I must start by saying 2008 was the best year I’ve ever had! I wrote and sold a novel in the space of ten months. I garnered great reviews for my published novel. I established a significant online presence and attended a major mystery convention where I met and networked with others in the industry. Just to name some highlights. Some people would look back and say it was also the worst year we’ve ever had, with both of us unexpectedly laid off in March and our 401Ks devastated.
So at the beginning of 2009, I’m struggling with a weighty decision. I just found out that the health insurance I was counting on through my husband’s new job will cost $575 a month—and who the hell can afford that? So I have to rethink my strategy going forward. Is having health insurance important enough to make me change directions and get an outside job?
The thought breaks my heart. The best thing about 2008 was that I was able to focus on my novels—to put writing at the top of my to-do list for the first time in my life. Even the freelance work I did moved me closer to my goal of working exclusively in the fiction writing/editing industry. I believe a job, even a part-time one, will move me away from that goal. And looking for a job will be a major time suck.
So I’m vacillating. My mother wants me to get a job with insurance and security. My sons say to follow my dream—that I’m healthy and I’ll be fine. My husband is smart enough to stay out of it, accept as a good sounding board.
My thinking (at this moment) is to give myself more time and keep the momentum going. To finish the novel I’m writing (March is my goal), put it on the market, then reassess the situation at that point. I also plan to look into joining writers’ associations that offer insurance. (Does anyone have any experience with these policies and their cost?)
Meanwhile, here are my writing goals for 2009:
- Write 1500 words a day, 5 days a week until my new novel is completed.
- Outline the next (fourth!) Jackson novel between now and March.
- Sign a publishing contract for this novel (the third in the Jackson series).
- Sign a contract for my standalone thriller, The Baby Thief.
- Write the fourth Jackson story before the end of the year.
- Attend Bouchercon and possibly ThrillerFest (if my credit card mileage points allow).
- Blog twice a week, write/develop a speaker’s presentation, and write three magazine articles (among other things).
Now that I’ve put that all down in writing, I realize that achieving those goals depends on having the freedom to write first, edit/clean later.
What are your goals? Any opinions on my dilemma?