rule #1 : don’t quit your day job

this is the cardinal rule of becoming a writer, according to just about everything i’ve heard, seen, or read. i once read a fabulous article of the financial realities and difficulties of writing, particularly genre fiction writing, but i’ve since lost track of the link and can’t seem to find it. no matter, though, really, as there are countless articles expounding the hard truth of not giving up the ‘regular’ job, the one that comes with a paycheck and, if you’re lucky, benefits; the one that keeps you in contact with people, because those interactions are life, they are the seed of the worlds we end up creating; the one that can provide a level of sanity in this often insane world of creativity.

i really wish i could find that article. well-known author, highly published, reliable figure, with a simple, clear, effective reality check for those of us crazy fools who think we can just pick up and leave the day job for the Elysian Fields of self-employed authorship. if anyone finds it, please let me know. brilliant piece.

and yet…i’m doing it, anyway.

today is my last day at my current employment. i’m taking the leap. period. does this mean i have a contract? no. a publisher? no. an agent? no. a firm hold on my sanity? no. (duh.)

what it means is i’m doing the illogical, non-financially sound, and absolutely correct thing for me. i worked on Witness for longer than I’ve been at my current job. it’s starting to get some positive feedback and i’m hoping beyond hope that an agent will pick it up soon, but what i’ve found i most have to do, is, not surprisingly, write.

nothing against my current job, but i simply haven’t written anything worth writing since i started in this position. now, to be fair, i’m as much to blame on this point. i haven’t been as good at separating myself from my work when i’m not there as i should have been. i was afforded an excellent opportunity in this position, and am very thankful for it and have been able to learn a number of things, not just about the work but about myself. i have grown and begun to develop new skills which i wasn’t sure i could do.

however, when i finally realized that i was letting my writing slide, it terrified me. i had put all this effort into Witness and had such plans for the future, but here i was, going off course. my genuine passion is writing, and it’s truly my lifelong dream (since that fateful first year of algebra, anyway).

i have an incredibly supportive wife (who has a full time job and benefits!) and family and friends, and there will never be a better time for me to do this. i need to prove to myself that i tried this, succeed or fail, that i went through with it. obviously, i hope for the former, but even the latter is not terrible, if i give it my best, which is what this is all about.

so, that’s the short version (ha ha ha). most of all, to all of you who have so far supported me in this crazy endeavor, i give my most sincere thanks. (and please stop by and drop a line to say hi!)


p.s. – now, in cleaning out my office, i came across this book i was given as a way of stepping into management. i never cracked it open, which is my own loss, but i think the cover is all i really needed…

First, Break All The Rules

  1. I do hope you find that article, Bill. I’d really like to read it myself.

    Good luck with the leap. When you’ve been full time for a while, please come and guest blog on my blog. My readers ALL would like to be where you are right now, and would love to hear how it goes.

  2. thanks very much, Tracy. i will definitely stop by and share; i should still have some ramen noodle packs left at that point. seriously, though, it sounds like fun, and i am determined to find that article.

    thanks again for stopping by.

  3. Holy cow – I just got back from a hiatus here at your ex job site and realized you had left. You will be missed around here but I’m way happy for you and wish you the best. I did what you’re doing when I was younger and the only thing I regret is not having been equipped with the life lessons and wisdom I have since attained (some would argue that “wisdom” isn’t the right choice of words). I think you’re going for it at the right time. We’ll have to get together for lunch or dinner or whatever sometime soon. – Mike K (Superfly)

  4. thanks for the support, Superfly, and great to hear from you! (i tried to stop by a few times before i left, but you were never there, so i’m glad to hear you’re back!)

    i do feel like this was the right time, and don’t regret the choice for a second. i am of course, about to support the habit with a couple part time gigs, but here is where my heart is. i totally agree about not knowing enough when i was younger, though. not that i know all that much now, but i just don’t think i could have done this any sooner. i’ll be in touch!

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