Like pretty much every aspiring writer, my dream has always been to be able to make a living from my words. When I was a teenager, I dreamed of being the next Jackie Collins or Danielle Steel, pulling up to my gorgeous seaside mansion in my bright red Ferrari. As I grew older, my thoughts were more along the lines of “I’d like to be able to pay the bills without having to have a Real Life Job.”
I’ve been with my current employer for nearly fourteen years. In other places I lurk on the internet, I have nicknamed the company Ginormocorp. It is indeed ginormous, so much so that if I named the color for which it is known, chances are you’d immediately guess what it was. My job is fairly easy–in fact, I think I’m grossly overpaid for what I do–and I get decent benefits. The corporate bullshit, however, is monumental. “Office Space” and “Dilbert” may be thought of as comedy, but rest assured anyone in a corporate environment sees them as documentaries.
This past spring, coming out of a buzzword-laden logic-lacking departmental meeting in which I had rolled my eyes so much I could feel the strain on my optic nerves, I said to myself, “Self, I gotta get out of here.” I knew about self-publishing and I had lots of material, so I started setting things up. I got a EIN, made up Facebook and Twitter pages and this blog (though I didn’t write anything on them) and started editing what would become Merely Players. If I worked hard enough, I thought, maybe I could get out in two or three years.
But Ginormocorp threw me a wicked curve ball–in August, about two weeks after I’d submitted Merely Players to Kindle Scout, it announced that my department was going to be “migrated.” In corporate terms, that translates into, with apologies to *NSYNC, “bye bye bye BYE BYE!” While my coworkers cried and panicked, I started doing math in my head. I won’t bore you with the details, but after the meeting with HR and a long talk with my husband, I realized that my dream of writing full-time could actually come true in 2017 without financial hardship for us.
I still have time. It looks like my job won’t end until the end of May at the earliest (so that my sweet, sweet severance package continues to increase), but I need to lay the groundwork. Freelancing, other genres, different pen names, taxes, costs … it’s daunting to say the least. Oh–and we’re moving as well, since my husband’s decided to retire. I realize my good fortune, but I don’t want to squander it either.
Why, yes, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is running though my head, why did you ask?