Full-time Writer – Following My Dream

I’ve had a desk job for over 14 years. Same place. I met my husband there, so we have worked there our entire marriage (13 years!). We lived life on a two salary family. No kids (not by choice). We went on trips when we wanted. Bought a car and truck. Bought two houses (we’ve since sold one of them). Went to movies. Bought books when we wanted. Ran races. Ate out a lot.

The last year, work has slowly increased in stress. More workload, and a boss who missed a lot of work. We were a two person department. So when one is gone, the other has to handle everything. Every day I came home exhausted. I would want to lay down and take a nap at 6 pm, get up for a couple hours, then be back in bed by 10. It sucked. My anxiety and stress went through the roof. There were days I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, so I’d stay there. I had a panic attack and I hadn’t had one since before I married my husband. My migraines increased dramatically. I weigh more than I ever have.

Live footage of me at work.

When I finally decided to go to the doctor, I had a list of all the things that were going wrong in my life. As I looked it over, I realized it all pinpointed back to work. It was sucking the life out of me to the point that I was missing out on so much.

My husband and I knew something needed to change because life was miserable.

I wrote my first novel in November 2011 for NaNoWriMo. It was the first in a YA dystopian series, New Haven (Recruits). It came so easily after that one.

2012:
New Haven 2, Revolutionaries (YA dystopian)
New Haven 3, Redemption (YA dystopian)
Shadow Force Assassins (YA sci-fi, NaNo book)

2013:
Awkward Anonymous (YA contemporary, Camp NaNo book)
Tether (YA paranormal thriller, NaNo book)
I knew in this year that writing was more than just a hobby for me. It was life.

2014:
I spent a lot of 2014 going back and editing my previous books. I also started going to conferences to learn more about writing.
Willow Marsh (YA paranormal thriller, NaNo book)

2015:
The Immortal Life of Cotton Wyley (MG contemp. fantasy)
SFA Revisited (YA sci-fi with a new premise, NaNo book)
Cats, Cars, and Crushes (Short story, YA contemporary)

2016:
Pepper, PhD (MG fantasy) (beginning of the year)
Shattered (YA psychological thriller) (beginning of the year)
The Root (YA fantasy, NaNo, my most forced book and I would have given up if not for my husband’s encouragement)

2017:
Nothing.

As my husband and I were discussing what needed to change, we knew writing needed to come back into my life. I was happier when I was writing. I had more energy. More life in me. And I LOVED it.

We knew me quitting my job would change so much. It’s a whole life-style adjustment. Luckily, the last car payment will be made this month. We’re going to cancel our TV when our contract is up in a couple months. No more buying books, or anything we want. We’ll start eating like college students with no money. Worst part? We won’t be working together like we have our entire marriage. No more car rides to and from work listening to books. No more lunches together.

We have no idea how long it will take me to get an agent. I will not give up until I do, but it could be many, many months down the road. Then there’s editing with your agent for months. Then they have to try to sell it to a publisher. More editing, promoting, etc. Best case scenario? I’ll have a book being published a year from now. That’s if I’m extremely lucky.

Live footage of me announcing I’m quitting work.

We know we’re taking a risk here. But we’re choosing a life full of happiness than a life of regret and suffering. I’m choosing to follow my dream and I’m willing to make the sacrifices.

Are you?

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