10 Years in the Day Job

In late 2000, I was looking at two job possibilities. One was computer support for a private company. The other was an equivalent position with state government, which paid about $15K less each year. On the other hand, the state job would have very little overtime (leaving more time and energy for writing), and it was a unionized position, meaning I would get a one hour lunch break pretty much every day.

In February of 2001, I accepted a job as a government employee here in Michigan. It was a deliberate choice to give up that higher salary in order to take a job better suited to my goals as a writer.

That choice was a turning point for me, and it meant I had to decide whether I was truly serious about this writing thing.

Taking this job was a risk. There was no guarantee I’d succeed as an author. But it turned out to be the right choice for me. It’s not the most satisfying or fulfilling position, but it allows me to support my family and do what I love.

Ten years later, I have six books in print with a major publisher, with a seventh on the way and two more under contract. I’ve sold forty-plus short stories. I’ve gone through three departments and four managers at work, but I’m still writing almost every day from noon to one o’clock, churning out a book a year and a few short stories.

Writing is a marathon, and very  much about long-term persistence. But there are turning points and milestones too, and it’s strange to realize it’s been ten years since I made that choice.

I talk about writing and the day job a bit more in an interview at the Booklife blog.