by Rogenna Brewer
Maybe you'll recall a post I wrote in June entitled FutureMe (read it here, or not). FutureMe.org is a site where you can send emails to your future self. Often into the far future where you're likely to forget about them.
I sent an email to myself six months ago, about quitting my day job.
Would you like to know how it turned out?
Other than I quit, nothing went quite as planned. I feel like I should add a disclaimer here: AUTHORS DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME.
As authors we hear, "Don't quit your day job," so often it's become cliché. Then there's the new movement, "Yes, you can quit your day job," brought on by the success of self-publishing. I'd been toying with the idea of quitting for some time. I wanted to write more than one book a year and explore the possibilities of self-publishing. I started taking workshops and online classes. Two books I found helpful were Quitter by Jon Acuff and The Freelancer's Survival Guide by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.
At the end of an online course given by Super author and freelancer Kara Lennox, I wrote out a plan and emailed that plan to my future self along with permission to give notice at my day job. Meanwhile, I highlighted November 24th and set a count down in motion. At some point I adjusted for the holiday season and determined I'd give three weeks notice on November 30th with an end date of December 21st.
At the time I didn't realize 12.21.12 was the end of the world or I would have written a much funnier resignation letter. I wrote it well in advance during one particularly low moment. Financially, everything was on track. Paid down debt, then paid it off and built up savings.
I put extra hours into writing. I made my first book cover and commissioned two more from our own Kimberly Van Meter. My intention was to get a couple short stories up and some money flowing in before I left my job. I started with an historical I'd written (way back when). All it needed was a quick revision and I could send it out to my beta readers.
Except the erotic fairy tales were much more fun. But were they erotic enough? I'd intended to write them as short serials. But the stories had taken on a life of their own. I didn't have time for longer books, but now I had two beautiful covers for a pseudonym I liked better than my own name.
It's so perfect I wonder why I didn't come up with it sooner.
Did your mother call you by your first and middle name when she was really mad? Mine did. Growing up no one ever called me Rogenna. I was Gina (spelled Gena or Genna) to family and friends. My middle name is Wynne. Gia Wyn sounds more natural to me than my married name Brewer. And I didn't even get in trouble all that often :)
And then there was my next Super proposal to worry about.
My resolve was tested ten weeks before handing in my resignation. How can I put this delicately... I don't expect to be repaid. The only money I have left is a six month safety net in the form of my 401K. Not a single thing self published, no contract on the horizon, and I'm not even writing at this point. I feel so defeated. But I strengthen my resolve and put my adult children on notice that I'm cutting the purse strings. Should have done it a long time ago.
Meanwhile, a dear friend and co-worker--also, a writer--tells me she's moving out-of-state at the end of the year and needs to give notice. Now I really have to think long and hard. Am I committed? Our boss will be losing us both at a critical time. I need to tell him now or never.
In the end I wind up giving seven weeks notice. It's the longest seven weeks of my life. I do more stressing than writing, but manage to finish a Super proposal. At least I can check that off my list.
The truth is I'd made up my mind six months ago and nothing was going to hold me back. I gave myself Christmas week off, but hit the ground running after that and I've never been happier.
If you'd like to see how this all plays out over the course of the year, and if I ever self publish those books and sign my next Super contract, please visit my blog.