In my 2015 wrap-up, I hinted at a change in status from 3/4-time author to potentially full time this year.
Well, I did it.
Last week, I confirmed with my director that I wasn’t going to renew my contract for 2016.
I am officially a full-time author for a 12-month trial.
It is the most irresponsible decision I’ve ever made, and I am terrified.
It’s not like I made this decision with my eyes closed. I knew what it would mean not to have a steady income or outside job — my savings would take a hit, I would risk becoming a perma-hermit, I would lose out on any clear work/life balance. I worked out the logistics, looked at my situation from every pragmatic angle, and decided I could afford to give this my all for a year. Exciting! All the potential! Everything in hand and worked out to the last detail!
I did not take into consideration the fear that would land on me the day after I hit “send” on the email to my boss. I wasn’t even doing anything work-related. I was reaching into the fridge to get cat food when all of a sudden it struck me: I might fail.
In working out my accounts/sales, I discovered that between 2014 and 2015, there’s a significant increase not only in productivity, but in return. An increase I’m proud of, because it reflects the extra work I put into my business as well as my craft last year. My rational mind tells me that with yet more time — meaning more productivity and more opportunities to learn the fundamentals of my business — return and sales should increase further.
But there are those fears again: what if they don’t? The Cadis Trilogy is wrapping up in March, and with it comes up the end (for now) of a series that readers are familiar with, of characters they’ve grown to care about, root for, or hate. The series being over means I need to move on to something new. So not only a whole new career goal for me, but also a whole new series! What if people don’t like the new characters? What if the new series isn’t as good? WHAT IF I FALL ASLEEP TONIGHT AND LOSE MY ABILITY TO WORD?!
Our thought processes and brain workingses are a treat, aren’t they?
And yet, in spite my fears, I’m looking at my to-do list for the day, and this is what it looks like:
- blog post
- IE edits
- IE promo
- IE1 outline
- SotB edits
- eye appointment
Nowhere on that list do I have
- call boss and ask for job back
And I’m patting myself on the back for that. Every morning I’ve woken up reminding myself that I get to go to work in my PJs, and even if the day is a grueling 9-10 hours in front of a computer screen, even if I get a new scathing review, even if 12 months from now I need to get another part time job to save up some more money for another trial in a year or two, I’ll have learned so much. I’ll have made mistakes that led to deeper knowledge; I’ll have had surprising successes; I’ll have created a backlist and stepped into a whole bunch of new worlds.
Every morning I remind myself that the reward is worth the risk.
When that reminder fails, I know how lucky I am that my family, my partner, and my readers keep me going. On the inevitable days where I’m afraid my next book launch will result in 0 sales and my accounts will slide into the red, I know I have so many people urging me on to the next step. They (you) make it so much easier.
My purpose for writing this post is two-fold. First, to get the thoughts out of my head, because thoughts are evil; second, the hope that my experience will help someone trying to make a similar decision for themselves.
It takes courage to go out on a limb and have faith it won’t snap. It takes courage to believe that if the limb does snap, you have the strength, wits, and sense of humour to laugh as you fall, and the faith that you’ll catch yourself mid-flight.
Anything can happen on the way down, but during the flight anything is possible.
What’s the scariest decision you’ve ever made?