I quit my day job.
Well, one of my day jobs. For about eight years I’ve worked as a freelance writer, and a few days ago I turned in my last article.
Okay, okay, in the interest of specificity: not quite my last. I’ll still do the occasional book review, author interview, and nonprofit newsletter. But I won’t be taking on any more large, needy projects. I won’t be sweating three deadlines the same week a snowstorm prohibits the darling children from going to school, the same week a disaster at my other day job requires extra attention. I won’t lie awake at night worrying I got a quote wrong, needling myself for not delving more fully into a certain point. I won’t arrive at interviews with a child in tow. I won’t try to discreetly breastfeed while taking notes. Man, I’m going to miss it.
But this gaping hole in my schedule will leave me with time to write what I want to write: fiction. I do, yes, prefer imaginary landscapes to actual ones. I always have. And so I’m guarding that gaping hole with all the courage I can muster. I came very close to saying no to several volunteer opportunities. I’ve let the house get as dirty as I can stand it. And I’ve started chapter four.
Wish me luck. I know I’m not actually setting out on a long trek across the desert. I’m not risking death or dismemberment. If my novel never finds its ending, no one is going to suffer but me. But to strip away excuses is a scary thing. It leaves you bare for failure.