I’m Free

By Brett Battles

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

12 thoughts on “I’m Free

  1. Louise Ure

    Brett, I think you timed this well, to start off the fulltime writing gig with edits and revisions. Somehow, for me at least, facing a truly blank page for hours at a time was initially harder.

    Welcome to the world of working in sweat pants.

  2. Jake Nantz

    Mr. Battles,That nagging feeling about missing a meeting is the telepathic message I’ve been sending you all week. I was expecting you in Cary today to handle all of these ridiculous meetings at school so I could go write.

    Dude, what happened?

    Okay, all (bad) jokes aside, congratulations. It sounds like the life we all dream of, and you are living it right.Rock on.

  3. Brett Battles

    Thanks everyone. Really meant more as an motivational tool for everyone, than a “hey, look at me” kind of thing. And Jake, thanks for clearing up where those feelings were coming from! Next time I’ll be there. 😉

  4. j.t. ellison

    You know what, Brett? You deserve a little look at me time. You’ve persevered through some seriously hard stuff and come out on top. This should be a rallying cry to a lot of authors. I’m proud for you, my friend!

  5. Steve

    Way to go, dude! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

    Well, I guess it could’ve happened to Mr. Rogers, but he’s dead.

    Anyway, rejoice in the new lifestyle, man. My suggestion: Don’t bathe or shave for the next month. Now *that’s* what being a full-time writer’s all about!


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