I’m a free agent again. In other words, I’ve been laid off my part-time newspaper job. The weirdest thing? I received an unemployment debit card from the state last week. I laughed and twittered: “Do they know something I don’t?” I guess they did. The hardest thing? Walking away from a terrific group of people I’ve come to really enjoy and count on for emotional and intellectual interaction. Read more →
If I were a widget maker who went to work in a factory at the same time every day, I would leave work at the same time and the collect the same paycheck. There would be no uncertainty.
Instead I’m a novelist and freelance editor. No two days are alike, and uncertainty is a way of life. Will this novel I’m writing sell to a publisher? After spending 25 hours on this manuscript, will the writer actually send me a check? Will I have enough freelance work this month to pay my mortgage?
A little background: I’m a Type A personality and a bit of a control freak. I never leave on a road trip without a map and a hotel reservation. I am not cut out for uncertainty.
And yet, the life of a widget maker would drive me insane. Conversely, I love this life as a novelist and freelancer. So I must learn to live with uncertainty. Some days are easier than others. Yesterday got the best of me. Financially, this is the worst year my husband and I have ever had, and things will get worse before they get better. But in some ways, we are happier than ever.
Financial insecurity is not the worst of it though. The question of whether my recently completed novel will sell sometimes hinders my ability to move forward as a novelist. I have a new story outlined and two chapters written, yet a little part of my brain says, “Why bother?”
I always manage to push past this point. (Although, it once took a few years.) And I will again. I write because I am a storyteller. And the life of a storyteller is always filled with uncertainty.