The first few hours of learning I would no long have a day job, (evil or otherwise), were rough. I had long term plans, including transferring out of state within the network next year. To go on a mini-vacation with not a care in the world on day and come back to know it was all gone five days later, well there are no words and too many of you don’t need words because you’ve lived some variation of it. Knowing the hardship others are experiencing is what makes me feel guilty.
After the first few hours I thought about all my works-in-progress and the sense of loss slowly transformed to a sense of excitement. The current average I’ve been quoted is three months to find a new job in the non-profit sector, for a town this size maybe six. Things will be tight, but doable and that means three to six months of writing full time while I search.
I was among the countless writers that lamented the writing hours lost to the Evil Day Job, (which by default is any job, not matter how rewarding, that is not writing full time). “Oh, if only I could spend the ten hours of work and travel-time writing I could get each WIP done and truly devote myself to my writing.” It’s a phrase I’ve heard and said some variation of numerous times. When we said it I’m sure we were all dreaming of lotto numbers and big advances that let us retire to write, but what we got was a struggling economy and the consequences of living in such. But time is time.
I spent a day writing up a new budget and figuring out ways to tighten our belt. I’ve spent weeks organizing open call deadlines, prioritizing WsIP, (or is WIP its own plural?), and clearing out my writing space. As January became February I was beside myself waiting for the end of the month. By February 23rd I was all but bouncing up and down as the days ticked by. Everyone around me grumbled, railed, ranted or wailed about the coming end while it took everything in me not to clap and holler the final week.
I wouldn’t have chosen this path to much needed writing time, but it’s the one laid out before me and so I’m going to walk it with a smile and enjoyment. We all have to make the most of the time we have while we have it. Goodness knows we need the money I was bringing in, but being depressed and angsty won’t put me back in the workforce a single day sooner. On the other hand, accepting this as exactly what I asked for—a chance to write full time—will get me well ahead on my project list and get more submissions out there for consideration where they belong.
If you’re a writer, every bit of time you get that you complain about is time you could be writing. Waiting in line, at the doctor’s office, during gridlock, picking kids up from practice, waiting to be called for jury duty, and even sudden “redistribution of personnel resources” are all chances to finish what you started or start what you’ve been talking about.
If you’re a reader I don’t have to tell you how to make the most of those times. What I will tell you is that every opportunity to pursue what you love is the right opportunity, even if it’s a stunning one you would have never chosen.
For those of you like me, I wish you the best, and I hope this change is one that reveals a chance for all you’ve ever dreamed about. For those of you still caught in the EDJ, congrats on the steady income, and good luck on taking advantage of every nook and cranny to pursue the dreams we often lose to the daily grind.
To everyone who’s ever wanted anything but thought there wasn’t time, there is. Good Hunting.