What a Way to Make a Living

I’m pretty sure Rebecca O’Connor and I would be great friends if we knew each other.  The sentence quoted below is enough to make me think so (she’s a tequila advocate, people!–go Rebecca) but the sentiments she expresses in her post makes me positive it’s true.

I read this post right after my morning walk with my dog, Sophie where I was conversing with myself about my future.  It’s been almost a year since I decided to go part time at work so that I could concentrate on my writing.  The part time work has dwindled down to next to nothing, and some weeks is nothing.  Freelance writing is not going to support me in the foreseeable future. Without a college degree or technical knowledge which would make me an expert in some field, it could be years before that would be possible. If ever.  There are a lot of people out there vying for writing jobs who are willing to do it for next to nothing.  “Next to nothing” does not pay the electric bill.

As for the income potential of my novel Painted Black, unless I’m lucky–and I’ve never been very lucky–a first novel is more about establishing the foundation of a career rather than earning a living.  I don’t expect to see any measurable income made from the book this year.  Maybe not ever.  The income potential lies in getting book two out.  And three, and….  If I’m a very good girl and live long enough, I may actually see royalty checks one day.

So why am I still doing it?  Because I’m mad at myself for not doing it earlier in my life when I had more time to build a reputation.  Because I love not having a full time job to go to.  Because I love my characters and the message I’m trying to convey. Because this is what I want to do with my life, damn it, and I’m tired of being too timid to go for it.

And if that means I may find myself forfeiting my mortgage or selling most of my worldly possessions, then all I have to say is, “Hi, Mom.  Is the guest room ready yet?”

So now you are thinking, “Okay, Little Miss Glass-Is-Pretty-Much-Empty-So-Bring-Me-Some-Tequila. So what do you say to someone insane enough to walk away from her day job to write for a living?”

via A Letter to My Friends and Family | Rebecca K. O’Connor.

Drama Queen

Drama Queen is an essay I wrote while I was a volunteer with the Night Ministry.  It was one of the first times I found my heart so touched by one of the youth I worked with, that I felt like I cared as much for him as I do my own family.

The essay was accepted by Ascent Aspirations magazines and is now available to read on their website.  The full essay can be read by clicking on the link below.  I hope you enjoy it.  It still makes me tear up when I read it.

Drama Queen, that’s what they call him. Don’t encourage him. When he tells you his girlfriend died in his arms, don’t sympathize. When he tells you he was the right hand man of the Kings’ LA gang leader, or that he murdered thirteen people, don’t look shocked. He’s bi-polar, he’s twenty-one, he’s homeless and delusional. Change the subject, turn a deaf ear, keep him grounded.

Don’t see him as the ragged, head-shorn punk with black trench coat and dark glasses, or with white puckered lines of scars where he used to cut himself. See him the way he was that day you first met him, at the gate of Six Flags Great America, being asked to turn in the dog chain that hung from his belt loop. See him as part of the group of homeless youth being taken for an outing by a shelter from Chicago’s north side. He was skinny, really, even if he did strut around like he was hot stuff and brag about how he used to deal drugs and slept with about a hundred girls. He blew the little bit of money they gave him trying to win cheap, pathetic prizes and didn’t even seem to realize how lousy he played. He didn’t have a chance. He was a loser.

I remember the thought that went through my mind when he talked about how many stuffed animals he won for this girl he knew back on the east coast. I just smiled, sure I saw right through him. Just another bullshitter trying to convince us his life doesn’t suck.

via Drama Queen by Debra R. Borys.