On Feb. 3rd I shared that my job position was being cut. The job search has not been so hot, and most of the interesting jobs would require a big move, with Emily having to re-find a job as well.
Over the last few weeks I began to sit down and consider my situation. I had just gotten my W2s from work, and I looked at how much income I made from the 8-5. It wasn’t a staggering amount. And I thought about how hard I pushed myself to be in on time, how much more productive I was at other times (night), and what kind of career should I aim for for my next dayjob.
Then someone asked me if I was interested in some freelance work, which I was. So I did that for some extra money. And then I spent a week off getting a massive chunk of Ragamuffin written. And delivered a short story on top of that to an editor who requested one. I started writing at night again. And I rediscovered a whole lot of passion for being creative and keeping my own times that I’d lost in the last two years while trying to be as dutiful as I could to the security and idea of the dayjob.
Over the last two weeks I came to realize that more than anything, I want to work harder than I have, more creatively, and on my own daily schedule. I want to freelance and create.
I’ve always believed that publicly stating a goal has a powerful effect on your trying to achieve it. I’ve used this public forum as a way to do that before, and it’s effective. So I’m doing this to spur the whole thing on. To try and make it happen.
So I’m declaring that when May 30th rolls around, somehow, I’m not going to work an 8-5, I’m going to be a full time freelancer.
What form the freelance work takes I’m not sure. I’ve got 3 income streams right now that represent about 50% of what I need to earn in order to do this:
One is my work as an instructor at Seton Hill University MFA for writing Popular Fiction.
Two is a job blogging that I just agreed to (I’ll share link details and topic as soon as I can).
Three is some nonfiction writing I have agreed to.
I’m not counting my fiction in this as the money there is so variable. Though I make little enough that a few good foreign rights sales and I could be set 🙂 It’s a crapshoot.
There is other stuff up in the air. I’m working to try and get another paid blogging position or two. I’ve let everyone know this is my plan, and I’m leaning on what few contacts I have to let them know I’m willing to write. I’m sniffing around about possible media writing, anything that puts food on the table. I don’t mind working long hours, as long as I get to choose what time of day I work those long hours I’m a happy, happy man.
My living in Ohio and our plans to move to a cheaper house along with the already low salary expectations mean that a couple more of these and I have enough stable income to not worry.
The fact that I have 50% of my income lined up in freelance projects 30 days after finding out about the lack of next year’s employment makes me hopeful that over the next 60-90 days I can line up another 50%.
I don’t know how this will turn out, but I’m going to try and do it. Even if it doesn’t work, and I go back to looking for a dayjob, at least I can say that I tried.
I still remember when I decided to go to Clarion, and it was a total ‘what the hell’ moment where I had to scrounge for the down payment, and I literally showed up at the dorm with some clothes in a large red sack and my computer in a bin in the trunk of my rusted out Cavalier and $5 in my backpocket and that was -it-, I had no idea how I was going to eat or make it through 6 weeks, but I knew I was going to figure it all out anyway and make something happen through sheer dogged persistence.
I have that gut roiling ‘what the hell, this is what I want to do, and I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t just jump’ feeling once again.
Who knows where it will lead?