After crossing the Strait of Gibraltar, Tariq ibn Ziyad ordered his men to burn their ships. In doing so, they were forced to win the battle they were about to fight, or they’d perish. They won.
Today, writers dream of burning their ships by quitting the day job. It’s a romantic notion, but it usually isn’t an option because we have mortgages to pay and children to feed. We need that steady income.
Is it possible to burn our ships on a metaphorical level? Could we make a firm decision to earn a full-time living from our creative work and then set in motion a plan to make that goal a reality? What if we began by working four days a week (at “the real job”) instead of five?
That idea has merit but it also has a major flaw. It gives us an out and when the going gets tough, unless we’re really committed to our goal, we’ll take advantage of the loophole.
Burning the ships is not for the faint of heart. But then, neither is being a writer.