Tuesday, 4 August 2015

A Year Later, I'm Still Standing (Mostly)

Life isn't an adventure. It's an experiment. A glorious experiment, with more variables than can be controlled, too little time to try even a pinch of the possibilities, and so many deviations that we don't even have a good comparative baseline. The only certainty is the final outcome. So don't just spice your life. Throw some freaking explosive chemicals into the mix and see what happens.*

A year ago, I left my gainful full-time employment for a slew of reasons. But mainly I wanted to try full-time creation as my main breadwinner.  It was a tough decision, and one that I've only regretted a few times (the only way you don't give up a full-time salary and not regret it is if you're independently wealthy, I've learned).

But, overall, it's been worthwhile.  I honestly believe that we can make art a viable career option. I'm currently experimenting to see if I can personally make it work. I haven't chatted much about this decision on my blog. For me, writing is a very personal process, and this entire journey has often left me feeling unbalanced, teetering from terror to elation. It's dizzying.

Now that I 'm starting to get a (temporary) handle on things, I'd love to share some more thoughts and experiences on being a full-time artist. Thoughts and musings about how we promote art, how we view it, how we try and action it. About writing and publishing. About creating more, and better, and taking chances. About storytelling, and selling art for a living. About the line that currently exists between art and business, to the detriment of both.

My personal situation is this: I co-own a house with one of my best friends, aka Roomy. I have fluffy cats that I'm financially responsible for, and no children. I own a not-quite-paid-off car. I had some savings, of course, and have now blown through them. I'm single, meaning I can't say "I'm a full-time artist" while my husband pays for my way. If I don't make the money, I don't make my mortgage. If I don't make my mortgage, well, Roomy has a shovel and she keeps saying we need to rework the backyard. I imagine colourful quivering plants would bloom from my caffeinated body. I also have a fairly high tolerance for unstable situations.**

So, when I say that I'm trying to make a go at this, I mean it. My only back up plan is to land back into full-time work. And that, to my mind, is the end of this experiment.

On the creative side over the past year, I've:

  • Performed 43 paid storytelling shows
  • Written 2 books (one for a traditional publisher, the other independently published)
  • Signed book contracts for 11 more books (up to 2023)
  • Became a regular blogger at Black Gate Magazine
  • Started as a co-host of Planet X Podcast

Is this whole thing insane?  Yes. Yes it is.  Is it fun?  At times. Not always. Am *I* having fun? Yes. Not every hour of every day, but I find the pain of potential failure exhilarating in its own right. I've never been busier. Never had so many 'close calls,' and never enjoyed so many successes.

I'll aim to blog about the journey once a week, but we'll see how it goes.  Mondays will be the magical day. I'll try to remember to label everything under Creative Life and Writing Life.

In the meantime, it's true what they say.  Authors do better with reviews and purchases. Think about it - your purchase could fund the coffee that keeps me writing! (Wow!) If you'd like to cheer me on, please pick up Nigh (the first is still free because I heart it and I heart you and if you like it you'll be hooked and will keep reading. BWA HA HA!), or leave a review, somewhere, on one of my books.

Stay tuned!  There is a lot to talk about. This year has been insane. In a good way. In a terrifying way. In a fun way.

But, mostly, it's just been insane. 

*As always, the author of this blog isn't responsible for anyone choosing to follow her advice. Known results include the loss of eyebrows, limbs, stability and/or boredom. 

** Please don't decide to quit your full-time job because I did.  I'll talk about my decision and preparations some more. Don't just leap into the abyss because I point to it. Its walls are rather slimy. And there are spiders.