This is the last day of my “day job.” The one I started only five weeks ago.
I’ve had a difficult time convincing anyone that this is the right move. I can understand how it looks from the outside looking in. I get it.
After taking a couple of years off the old eight-to-five, punch-in, punch-out grind, to focus on the writing business, this new, perfect opportunity fell squarely in my lap. It seemed like manna from heaven, and that passing on it would be the ultimate ingratitude. And even though my gut-instinct—or that still, small voice—was not giving me the brilliant green light, it wasn’t giving me a screeching warning either. It was as though the answer was, “It’s not going to hurt to check it out. Go ahead and apply. Go ahead and interview. Everything will be okay.” Not really a feeling of peace, but not one of sheer dread, either.
On the surface, this would seem like the perfect opportunity. A former co-worker contacted me, asking if I was looking for a job. I hadn’t been, but I knew I probably should have been.
After a year of serious pitching, querying, and submitting, I had a growing stack of kind and encouraging rejections on my first completed novel. I knew I hadn’t used my time and potential as well as I could have. I thought that maybe having an externally-imposed structure might improve my writing productivity, because I’d be forced to use my limited writing time with more focus. (Yeah. That didn’t happen.)
At this new place, there were ten people I’d worked with at the “great and spacious building” I left two years before. Joining them seemed like becoming part of a David and Goliath story. It felt like sticking it to the man. It was closure for an open wound. I’d be working in a familiar industry, fighting the good fight for those in need. And I’d be good at it.
Two days into the new job I received an email from an acquisitions editor at a publishing company.
“Hello Tana, I have read your entire book and am going to pitch it to the board.”
It didn’t have the word “love” or even “like” in it, but those things are implied. Editors do not read an entire manuscript if they aren’t in love with it.
That one sentence changed my whole perspective about the new job.
(Long story less long, I signed with them. Much more on that in a different post.)
I believe everything happens for a reason.
The writing thing is still a crap shoot. There’s no guarantee this book or future books are going to sell even one copy, much less become a viable income stream. But having this one success has at least given me an indication I’ve been on the right track. This experience has shown me what I DON’T want to be doing for a living. It’s given me a renewed sense of purpose. It’s reminded me that I MUST treat the writing like the business I’ve always wanted it to be.
Thanks for listening. I need to jump in the shower and get dressed for that last day.
Next week I’m taking my new writing career on a road trip to visit family in Vegas. Because you can do that with a writing career. Writing IS my day job. I remember that now.
And I finally feel that peace again.