Two years ago, my life was very different. I was working full time at a video game company, had a novel and a few short stories collecting rejections, and in general was enjoying the advantages of an upper middle class life.
Then I wasn’t.
I’ve always been the guy that was kept around during layoffs, mainly because of the accretive nature of my work ethic. I kept picking up other people’s job functions the longer I was employed, which was good for moneymaking but horrible for my brain.
But when my company (and yes, even after two years, it’s still MY company, I did a little freelance work for them this year), eliminated my position it was the best business move they could have made, and I supported it completely. I’d already seen my staff shrink from 12 people to 0, and the projects I was working on were long-term ones that didn’t add much to the bottom line. It was a healthy amputation, and it signaled a sea change for me.
When a similar thing happened to me in 2008, I wrote 120,000 words the next month, not counting resumes and cover letters. A book which I’d been working on forever became a series, and I dove head first into the community of writers I’d only been wading through before. After the 2012 layoff I wasn’t so inspired, but at the turn of the year something changed.
I took a contract gig with a company I user to work for, and a 10 week engagement turned into 5 months. We turned the lights off as I walked out the door, but not before my first published work in over a decade hit the digital stands.
Faced with more time on my hands, I redoubled my efforts to get Seasons of Truth published, as well as completing the first and second drafts of a science fiction novel which I hope to revisit soon. I picked up a contract for another novella based on a pitch from earlier in the year, which I finished right about the time I sold the concept for Homefront.
All told, I wrote part or all of 6 books in the last 2 years, and I hope to write at least six more going forward.
But it’s been a rocky-ish road. I’m typing these words in our new apartment, a ground floor unit in a small complex of condos. It’s substantially smaller than our stand-alone house of the last four years, and while this room is about the same size as my old home office, I now share the workspace with L. We’ve yet to unpack our books (or even move them in), and there’s some concern as to how many or even what volumes to shelve. My clothes are in suitcases and plastic tubs, and I’m down to my last bottle of writer fuel. I still don’t have a permanent position, but as always there are prospects and deals in the making.
Plus, the words are there, waiting to come out. Yesterday I finished what will hopefully be the last changes on Homefront, and I’ve got more stories ready to go in that universe. There’s a lot more written in The Hunters Chronicle, and I might even dip back into the Foreworld soon. All told, I’m feeling pretty good creatively, though some positive reinforcement (aka, online reviews) would be almost as welcome as book sales.
So if you get a chance, stop by and say hello. Mind the mess, were’re a bit out of sorts these days. But friends are always welcome.
And if you can, bring some writer fuel. That stuff’s expensive.