Friday, January 26, 2018

Write. Work. Write. Work. Work. Write?

I'm struggling.

I'm currently in this place where I've been before and it's never a comfortable place to be. My writing world beckons. I long to immerse myself in words, my worlds, my stories, my writing life--and the day job interferes. Like I said, not a new place to be. I started working toward my writing career in the mid-eighties while working full time, the siren song of writing a romance novel teasing at my soul. It hasn't really stopped--except for that one 5 year stretch when I acquired the new day job. The one I still have today.

That was 18 years ago. I've worked full time for most of those years from the time of conception of my writing career until now. I took a year off from full time teaching in 1996 to work on my writing career. I substitute taught for that year and I sold my first three novels to Kensington Books. That was a pretty successful year off. Except that I also got a divorce that year and so I went back to work full time again. I did manage to sell three more books to Kensington in the next three years. Yeehaw, my career is launched.

Then came a new day job offer that I couldn't turn down in early 2000. It doubled my salary and being a single mom with two teenagers, I took it. It was not without sacrifice. I had a 65-mile one-way commute daily and I had to travel. With two teenagers, this was not ideal, even if their father lived just a few miles away. It took its toll on me and them. The second sacrifice was that although my writing career was launched, I wrote no fiction for the next five years. My romance writing career was practically null and void by the time I got back to writing fiction. I started writing again in 2005 and didn't publish until 2007 with a small press. It was a long drought.

There was one plus to this five-year fiction writing lag though--I learned to write non-fiction and I published quite a bit of it within those five years. That trend has continued. While these days I'm not writing so much, I'm managing and publishing the writing of others for that same day job.



Perhaps I digress. This post started out talking about my current struggle. Somehow I took a walk to the past but it's all part and parcel, at this point. You may also see the history and the pattern. Yes, there is a pattern. In 2010 I took another year off to write. This was the beginning of the self-publishing explosion. My intent was to write and republish my backlist and secure the rights to my small press books. I started my own small publishing company, and within a few months, decided to take on other authors. And then I realized I had done it again, created another "day job" that interfered with my writing. But I worked hard to make it work and it was a great 5 year run with that publishing house, even though in 2011 the day job came calling again and asked me to come back for a couple of months to help with a project. I stayed three years. In 2014 I left again, weary of the struggle and balance, and in 2016, I returned to the job. I'm still there.

Thus, the struggle, the imbalance, the pattern.

But I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I work hard at what I do in the day job. I have a lot of responsibility. But this year I will turn 62 years old. Getting older and closer to retirement age makes a person ponder their future.

What do I want for me for the remainder of my 6th decade here on earth? What do I want for me in my 7th and 8th? Longer?

We don't know how many more decades we have, so thinking about all that might be moot. But I'm a planner and a doer and I think about it. Lately, a lot.

I want the simpler life. I want coffee in the morning over a blog post like I'm doing now. I want to move to my desk and write fiction all morning while I have something in the crockpot in the kitchen brewing for dinner later today. I want to interact with my significant people on a leisurely and not hurried basis. I want to have time to devote to my career and marketing.

I know what I want. I must be patient. And I have to decide -- what does retirement look like and am I ready? You probably already know the answer to that.

Stay tuned.

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