As most of you know, my last post left off with me about to take the plunge into writing full time. I had one more week at the day job, then…bam…I would no longer be answering to anyone but myself on a daily basis.
Well, I’m here to report my last week at work was great. Lots of folks came by to say goodbye, a few even bringing books to sign. A great party on Wednesday afternoon that was supposed to be a surprise, but…well…it’s hard to surprise me. Then two more days of finishing things up. Had lunch with the people I worked closest with on Friday, and then had something they call an exit interview. It sounds painful, but it wasn’t. A few questions, some paper work, and the all important final check. And then…I was done.
Monday brought my first real day as a fulltime author, the weekend having been spent with other pre-planned activities. I got up early, opened all the windows, turned on the ipod, sat down at my kitchen table, and began working on the edits for my third novel. I didn’t stop for another seven hours. Wow. Bliss.
Still, it was early in the day, only 3 p.m., so I went for a hike up one of our local canyons. You see, part of my plan for this new way of life is to get back into shape, something I’ve been neglecting for too long. The hike was great, though exhausting. Even then, after I finished and had dragged myself back into my car, I felt exhilarated.
Tuesday, I did the same, the writing again bliss, but the canyon actually harder the second time. Wednesday, stir and repeat, only this time the canyon was easier. I plan on doing the same again today.
I still have this feeling in the back of my mind that I’m supposed to be at a meeting somewhere, or need to check my messages in case someone needs something. I’m sure that will go away in time. God, I hope so.
But mostly I feel lucky. Lucky that I can spend big chunks of time working on my books instead of shoe horning writing sessions into my schedule in two hour bits here and there. I feel lucky that in the middle of the day I can go for a long walk, or a hike, or can spend hours bs’ing with Rob and Bill Cameron and Tasha Alexander on iChat. (Wait, I used to do that iChat thing even when I had the fulltime job…but you get the idea.)
It’s early yet, and I’m still getting used to things, but what I do know is that I love this. It does mean I need to be on top of keeping a schedule. Thankfully I have a bit of a talent for that.
So that’s where I am right now. Week one almost done and I’m loving it!
I’m not writing this progress report to make those of you who are writing fulltime jealousy or for me to brag. I’m writing this so that you know it’s possible. A few scant years ago I didn’t even have a contract. And when I finally did get one, it almost disappeared because the small press that signed me went out of business. But I kept pushing forward, taking an active part – as much as I could – in keeping my fledging career alive. And now I’m here. So keep the faith, keep moving forward, and keep writing the best damn books you can.
Appearance note. If you’re L.A. this weekend, Sunday brings the West Hollywood Book Festival. I’ll be on a panel:
“High Octane Thrillers: How Authors and Screenwriters Fuel the Genre”
Bret Battles, Brent Ghelfi, Heywood Gould, Stephen Hunter, Susan Arnout Smith Moderator: Evan Kilgore
Signing to immediately follow, so come by and say hi!
Song of the day: I’M FREE by The Soup Dragons (not originally, of course, see below)
or if you prefer…by The Rolling Stones