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...