You may remember previous mentions on this blog of developments which were taking their time to develop. Well, they’re finally finished (I nearly put an elaborate analogy here about photographs, chemical baths, and dark rooms until it occurred to me that nobody under the age of 25 would know what I was talking about). No, I haven’t got that 3-book deal, but I am taking a bold step towards becoming a proper writer – yes, I’m giving up the day job.
Why now? After all, I don’t yet have a publisher, nor any sort of income stream from writing, so I’m taking a leap of faith, hoping that things will work out so I’ll be able to write all day and still pay the bills. Well, there’s nothing like an extended period of sickness to give you a new perspective and make you re-evaluate your priorities. When you can barely move, being able to afford a ski holiday suddenly seems a whole lot less important. So when, shortly after getting back to work, my employer announced a programme of voluntary redundancy, something clicked. Maybe, I thought, it’s finally time to make a real proper go of this writing thing, and that severance payment will provide a crash mat.
And so, by this time next week, I’ll have left my career in project management behind, and devoted myself to my hobby instead. Right now, I’m about 1/3 excited, 1/3 terrified, and 1/3 still in denial. I’m ecstatic at the thought of not having to get up early in the morning, of being able to spend as much time as I like doing what I love, of being able to wear my pyjamas until 4pm if I want to, of being able to tell people ‘I’m a writer’ and for it to actually be true… but then, if publication remains elusive, perhaps ‘writer’ will be a less accurate description than ‘unemployed person’ or, seeing as we’ll be living off my husband’s salary, ‘housewife’.
It might not work out. I might never become a ‘proper’ writer with books in the shops and royalties in my bank account. But I figure it’s worth a try. I’m allowing myself a couple of years to give it my best shot (health permitting) – even if I get nowhere near publication, I should be able to write one, two, or even three books in half the space of time The Heartland of the Winter took, so I’ll have something to (I hope!) be proud of. And, in the somewhat morbid words of one my former colleagues when I told him about my decision, ‘You should do what you want to do. After all, you’re a long time staring at the wood.’