R.I.P. Day Job

When I was a kid, I thought that everybody who was a writer was a full-time writer. If you wrote books, that’s entirely how you made your living…and, oooohhhh, what a sweet, sweet deal that would be!

In the ’90s, I discovered GEnie (basically, the internet without pictures) and got to interact with real writers for the first time. This is when I found that many of them, including authors whose book I’d just bought that week at my local bookstore, also had day jobs. What a bunch of bulls**t, right? And soon (well, not THAT soon) I, too, would experience the phenomena of selling a book for considerably less than truckloads of gold.

So I’ve worked for the same very large corporation for eighteen (!) years. I’ve talked about it a lot on podcast interviews and at conventions, but almost never here on my blog or on social media. Partly because 1) It is not a job filled with non-stop excitement and wacky anecdotes, and 2) I occasionally write books like Facial, where it feels like a wise idea to keep the day job and writing life in two very separate compartments.

Meanwhile, my writing career has had a gradual-but-consistent ascent. Almost every year better than the last, but no big “Yes!!! This changes everything!!!” moment. The idea of “Oh, what glorious things I could accomplish if I had my forty hours a week back!” comes up a lot, but day jobs provide neat things like reliable income. When you have a novel, let’s call it Wolf Hunt, where you never got either half of your advance even though the contract is signed and the manuscript has been delivered and edited and it’s a mass market paperback due out in four months but you’re hearing that the publisher’s horror line is on the verge of crashing and burning and then suddenly your editor gets laid off, it’s easy to think, “Wow, I’m glad I wasn’t counting on that money to pay the rent!”

But, finally, after those eighteen years, I have quit my day job. My last day is Friday.

Why did I do it? The answer I’d like to give is, “I got a massive book deal and I’m rich, rich, rich! Hahahahaha! Writhe in jealousy, peasants! Dance for my amusement!”

The actual answer is: dumbasses in upper management.

This is a good thing. When your writing career is going well, but you’re hesitant to make the scary leap to full-time, what you want most in the world is a shift in the corporate structure that leaves you at the mercy of a couple of dumbasses who make sweeping dumbass changes. Then you can say, “Bite me!” and quit.

(Or you can, y’know, just think it. No need to cause a scene.)

So that’s the deal. Full-time writer in a week. What does this mean for future books, except that there will be more of them? Watch for more updates throughout the week…

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