April 22nd, 2011

Finally...

I am a full-time author!

I have worked as a freelance copyeditor for 10 years, and I have loved this job. But I love writing novels more, and since college I have wanted that to be my full-time job.

I first sold a novel, Major Crush, in 2005. The money was nice but certainly not enough to call an annual salary. So I kept copyediting.

And kept copyediting. And kept copyediting. I knew someday I would stop, and I could write novels full-time rather than trying to cram that half of my career into the tiny space between finishing my copyediting and picking up my son from school each day. But when I would stop was never clear. Maybe when I could not get the door to my office open anymore because of all the piles of money in the way.

In the end, the reason I have stopped is that I have too much to write this summer to copyedit too. If I had not stopped, I would have been forced to turn down a writing job. And there was NO WAY I was willing to do that. Not after six years of struggling through this dual career. Not after fifteen years of rejections before that. No. I may not have "arrived" yet, depending on your definition. But I am wading toward the shore, and it seems ridiculous at this point to turn around and swim back to the boat.

Even so, I am taking a leap of faith here, and if you know anything about me, you have figured out that I am really bad at those. I am hoping that I will not fall into the trap of allowing my reduced workload to expand to fill the available space. I hope I will become more productive, that I will be able to write more of the books in my head, and that those books will find a home.

But it still hasn't sunk in. I woke up at the usual time this morning--4:30 a.m., so I could get all that copyediting done and still have time to write (NOT!)--and got some work done on Free Falling. In the last hour I've addressed a lot of advance copies of Love Story to send to book bloggers. I have never, never, never addressed an advance copy of any novel to a book blogger without thinking in the back of my mind that I had better hurry up so I can get back to copyediting or writing. I have never before had an hour that I consciously dedicated to this activity. I have sneaked the hour. It just doesn't seem quite right to address them, here on my desk out in the open, as if this is part of my job.

*glancing out window, half expecting locusts*

If this writing thing doesn't work out, I can always go back to copyediting. I guess the worst thing that could happen is that my readers lose interest in my writing because my novels lose that lovable panicked quality. But I know this isn't likely. I e-mailed my concerns to my critique partner victoria_dahl and she responded, "Your whining falls over me like my favorite cozy blanket. Mm." I could panic about a lovely springtime day. I could find something. And besides, I have enough writing due this summer for a long, languid season of panic. No worries.