I’m a fan of adventures. From childhood to adulthood I’ve been through and seen a lot. A few things were learned by the school of hard knocks, others by dedication and drive. Friends, family, acquaintances, opposition, those I love and those I miss. Every experience is important and wonderful. I cherish them.
In every place, friendship, conflict, career move and event you reach a crossroads at some point. The fork in the road. Do you fix up the old house or sell it before the maintenance becomes too much to handle? Do you move to full-time writer and give up your day job (or take a part time job)? Do you go back to school or continue in your set career path? Do you try a new genre? Start writing in the first place? Write your first novel?
So how do you know if you’ve got your head in the clouds or if you’re making the right decision?
I ask myself (and my characters when they reach this point in their lives) three simple questions.
1. When I look to the future in this path, am I better off in my heart and head than where I am now?
- This goes to quality of life. If you’re spending every waking moment worrying and wringing your hands over the next DIY nightmare in the old house, maybe a future with a newer home or even an apartment where you’re not responsible for maintenance is an option. On the other hand, if you love the projects and enjoy working around the house, maybe the DIY route is the one for you. Likewise with writing in a new genre. Do you have this one, only one, idea for a genre breaker? Or can you see yourself writing in that genre indefinitely? Does the current genre you write in fill you with dread (not the current book…that’s different 😉 )? If you flinch every time someone mentions your current genre…perhaps it is time.
2. Can I realistically do this financially and emotionally?
- Unless you have at least a year’s worth of savings in the bank (to cover all your bills and then some) quitting your day job with insurance benefits to START writing the novel of your heart is not realistic. Publishing isn’t predictable. Neither are the paychecks, unfortunately. What took you two months to write, submit and release in 2012 may take you six months in 2013. Why? Who knows? In my case I ran into some serious self esteem issues in the second half of Thunder and Roses. Haunting Melody St. Claire needed expansion and rewrites before it would be accepted. I’m about 50/50 on quick submission and release. Let’s say you do release your book early in your new writing career. You don’t see payout (even when you self pub) for 30-90 days with most ebook companies. 1-2 years for most traditional publishing houses. Back to the home analogy. Can you afford to sell your home? If so, will you use an agent? Do you have costs to cover any repairs that need to be made before you sell?
- Emotionally ready. Stepping out on this new adventure (whatever it may be) is scary and exciting. Can you do this? Are you ready for people to look at you and say…are you nuts??? WHY did you do this? They will. They’ll make assumptions about why or how it was done. How long it took you to do whatever you’ve chosen. People will wait to see if you succeed or fail and whatever happens, you know at least one of them will look toward you and nod while saying “I knew it would happen this way. Wouldn’t listen to me…” Talking is pretty much all they’ll do though. 🙂 Let ’em do it. In the home…can you leave this house behind without regrets?
3. Can I handle the pressure?
- How much do you have riding on this? Will people still look to you to fix their problems or still maintain their lifestyle with your new income? Do you have a backup plan? Are you ready for the change in your status?
This past year has been amazing. I’ve learned so much, tried new things, planned and plotted, struggled and cried, laughed and loved. And even when I was at my lowest. When the words wouldn’t come and the world seemed to conspire against me (it didn’t, but sometimes I wondered LOL)…my worst days of writing were still better than most of my best days doing anything else in my life (aside from the birth of my kiddo and the day I become Mrs. SuperChef). I loved my life before writing…if that tells you anything. 🙂
As with any changing season, the world shifts and turns, new life begins and the cycle of creativity starts again. I find myself once more at a crossroads. Ditter and I have some pretty amazing projects we’re working on (She has this fantastic Watcher series. You guys will love it!). We’ve high-fived and set out on our separate paths with a planned meetup when we can catch our breath. Voodoo Carnival is going strong and Feral Hunger is in the queue for me to submit last week of July or so. Depends on any continuity issues I find in the read through. She has Romanticon in October and her second annual Dittercon in January (I’ll see you guys there if you attend!). We’re both jam-packed with writing goodness. All in all, awesome stuff. 😀
On a side note: My crossroads have always looked like mountain paths. Sometimes they lead me up a gentle rise and other times I’m climbing bare handed without a harness. I think Ditter’s crossroads are somewhere around a lake or the ocean. 😀 Yours may be a train station or a highway. Either way, it’s amazing to look back and say…wow…look at how far I’ve come.
It’s good to be back on track. You guys have been amazing, especially the Round of Words crew. Thank you all for stopping by and dropping encouragement. It’s been awesome.
So here we are. It’s Wednesday. We have one Wednesday left in CampNaNoWriMo. I might not make it, but I’m going to try. Here is my Round of Words in 80 Days writing update.
With the submission of Thunder and Roses, it’s time to put down new goals for the week. I have three:
- Spirit Lake: Spirit Lake will be worked on this weekend so I’m not sure how much I’ll have done by Sunday. What I will say is that I will have a chapter completed by next check in.
- Voodoo Carnival: Voodoo will be up to 10k by next check in.
- The Collector: I’ve decided to do another Cleis Press submission. I have to admit they had me at “Sexy Librarian” in the anthology title. These short stories are so refreshing after Thunder and Roses. I love writing them. It’s due August 1st, but I’ll have it done well before then. My goal is complete and submit by Sunday.
If I can complete all three projects by July 31st, I win my original Camp NaNoWriMo goal. Thank goodness they’re free-spirited in this one. The rules are so much more lax. 😀
If you’re interested in joining us on the Round of Words in 80 Days Challenge (your own goals for the quarter!), check it out HERE.
I’m part of a fantastic group, and if you’d like to see how everyone else is doing, check out the list HERE.