Last July, I started selling a lot of books. Last December, I started making a lot of money. Not just enough money from the self-publishing that I could afford to quit my day job, but enough that it was costing me money to keep going to work every day.
Still, I kept going to work. There were lots of good reasons (not the least of them fear), but the biggest was this: After three years of working on one major project for the Federal Aviation Administration, I was almost done.
The documentation team for the long-range radar branch of the FAA is a pretty modest group. We had a brand-new manager and two editors with no formal documentation training, plus me. And we were just wrapping up a major overhaul of the vast majority of our radars.
So I sat down at the end of December, decided I could afford to quit tomorrow, and decided to stay on until the end of February, mainly so I could finish up that documentation project and leave the team in a survivable situation.
At 3:45 last Friday afternoon, I finished the project I’d been working on for three years. I sent an email to a handful of my coworkers with some contact info in case they wanted to stay in touch (or buy my future novels), then I dropped off my badge and parking decal and left forever.
(Father in Heaven, I hope it was forever.)
Anyway, Monday morning saw me self-employed. I’ll actually be working as a full-time employee (CEO and head publisher) for my non-profit, The Consortium, Inc., but that doesn’t start until April. In the meantime, I’m nothing but a writer.
I’ve had an awful lot of people asking me how it feels to be free. Some things worth taking into account before I answer that question:
- It’s only been a week.
- During that week, I’ve gotten hit with a couple huge unexpected expenses, and watched sales on all my books decline frighteningly.
- I’ve had a cold. Monday someone asked, “How’s your first day being self-employed?” and I answered, “I should’ve called in sick.”
- I’m frantically trying to catch up on an overloaded school schedule that I’d been severely neglecting for the last six weeks while I finished up at work.
And even with all of that, I’m loving it. Even with all of that, this week has been among the most productive in my entire adult life, and every bit of it has been worthwhile work that matters to me personally.
- I published Camouflage (Ghost Targets, #4) this week.
- I coordinated on cover art for a couple other books I hope to get published in March.
- I dusted off an old short story that I hope to get rewritten and published in the next few weeks.
- I read back through The Dragonprince’s Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #3) and wrote several thousand new words on that one, for the first time since last fall.
- I wrote several thousand words on Faith (Ghost Targets, #5).
That doesn’t cover any of the business-y stuff I took care of, and best of all, I did almost all of it during business hours. Sure, I spent my evenings laying around being worthless because of the cold, but I also watched TV with Trish and read a couple good books and tried out some lame videogames.
It’s been a really great week. And this is just the beginning. Trish started shopping for office space this week. I can only imagine what I’ll be able to get up to once I’ve got a dedicated space and a reasonable routine.
Everything is wonderful. Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.