9 Days to the Quittening: The Anxiety Rises
August 28 will be my last day as a full-time state employee, after which I get to transition into my full-time job as a writer. I’m excited and eager and impatient. I can’t wait to have more time for writing various books and stories and other projects.
It also scares the hell out of me.
I’ve felt the stress and anxiety building as I get closer to Q-Day. Some of it is completely irrational. Significant life changes are always stressful. Even good changes.
There’s also the rather long list of things I need to take care of at work before I leave, a list that keeps multiplying like gremlins in a hot tub. Everything from documenting my work and processes to finishing out various projects to making sure my family’s insurance will transition smoothly from my coverage to my wife’s.
There’s the financial side of things. I’ve done as much as I can to prepare for the change to our income. I’ve got things like the on-publication payment for Fable: Blood of Heroes, the D&A for Revisionary, the mass market payment for Unbound, and the hardcover payment for Revisionary all coming in over the next six months or so. But in the long term? We’ll see…
Then there’s the Imposter Syndrome lurking in the wrinkly shadows of my brain. “Oh, sure. You did pretty well when you were working a day job and putting out one book a year. But do you have what it takes to make it as a real writer?”
Imposter Syndrome is a jerk. I hate the idea that some people are “real” writers and other people aren’t. I’ve been a real writer for twenty years. But the fear is completely irrational, and this feels somehow realer. It’s another step up on the ladder, and that means another opportunity to fail.
It’s also another opportunity to succeed. It’s the chance to branch out and write new things, to put more energy and focus into my writing career and see what comes back.
I believe this will be a very good change for me and for my family. Hopefully for my readers as well. I’m excited about it, and I’m counting down the days. I’m particularly looking forward to waking up on Monday the 31st, looking at my clock, and then rolling over and going back to sleep. I’ve spent the past week and a half doing worldbuilding and outlining a brand new fantasy novel, and I can’t wait to start writing the story. I love that I’ll have more time to write, and could possibly get this written and submitted so much faster than my usual one book/year pace.
But the fear is there too. It probably always will be. If there’s no fear, no risk of failure, I figure that means I’m probably not reaching high enough.
Nine days and counting…
D. D. Webb
August 19, 2015 @ 10:21 am
Fear’s always there, Jim; it doesn’t necessarily mean anything except that it wants to be fed. You’re as real a writer as they come.
August 19, 2015 @ 10:26 am
I am only going on vacation on the 28th, but the “list that keeps multiplying like gremlins in a hot tub” is active here as well. We’re dealing with an intercontinental phenomenon here ;-).
August 19, 2015 @ 10:38 am
Congratulations! You’re already a writer I love and if this means more of your writing for me to read then that’s a win for me too. YAY!
August 19, 2015 @ 11:02 am
Eeeee, so existed for you!
August 19, 2015 @ 11:04 am
Uuuh, that would be excited.
August 19, 2015 @ 11:12 am
You can do it, Jim!
August 19, 2015 @ 11:28 am
It is terrifying, and I hope you can get a handle on your anxiety (or that some goblins kill it) before the Quittening happens so you can A> Enjoy it, and B> Not be a quivering mess.
However, have you thought about your fans. As a full time author, that means you can write more. Meaning us, your loyal fans, have to spend MORE money on your works! I don’t think you authors ever really realize this horrible effect you have on those who love your work! 😀
Congratulations and good luck!
August 19, 2015 @ 11:56 am
Best of luck, Jim! I’ll be taking notes, as I hope to do something similar before I turn 50…which is coming up sooner than I would like to believe.
August 19, 2015 @ 12:52 pm
It’ll be okay. You’ve already proved you can do it, multiple times over; now you just get to do more of it, faster.
The internet is out here rooting for you!
August 19, 2015 @ 6:19 pm
Gremlins in a hot tub? LOL. I didn’t expect THAT.
I think you will do fine. Self-created routines are your friend. Good habits keep the bad habits at bay. Also the bad thoughts. We are all cheering for you.
August 19, 2015 @ 6:27 pm
Awesome! So excited for you Jim! And excited for me too. It means there will be many more good books in my future 🙂 All the best for this transition (transitions suck!) and for all the fun you will get to have on the other side of it 🙂
Mason T. Matchak
August 19, 2015 @ 9:08 pm
I’ve been reading your work since 2010, and I have, quite literally, enjoyed your writing more and more with every book. I have utter and complete faith in your ability to not only handle this transition but to thrive in your new life, and I look forward to seeing you continue to get even better with each novel.
Here’s hoping you can look back at this in 2025 and realize that quitting your day job was the best decision you ever made.
August 20, 2015 @ 3:58 pm
I read a couple of your sample chapters, and promptly bought one of your books (Libriomancer). You have NOTHING to worry about, trust me.
August 20, 2015 @ 6:08 pm
I can’t wait to see what you write with all the new time! Imposter syndrome is the worst but maybe keep a file of positive feedback to help those moments? (Grad school advice ;))
August 21, 2015 @ 8:30 pm
My *wholly* unselfish wish is more blog posts 😉
August 22, 2015 @ 2:48 am
I am a state employee myself in. California. Congratulations on your escape. Put a note on your calendar for when your pension vests.
Jim C. Hines
August 22, 2015 @ 10:29 am
Alas, Michigan did away with its pension system back in … 1997, I think. I came in a few years too late.
August 22, 2015 @ 4:40 pm
If you are already putting out one book a year part time, how much do you expect to produce as a full time writer? I thought a book a year was already considered a good pace? Do you have ideas for more material?
Jim C. Hines
August 22, 2015 @ 4:47 pm
I have nothing under contract yet, but I have several ideas I want to write. I honestly don’t know what kind of pace I’ll be able to hit, but I’m hoping to improve over one book a year. Ask me in a few months, and I should have a better sense of what I can do 🙂
August 23, 2015 @ 9:13 am
Courage and good luck, Jim. You can do it!
August 24, 2015 @ 4:15 pm
BTW, I really enjoyed the first two Libriomancer books (just picked up the third). I’m glad you’re able to transition to writing full-time, because more awesome books!
Jim C. Hines
August 24, 2015 @ 6:16 pm
Thanks so much, Jonathan! 🙂
Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, August 9-15, 2015 | Writerly Goodness
August 25, 2015 @ 7:16 pm
[…] Jim C. Hines: 9 days to the quittening. […]
September 2, 2015 @ 10:42 pm
Some declared victory, while others declared victory for totally different reasons, and lo did they yelleth at one another over whose victory was bigger. But on the fifth day, a lull did fall upon the web of the wide world, as rational and informed people of all nations looked down in agreement and unity.