It’s my Write-A-Versary!

Four years ago was my very last day working for someone else, after having worked for a variety of someone elses for 32 years. (For those of you trying to do the math, let’s just pretend I was baby model). I had a contract coming my way for a nice chunk of change, and I figured it was now or never.

So I gave notice and packed up my emergency makeup (I occasionally dealt with the media), my snacks, my photos, and the little cup where I kept spare change. I said goodbye to a lot of folks and tried not think to hard about whether I was crazy to quit when the stock market had lost 40 percent of its value and I hadn't actually signed said contract.

However, as a wise friend of mine said recently to another friend who was thinking about quitting her day job: “If you really want to be a writer, f*ck the back-up plan." Our friend is young, without children or a mortgage. She has the flexibility to not work for a while, or to do some freelancing or a job that requires little thought. Sometimes you have just have to take a chance. (When I quit, I had both a mortgage and a kid. I still do. They make life more ... interesting.)

Of course, it's not all sunshine and lollipops. Thank God I've got health benefits from my husband, but everything else I pay for out of pocket (like retirement) or simply don't have. I net out a little less than I did when I worked full-time (but I was well-paid). There have times when I have done the math and wondered exactly how we were going to pay the mortgage.

But you know what? It has worked out. I've had a bunch of books out since I quit: Face of Betrayal, Hand of Fate, Heart of Ice, and Girl, Stolen. The Night She Disappeared and Eyes of Justice will publish in the next few weeks. I've got contracts for four more. I’ve had foreign sales, movie nibbles, and books chosen for the Scholastic Book Club and the Junior Library Guild.

And I am so much happier!! All day long I get to kill people (or at least make them worried they might be killed) and it is so much fun. And if some of those people occasionally bear a passing resemblance to an old boss or annoying co-worker, I’m sure that’s a coincidence...



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Yay to Happiness! Happy Write-a-versary and having the courage to take a chance :)
Luckily, the last few years at my job were really hard, dealing with an evil CEO, watching them fire dozens of people, and then watching that person be fired and a new CEO be brought in who was hard to work with in his own way. Made the motivation to leave that much stronger.
Congrats! I followed you into freedom about 5.5 months later - and I've had the same joy, with occasional nerves :-)
It was very scary. Sometimes it still is. I would HATE to have to go back to the corporate world.
It took me longer than I wanted, but I never stopped hoping/planning. I know quite a few people who have, so it's definitely possible.