I’ve been struggling with this thought for the past few weeks (yes, before I published The Queen). And let’s go ahead and say, I’m WELL aware of the privilege in this post. We are a household that can comfortably exist on one income — I understand this is not the case for everyone and that I am super fortunate to have even had the chance to my little experiment.
In case you weren’t aware, intentionally, I’ve been out of the traditional job force for the past year and a half. In that time I’ve managed some successes — published a book, finished a trilogy, traveled, volunteered with K9 Friends, kept the house mainly in order, and did fairly well with food writing stuff. Honestly, that’s about the sum total of my efforts. For the above, as you might well imagine, I’ve been paid roughly less than a pittance. Sure, a few bucks for some articles and not having to pay for meals while in Dubai has been great, but those things don’t actually contribute to the overall earnings of a household. This is magnified by knowing others who I deeply respect and are in similar positions to mine and have managed to, you know, actually get paid. And just so we’re clear, this is entirely my opinion — I have felt zero pressure from my wonderful husband for any of this, throughout the past 18 months. He’s never once asked, “So, when are you going to start making money?”
As much as I dislike being around people (thank you, misophonia), I do enjoy making money (and, of course, spending it, especially in this political climate). Essentially, I think the practical and rational side of myself is telling me, “You had a good try, but when can you admit that you’re not going to earn a living from writing?”
Man, that was a tough sentence to write. The flip side of this coin is that I am actually good at work. I leave organizations better than I found them. I have a better than average work ethic, work longer hours than I’m ever paid for, and have put up with my fair share of shit over the years. Spoiler alert, that’s everyone, I know. Still, I have stellar recommendations.
So, I decided that the end of this year was my cut off before I started looking for work (although, knowing me, it will be sooner).
I am never going to give up writing, however, even as I get compliments on my work, these kind thoughts aren’t going to pay the bills. I am part of numerous author groups and see the successes — goals that seem forever out of reach for me. Maybe if the Amazon clusterfuck hadn’t happened, I might be in a different situation. Maybe if I had planned a better release calendar for The Queen, or kept after Joe, I might have a bigger audience. Maybe if I published more novels in a year (and yes, I have those books to publish). Maybe if I hustled more. Or maybe, my audience is never going to be large enough to support me. Maybe I don’t write books for the masses. Maybe I’ll just have this little side vanity project for my whole life and that will have to be enough.
It’s tough because anyone who knows me understands how much I hate to waste time. Thus, what has this time ‘off’ been? I was always going to write the books, so, it’s not as if they only came into existence because I wasn’t tied to a desk. I suppose learning that you’re not meant to do the thing you thought your whole life was intended to be isn’t a waste of time, but it certainly doesn’t feel all that great. Or maybe 18 months isn’t long enough to determine that fact.
Let’s see what the universe holds next for me. As always, maybe ‘author’ is just one of the things that define me. While I wanted it to be one of the main things, perhaps there is something else.