Hello my darlings! Today we have Jessica Clare visiting with us on her birthday because I put her to work! 😀 She’s one of my current favorite authors. I love her voice – the contemporary erotic romances, and they’re so fabulous I’m even ok with the whole billionaire trend angle! You should totally read them. But enough with the gushing – heeeerreee’s Jessica!!! (P.S. – some of you might be more familiar with her as Jill Myles).
Happy Birthday to me!
Today marks my 37th birthday. I gotta admit, 36 has been awful kind to me. My grays are there, but blend nicely with the ashy brown of my hair. My family (consisting of myself, husband, two cats, and extended family a few cities away) is in good health and happy. In October, I hit the New York Times bestseller list. In November, I left my day job to become a full time writer. It’s the first time since I was the age of 18 that I haven’t worked a full-time job. My goal was to be a full time author by the time I hit 45 or so. I’m actually running a little early! I’m excited, of course. It’s the dream of every author to do this for a living. To rely on nothing but what’s in your bank account and what’s coming in via publishing…
To say that I’m a little freaked out is a bit of an understatement.
I’m something of a workaholic, you see. Birthdays? No big deal, I’ll just write a few pages between bites of cake. Holidays? Still can squeeze in some work! Weekends? Evenings? Yup, time to write. People sometimes ask what my hobby is. I tell them MORE WORK (though I usually say it like MOAAAAAAR WORK because I am a goober). The thing is, when you’re an author with a full time job…writing IS your hobby. It takes up nights, weekends, birthdays, holidays, vacations, you name it. And it’s a hobby I cheerfully love. Nothing gives me a greater thrill than re-reading something of mine that I adored.
Nerdy author fact: I love to re-read my own books. I mean, heck, I wrote them for me first and foremost!
But after 18 years of working for ‘The Man’ – be it on a retail floor (hated it) or a phone pool (hated it) or in a cube farm (liked the people, hated the job), there’s a certain sense of security with an 8-5 job. You know how your week goes. You know what to expect. You know that on every other Friday, someone’s going to dump a nice fat wad of cash into your bank account.
Now that I’m on my own…I have no such safety net.
I admit. For about a day, I was completely and totally jubilant. WORK AT HOME FOR EVA AND EVA YESSSSSSSSSS probably showed up in more than one email to my besties. And there might have been some insane giggling. And lots and lots of celebrating, both virtual and with family. I was living the dream! I’m a successful author! I’ve given up a well-paying, pleasant, stable (um, stable ENOUGH) job to FOLLOW MY DREAMS.
But on day two, I woke up and thought…OH SHIT. WHAT HAVE I DONE?
I admit. I panicked. I think some of it was the workaholic in me. I’ve heard horror stories of people that went full time only to completely fart around and get no writing done. It’s not the fear of NOT being able to make it. It’s the fear that I might wake up one day and find myself unable to write.
This feeling has totally dogged me all month. It’s weird. I went from “Gosh, I wish I had more time to write” and would crank out 30k words in a week. And now that I have no full time job BUT writing…I struggle. For the first week, I got almost nothing done. At first, I told myself I was taking a few well-deserved days off. Then, I told myself it was a phase. Then, I told myself that it was normal.
And then I pretty much just stopped lying to myself about it entirely. 😀
I’m *not* writing as much as I did in the past. If I don’t want to write that day? I wrap the scene/paragraph I’m working on, and then go fart off and do something else. It’s not that I’ve lost my writing mojo, I’ve come to realize…it’s that now, I don’t have every hour down to a science of “WHAT AM I GOING TO DO TO PROPERLY UTILIZE THIS TIME?” You don’t realize how full your schedule is until you clear it, and find yourself with TONS of time. For example, on my busier weeks, my schedule would go like this:
6 am — Wake up, answer work emails, cook breakfast
7 am — Jump out of shower, slap on makeup, go to work
8 am — 11:59 Work
12 noon — Edit on lunch hour
1 pm – 4:59 pm — Work
5 pm — Drive home, run errands
6 pm — Kiss husband, answer more work email, cook dinner
7 pm — Write
8 pm — Write
9 pm — Exercise
10 pm — Shower again, get ready for bed, read a little
11 pm – Sleep
It was exhausting, and you’ll notice that there are not many things like “Watch TV” or “Hang out with friends” in there. That’s because they weren’t! If I elected to do something different, it meant that something else wasn’t going to happen. If I go out with friends? No exercise, and probably very little writing. If I watch a movie with my husband? Whole evening is shot. Want to read that awesome book I’ve been dying to get my hands on for a year? Skip the writing for a few days and try not to feel guilty about crunching down on deadlines.
You don’t realize how little wiggle room you existed on before until all of a sudden, you have ALL THIS GLORIOUS TIME. And…it’s kinda scary. But magical. Now, I can watch a movie and not feel guilty about it eating up all of my writing time. I can go to lunch with friends, or visit my parents more often and stay a little longer, just because I don’t have to rush home to do something else that I have scheduled in so tightly. If I want to sleep late on a Saturday? I don’t feel like I’m eating away at all of my precious writing time.
In short, it’s kind of wonderful. My stress levels have gone down an incredible amount. I’m happy. My husband gets to spend more time with me and he’s happy. The house isn’t any cleaner (COME ON, I’M A WRITER, NOT A SAINT) but I feel like I can breathe. And I can be creative…and if I’m only creative for about 5k instead of 10k on a Saturday, that’s okay, too.
I’ve got time to make it up!
Here’s hoping 37 will be twice as awesome as 36. 🙂
So everyone remember to wish Jessica a totally amazing, fabulous, happy birthday! <3
Jessica I hope you get to relax a lot – if you’re a Whovian, enjoy the show, have a few drinks, a fabulous dinner, and lots of cake. 😀