: Start your story with a character taking a leap of faith.... view prompt

78 comments

Inspirational Fiction

1 April 2021


I quit my job today. Everybody I told about it thought it was an April Fools’ Day prank. I mean why would anyone in their right mind quit a high-paying corporate job that involved travel to places around the world, the opportunity to work with the best minds in Data Science, a diverse team comprising individuals from six countries and a supportive and understanding boss? And I just say, it’s really hard to explain.


Would they understand if I explained that corporate life is not for me? Why not, they’d ask in bewilderment.


Because I’ve known, I’ve always known, that all I want to be is a writer. I want to write meaningful and entertaining stories that readers enjoy and remember and talk about. I want to write stories that touch people, that make them think and maybe, just maybe if I do my job right, change them a little bit.


While I do not deny that there’s common wisdom in what my parents say about the importance of financial independence and security, about savings and investments, I also believe we’ve each been given one life and it passes by in the blink of an eye. People die every day. Two of my classmates died before they reached their twenty-fifth birthday. Life is unpredictable and there are no guarantees in life. What if I were to die a month from now? Would I continue wasting my time doing meaningless work that doesn’t inspire or rejuvenate me? If I had a year to live, what changes would I make in my life? Firstly, I would cut out the thing that takes up the biggest chunk of my waking up time — my job that I don’t hate, but I’m kind of settling for it when I know I’d rather do something else with my time.


And that’s what I’ve done today.



20 April 2021


Things are becoming real now. I only have ten days left at my job and my boss let it slip during our conversation that I can still retract my resignation if I want to. Has he sensed my fear and hesitation?


This month’s paycheck is the last one I’ll be getting for a long time. It freaks me out sometimes. Each night of last week, I woke up in the middle of the night worrying about my finances even though I have a solid financial plan. Minimise my expenses and live off my savings, which will last me two years if I spend my money judiciously. Everything comes at a price and I’m willing to make the necessary sacrifices to give myself the longest period to make my dream of writing for a living come true. The what-if question always comes knocking at my mind’s door, but I do not entertain it.

My mother keeps telling me I’m making a big mistake. How many people want to be writers and how many of them actually make a living through writing, she asked. Her point is valid, I know. The odds are against me. But if people made decisions merely based on odds, there’d be no writers or painters or actors in the world. Everyone would sit at their comfortable desks in their air-conditioned offices and make PowerPoint presentations for clients who do not read them. It’s a relief that Chris supports me. He’s always so supportive and understanding of all my decisions even though we’ve been together for just three months.


Most people go through their lives not even knowing what their passion is. They like skiing and cooking and scuba-diving and drawing and music, but they have no single passion. Nothing they immerse themselves in so completely and exclusively that they lose track of time, their family and friends, the state of the world, or the air-conditioning that’s not working or the meal they haven’t eaten or the sleep they have skipped or the pain in their wrist from typing for six hours or the strain on their eyes from looking at the laptop screen for way too long.


I’m not one of them.



1 May 2021


Today is the first day of my new life. I have exactly two years in which to make my dream of becoming a writer (and writing for a living) come true. I am so stoked about my new life. It’s time to make my dreams come true. Hooray!!!



15 May 2021


Two weeks flew by without much progress on the writing front. But that’s okay. I’m organizing my life so that I can manage my finances better while I pursue the writing life. I’ve moved in with Ashley and Marie, and we’re sharing the rent on the three-bedroom apartment. It feels weird having to share my home with somebody else, but that’s okay. It’s just temporary — until I make it as a writer.

It was really hard to give up my Honda car key, but it had to be done. The maintenance cost was too high and I won’t need it anyway — no more one-hour commute to the office anymore. Two hours saved every day. Yay! I’m just going to use public transport, like everyone else.


I’ve also cancelled my Netflix subscription because I’m a full-time writer and I don’t need distractions like TV shows and movies while I create my own masterpiece. I’ve also cancelled my gym membership and received the refund. I’m just going to run around the block, like everyone else. My family won’t be expecting any big gifts this Christmas, so that’s a relief. All the cooking lessons I took on YouTube are now going to pay off as I start cooking my own meals. Healthy and cost-effective. I can’t believe how much more I can accommodate in my life now that I don’t have to work ten hours a day at a job I don’t love. This is the way to live! Woo-hoo!



12 July 2021


I’ve outlined my novel and now I’m about to begin the first draft. It’s all so exciting! Things are going so well I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve lost nine pounds — most of the extra weight I gained while working over the past year. My daily twenty-minute morning meditation is helping me remain calm in stressful situations and become a more positive person, which in turn is helping me channelize my energy into my writing.


If I go at the speed I think I can, I’ll have my first draft ready by late January! My book could be published by July next year! Oh my God! Holding a copy of my novel in my hands and burying my nose into its pages will be divine. I can’t wait for it to happen.



25 August 2021


Chris and I had a huge row about yesterday’s party. A) He invited people I don’t even know to the party even though we’d agreed on the guest list beforehand B) these unknown people trashed our house and I was left alone to clean up the mess today because Chris was, as usual, sleeping till noon and the house had to be cleaned before Ashley returned this morning or she would’ve had a heart attack and kicked me out of the house C) when I talked to him about it, he blamed me for throwing a lame party that had only three snacks and just one type of whisky. I reminded him the party was his idea and I was pretty much against it since the beginning and only went along with it because he so desperately wanted to party. Now we’re not talking and my bank balance is depleted by $280 buying food and drinks for people I don’t even know. I’m so mad right now I can’t even look at my laptop.



8 September 2021


So, Chris was cheating on me. It was the blonde in the green sequined dress he invited to the party who couldn’t stop laughing at his stupid jokes and touching his arm each time she laughed. I should’ve seen this coming. His behaviour over the past few months has been bizarre and inconsistent and downright disrespectful at times. But then, he was also sensitive and understanding and supportive at other times. To complicate matters, I loved him. I still do. But I have to let him go because he clearly didn’t love me.


Argghhh! My writing schedule is completely wrecked and I’m off track by at least four weeks! 



2 November 2021


When I quit my job, I hadn’t factored in the people element I might miss once I become a full-time writer. Living alone in the city away from one’s family is hard. At least before, I had friends and a boyfriend I could hang out with on most evenings. In the office, I was surrounded by people the whole day. I didn’t love my work, but I enjoyed working with people from diverse backgrounds and talking about our different, and yet similar, life experiences. Now, I feel like I have no one. My roommates are busy with their lives. The only person I talk to daily is the old man at the Cafe Soul counter, who gives me a toothless smile while handing me a Cappuccino each morning.


Stories are essentially about people and it’s hard to write about people when there’s little social interaction in one’s life. I could meet people I may get along with if I join a yoga class (I’ve always wanted to learn yoga), but it’s going to cost me dollars I can’t afford at the moment. I’m not buying any new books for the same reason, just renting them from the library. I can’t buy myself a new dress or a new pair of shoes when I’m feeling low because I can’t afford them. Before, I had the money to buy whatever I wanted to buy but no time to enjoy those things and now, I have all the time in the world but no money to buy anything. It’s frustrating.



22 December 2021


The holiday season is here but the holiday spirit is missing. I’m going home tomorrow, but frankly, I don’t look forward to it. Mom keeps badgering me to update my LinkedIn profile and start looking for a job. Cathy’s got an 80% hike on switching companies and I’m happy for her. I just don’t look forward to being compared to her, again. She’s the golden girl, the perfect child any parents could hope for. A straight A’s student, an obedient daughter, a lively person with lots of friends, and now a bride-to-be. There’s so much to celebrate this holiday, but none of it, not even a tiny nugget, is about me.


I’m nowhere close to finishing my first draft. Right now, I’m dragging through the midpoint. Yes, dragging because I’m able to write less than 300-words a day. I’m not happy with most of what I write and it goes into the bin. Sometimes in the middle of the night, I stay awake wondering if I can do it, whether I have the chops to pull it off. The dreaded question keeps coming up again and again — have I made a huge mistake?


The economy sucks and getting a job in this market is not going to be easy. I might have to settle for something comparable to what I started out with three years ago. Wait. Why am I even thinking about getting a job? I’m going to finish what I started and it’s going to be my best work. I’m going to do it. Yes!



26 February 2022


I’ve spent the last couple of weeks in bed recovering from the injury I sustained while jogging. My ankle is much better now but all the painkillers make me sleepy all the time. I haven’t been able to write much. I haven’t done much of anything at all, actually. Time is just slipping through my fingers like grains of sand and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. My birthday is coming up next week. I’m going to be a twenty-eight-year-old unemployed, overweight, single woman with acne and little savings. I have nothing to look forward to.



12 March 2022


My cousin passed away yesterday. Sam was only thirty-five years old, a seemingly healthy man. He suffered a cardiac arrest and was dead before his family even realized what was happening. No noticeable warning signs whatsoever. My heart breaks for his three-year-old daughter — she’s been asking for her Daddy non-stop.


At the end of the day, death is the one great equalizer, the inevitable final destination. And yet, we never think about death consciously. Others’ deaths – yes, we think about it and even wish it for our worst enemies, sometimes. But our own deaths? Never! We live our lives like we have forever to go. We fill our bodies with junk food and alcohol and cigarettes and drugs and pump our minds with negativity and laziness and anger and fear that slowly but surely nudge us towards our end.


What if I have little time left? What if I don’t have the luxury to die at the ripe old age of ninety-two surrounded by my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren? What if I don’t have my whole life to make it big as a successful bestselling author of seventy books? What if I die tomorrow or next week or next month or next year without leaving any kind of impact in the world, not even a single published novel to my name? Would the regret be more painful than death?



20 March 2022


Over the past few days, I picked up speed on my manuscript. I have a daily goal of 3000 words, which I aim to complete in three hours. Yes, I’m writing only for three hours daily and that is enough. I need the rest of the day to focus on my physical and mental health, and my relationships.


I’ve decided to spend at least two hours outdoors every day — coffee with friends, walking around the block, at the park, talking to random strangers. Twice a week, I’ll take the bus to one of the tourist spots in the city, either the library or the museum or the city market or the amusement park, any place I can meet and observe people. I also enrolled to volunteer at the Evergreen Home for the Elderly once a week. I think those who’ve lived long lives have the most tales to tell and I’ll be there to listen attentively to anything they have to say.


I’m going to make things with my hands. I’ve picked up some spare stuff from home — just chart papers and acrylic colours and fancy buttons and clay dough and my old gardening tools. I’m going to help the gardener who works in our apartment premises, a little patch of land that I’ll maintain, with permission of course.


I’m no longer obsessing over my diet — what to eat and what not to eat, when to eat, how much to eat. I’m just going to focus on exercising and eating homemade food only when I’m hungry and I think I’ll be okay.


I’ve downloaded an online dating app that my friend Katie told me about. She met David on this app and she swears it’s great. I might give it a try, maybe.


My goal chart is hanging on my wall and if I spend each day like I spent today (meeting all my goals and avoiding the not-to-do’s), I’ll be okay.



13 August 2022


I finished my manuscript today. Woo-hoo!



5 December 2028


I found this old journal of mine today. It was fascinating to read about my journey from a corporate employee to a full-time successful writer of six published novels with two movie deals under my belt. 


I realize none of it would have happened if I hadn’t trusted myself when nobody else believed I could make it as a writer or if I lacked the will to make it happen or if I gave up after my first manuscript was rejected by twenty-seven publishers or if I took to heart the one-star review I received on my first novel or if I succumbed to the social pressure of holding onto a traditional career or if I was dishonest with myself about what I really wanted to do with my life or if I was willing to settle for mediocrity for the sake of comfort or if I allowed myself to be blinded by the fear of not being good enough or if I allowed myself to give up at any point in the journey.


If there’s one thing I’m going to teach my children about life, it is this:


Bet on yourself and the whole world will follow. 

April 13, 2021 10:02

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78 comments

Cole Lane
12:45 Apr 15, 2021

This is the follow your dreams journey for so many here on Reedsy, but the struggle is also there too!! The story felt so real, can I 'double' thumb-up this one??

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Kanika G
14:00 Apr 15, 2021

Hey Cole, thanks you for your feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed the story :) I'm glad it felt real. Many of the feelings behind the character's thoughts are real. Not possible to upvote twice, but you could upvote my comment like I've upvoted yours. 🙂

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16:14 Apr 15, 2021

You encompassed the essence of all the fears and doubts and triumphs of the writing life. Loved this.

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Kanika G
16:26 Apr 15, 2021

Thank you, Gracie! I'm so glad you liked the story. :)

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16:40 Apr 15, 2021

Yes, very much :) Will be reading more when I get a chance!

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Sunny 🌼 🖤
17:02 Apr 17, 2021

I enjoyed the way this story was written, it's like I read an entire life story in 2 minutes.

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Kanika G
11:51 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you, Sarah. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

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Robert Consiglio
12:30 Apr 15, 2021

A very heart warming story. I think it is rare when someone has the courage and guts to step outside of themselves and realize that their "perfect life" is actually on the wrong track and that they need to reinvent themselves. Then the way you dealt with rejection and kept at it until success and joy was the result. Kind of like climbing a mountain. You got to the summit, despite all the obstacles. And what a lovely view it is ! Well done.

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Kanika G
14:01 Apr 15, 2021

Thank you, Robert. While I was writing this story, I did realize that this story is going to hit home for a lot of writers on this platform. I'm glad you liked it and cheered for the main character. Thank you for the appreciation. :)

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Aderyn May
21:59 Apr 17, 2021

I feel so touched by this story because this is exactly how I feel right now, in terms of anxiety about pursuing a writing career. This is what I've always wanted to do, yet everybody around me seems to think that an engineering career would be far more suitable for me and since I still have one more year of high school, they all think I'll "come back to my senses eventually". This story is the perfect reminder not to give up on one's dreams, even though not every day will be flawless and productive. This is the reality and the magic of bein...

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Kanika G
11:55 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you a million times for your comment. It made my day, really. :D Thanks for highlighting what you liked about the story. Don't give up on your dreams! I look forward to reading your stories.

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Alex Auclair
15:37 Apr 14, 2021

Your story was incredible! I connected a lot with the character (both because they were very well written and their story embodies the writing journey). I panicked real hard when things started getting rough and was rooting for the main character to make it. When I got to the last journal entry my heart leapt as a frantically read the entry to see what happened. This story made me really happy, great job!

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Kanika G
02:39 Apr 15, 2021

Thank you, Alexander. This comment made my day! :) I'm so glad you experienced a part of the character's emotional journey. 🙂 I'm glad I chose a happy ending for the story and that it made you happy. Thank you very much.

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Mark Wilson
12:50 May 13, 2021

Bravo! "At the end of the day, death is the one great equalizer, the inevitable final destination. And yet, we never think about death consciously. Others’ deaths – yes, we think about it and even wish it for our worst enemies, sometimes. But our own deaths? Never! We live our lives like we have forever to go. We fill our bodies with junk food and alcohol and cigarettes and drugs and pump our minds with negativity and laziness and anger and fear that slowly but surely nudge us towards our end." You are "such" an inspiration (that should gi...

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Kanika G
07:14 May 14, 2021

Thank you so much for this wonderful wonderful comment!! It made my day and week. I will be revisiting this comment when I need motivation. Thank you so so much! :D

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Anes Nia
21:17 May 07, 2021

A beautiful visionary story, truly motivating and inspiring work, I'm really touched. You inspire me to write, and I'm pretty sure, I'm not the only one who thinks that way.

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Kanika G
06:37 May 08, 2021

I'm really happy to read this comment. :D This story inspired me too. I think I will read it again when I'm feeling uninspired to write. Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm glad the story touched you.

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Rajesh M
06:31 May 06, 2021

It was a good read... Hi Kanika I'm from south India... And me too started writting just a year back... I'd like to know how to write diversely for global audience... Whenever i think or write the plot or subjet that will always based on my circle i don't whether it'll be relatable or liked by the global readers... I wish to discuss this with you if its possible... Thanks...

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Kanika G
09:17 May 06, 2021

Hi Rajesh - I think it's a good idea to start writing about what you know. Stories are essentially about people and if you can create characters that readers care about, they will read your story irrespective of the setting you choose. I think it's really important to learn the fundamentals of storytelling and keep practising short stories and reading the kind of books you want to write. Wish you all the best!!

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Rajesh M
09:07 May 07, 2021

Thanks for your thoughts Kanika... I'll be happy if you read any of my story and give me your feedbacks... (-_-)

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Eden Arbon
19:00 Apr 27, 2021

Amazing story, I love how you incorporated everyday life with writing. It is very well written!

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Kanika G
06:36 Apr 28, 2021

Thank you, Eden! I'm happy you liked this story. :)

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Eden Arbon
22:23 Apr 28, 2021

You are so welcome!

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Francis Daisy
09:37 Apr 27, 2021

The like button is inadequate. I LOVE!

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Kanika G
05:59 Apr 28, 2021

Thank you so much, Amy! :) I LOVE your comment! :D

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Francis Daisy
14:30 Apr 28, 2021

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Kutee Tilbe
17:52 Apr 25, 2021

Engaging. I enjoyed it. The date bothered me so much. It was only I finished reading that I told myself to relax: girl, remember Doctor Benjamin Hardy, 'your future self will thank you if you do this and this and this?'

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Kanika G
08:58 Apr 26, 2021

Hey, thank you so much. I'm glad you liked the story. Great advice there! If only we all could follow it consistently. :)

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Isla Wren
15:32 Apr 24, 2021

I found this to be an uplifting and not unrealistic story 😀 She is braver than I! Also, thank you for the follow!

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Kanika G
09:10 Apr 26, 2021

Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked the story. :) Yes, she is braver than most of us. Thank you for stopping by.

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Daelan Banks
21:19 Apr 23, 2021

Very Good!! Nice job Kanika!!!

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Kanika G
05:01 Apr 24, 2021

Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked it. :)

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Charlie Murphy
02:40 Apr 21, 2021

EXCELLENT JOB! The last line is so true. I don't let my disability stop me.

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Kanika G
10:22 Apr 21, 2021

Thank you, Charlie! I'm glad you liked the story. :) I love your spirit and wish you loads and loads of success!

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Sam Ackman
02:34 Apr 19, 2021

This is a great story! I often have a harder time reading stories that are mostly introspection but this one pulled me along and had me cheering for the writer to get back up and keep going. Great job!

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Kanika G
04:50 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you, Sam. I'm glad you liked the story. :) Thanks for stopping by.

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Pranay Gupta
13:55 Apr 18, 2021

This is excellent. Such a heart warming tale of passion, perseverance and pursuit of happiness. 🙂 Lessons for all of us!

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Kanika G
04:48 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you, Pranay. I'm glad you liked the story. :)

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Nadya Garza
13:48 Apr 18, 2021

This was an amazing story! I couldn't stop reading, and the story is so relatable because as writers, we often surround ourselves with doubts and fears. Loved it!

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Kanika G
04:47 Apr 19, 2021

Thank you, Nadya. I'm so glad the story resonated with you. :) thanks for stopping by.

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11:26 Apr 18, 2021

Uh, do you realize there is a writer here who basically has your name? https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/nainika-gupta/ If I were you, I'd make my name Kanika G or something, because there could be some confusion. Great story!

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Kanika G
11:58 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you! I'm glad you liked the story. :) Yup, I'm now going with Kanika G.

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12:00 Apr 18, 2021

Yep! Pretty weird, huh?

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Kanika G
12:02 Apr 18, 2021

It's a pretty common last name among Indians. But the first name's similar too. Anyway, hopefully there will be no confusion anymore.

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12:03 Apr 18, 2021

Yep!

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Gaurav Thakur
09:03 Apr 18, 2021

Beautifully crafted story, very close to reality......way to go Kanika 👍🏻

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Kanika G
11:57 Apr 18, 2021

Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked the story. :)

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