Taking The Leap Into Full-time Writing

Today marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

After today, for the first time in 13 years, I’ll no longer work in elementary education. After today, I’ll be a full-time writer.

This change didn’t come from an idea that all the stars will align if I focus on my art. It wasn’t a Zen decision that occurred during a moment of transcendence.

It did come from a moment, however.

It happened a couple of weeks ago. I’d finished my hours at work and picked up the kids from school, and as usual, I was working on writing stuff. This has been my normal for at least the last year, but the writing busy-ness has increased in recent months. Blog posts. Critiques. Editing projects. Prepping a book for publication. And of course, actual writing.

“Mommy, can we read together?”

Those are all important tasks as I build a writing career and online presence. Worth the time. In fact, it had already become a full-time job.

I continue typing away. “Sure, honey. In a minute. I’m trying to finish something.”

I also worked my part-time education job. Combined, I worked ten- to twelve-hour days, every day.

He holds up the book he’s chosen. “I want to read this to you.”

“I said in a minute, okay? Can I please finish this?”

He trudges away.

It certainly wasn’t my finest moment, but it made me realize something: I can’t be a good teacher, good writer, and a good wife and mom at the same time. Something’s gotta give.

And for too long, that something was my family. I haven’t been as involved with my own kids’ schooling as I want to be. The house is turning into a Febreze commercial. And more often than not, dinners are thrown together at the last minute from whatever falls out of the freezer.

But most importantly, I’ve been missing time with my kids while they are young. I know I’ll blink and they’ll be men. I can’t get this time back.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to make a different choice. My published book has done well. Well enough for me to make writing my only career.

So I talked to my boss. I told her I knew the chances of finding someone to replace me this time of year were slim and I would stay for however long it took to do so. Turns out, a teacher with a Master’s degree talked to her two days earlier, looking for a job like mine.

Funny how things work out.

scariest moment

So here we are exactly one week later. I’m taking off the teacher hat and putting on the writer one. Yes, it’s scary to think the only way I’m supporting my family financially is through creating fictional worlds and hoping people think they are interesting enough to buy. But one thing I’ve learned over time is the majority of our choices don’t have to be permanent. For now, I get to be a writer.

Writing is my passion. It doesn’t feel like work when I’m doing it. And after all the years of talking to students about working hard so they can someday do something they love, I find myself in the position to do exactly that. I sure won’t take it for granted.

23 thoughts on “Taking The Leap Into Full-time Writing

  1. Hey there ….. A blast from the past very cool that you’re going to write full time . Funny I was just talking about you😀 how you could always accomplish so much I was always impressed by you. And continue to be . I m sure this new chapter will be wonderful and productive on many levels . CONGRATS on your success you deserve it, you worked hard for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Day to You Allison,

    Like you, retiring was a difficult decision.

    My wife became ill, we spent last Thanksgiving dinner at the hospital.

    My wife’s brother is disabled and lives with us.

    By this time next year, I would be totally out of sick leave/vacation time, having to go “off the books” for doctor appointments.

    The nagging question for me while my eligibility for retirement grew closer:

    I can’t afford to retire now, if I keep working will I ever be able to afford to retire?

    I chose retirement.

    Now I can better take care of my family, by “being there”, while attempting to follow “my own path”.

    The first two weeks have been a time of adjustment learning how best to organize my time, trying to “help” without “interfering”, and finding a balance to work on my retirement project.

    How wonderful, your book has been selling!

    Definitely treasure the moments with your children.
    They will be happier adults because of it.

    Good luck making your own adjustments!

    My Best to You
    Arth

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m smiling for you and applaud you from within … I would with my hands too if not so damn busy knocking words out for NaNoWriMo. A big step yes … the right step … my gut feel … for sure for you. I am really pleased for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I know exactly what you mean about the importance of family time, and feeling like you don’t have enough while juggling a “real” job with writing and an active home life. I’ve been dealing with the same thing, especially since a promotion at work added more hours to my already packed schedule. So, I’ve had to take a break from all blogging, critiques, and everything else until this draft of my book is finished. Actually, I stumbled across your post by accident as I was scrolling my reader for my son’s classroom blog post.
    I’m glad I did, because you are right where I want to be one day. Congratulations on this HUGE accomplishment! It’s very inspiring.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. That’s really great Allison! Well done for ‘taking the leap’!

    I know exactly what you mean about getting to the point where you realise something’s gotta give. I gave a talk on creativity a while back, and one of the things I spoke about was making sacrifices/throwing yourself into your passions while at the same time acknowledging that there’s definitely a limit to that.

    Good luck though Allison, I think it’s a great step to take and that you’ll do great!

    Liked by 2 people

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