Today I celebrate my 7th year Freelanceiversary!

Today I celebrate 7 years being a freelancer and fiction writer.

I’ve now not had a formal 8-5 job longer than I’ve had one. I’m firmly on the other side, and it seems like a distant and odd dream.

Last year I got a tattoo to celebrate. This year I’m going to go out for dinner and pick out some plants for the garden. Then pack, because tomorrow I’ll be in California where someone is paying to fly me out and hang out with Kim Stanley Robinson and talk about my novel Arctic Rising.

I’m so. Fucking. Lucky.

What I’ve done has changed from year to year, some years it’s more fiction than freelance jobs, others it’s the other way around.

On May 9th, 2006, I walked away from my day job with a whole quarter left on my contract after I was told it wouldn’t be renewed. I was scared, yet hopeful. I worked like a dog for a year and a half, until I could slow it down and leverage up to better paying gigs based on my contacts and experience. By 2008, I had a nice balance of freelance gigs and fiction that gave me freedom and money, debt was close to being paid off, and I was looking forward to rebalancing until I had a health hiccup.

Recovering my cadence and energy due to health issues that hit in late ’08 and ’09 was tough, but as the 7th year begins I feel I’m getting some savings, paying off debt once again, and positioning myself for a banner 2014 by working really hard here in 2013. Getting back to doing a lot of writing is happening through a combination of hard work this year (flirting with exhausting, but learning more about how not to go over that cliff) and prepping for next.

So thank you to anyone who has commissioned me for work, flown me out to speak, or purchased my fiction in any of the various venues.

When I walked away that last day, I dared dream of a life that was just like this. It isn’t perfect (there are variables about freelancing that can take you down), but man, it really suits me more than anything else I’ve ever done. Or could imagine doing.

A large chunk of America will be freelancers by 2020

Another way in which the baby-boomers are not getting our world ready for the upcoming demographic changes:

“The debate over telecommuting that Yahoo has spurred raises an important issue, but it’s not simply about workplace flexibility or telecommuting, but rather the fundamental nature of work itself. By 2020, more than 40% of the US workforce will be so-called contingent workers, according to a study conducted by software company Intuit in 2010. That’s more than 60 million people.

We are quickly becoming a nation of permanent freelancers and temps. In 2006, the last time the federal government counted, the number of independent and contingent workers—contractors, temps, and the self-employed—stood at 42.6 million, or about 30% of the workforce. How many are there today? We have no idea since 2006 was the last year that the government bothered to count this huge and growing sector of the American workforce.”

(Via 40% of America’s workforce will be freelancers by 2020 – Quartz.)