At long last, after many, many (many) years, I've finally achieved my dream. Today I handed in my resignation at my day job, and in a month or so's time I'll be a full-time, professional writer.
(The pic is from CampNaNo. I just love this image.)
I can't tell you how good this feels! Oddly, though, in spite of my excitement, handing in my notice at school today was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. Maybe that's because I've worked there for ten years. Also, I'm not leaving because I hate the job, so that makes it harder. My husband teaches there and my son is in his final year of schooling there, and it's given me close ties to the community. I'll be sad to say goodbye to my work colleagues, and it will be odd not going there every day.
And mainly, it was difficult because I have to have confidence in myself that I'll be able to continue to write and earn enough money to keep us comfortable. I had to walk up and down for about half an hour outside the office before I plucked up the courage to tell myself I could do this!
But. And it's a huge BUT! I'm going to be a full-time writer! I've dreamed about this - so my mum said today - since I was seven. I can certainly remember thinking at fifteen that I would like to write for a living. It's taken me thirty years, a few million words, and 55 (!) novels to get here. But it's all the sweeter for that.
I promised myself that when I was earning twice as much from my writing as I was earning at my day job, I'd consider leaving. That's been happening since mid-2015 and, following the success of my Three Wise Men series over Christmas, I've been able to bank a little to give me the confidence to make that jump.
I should add: it doesn't mean that every writer will take thirty years to get to this point! Especially in the digital age. Over the last thirty years I've been to university, had a child, and emigrated, amongst many other things which have taken me away from writing, and that's fine - I feel as if I have experience now, and something to write about!
But I dillied (and dallied) for years submitting to agents and publishers before finally taking the digital-first route and then the indie route, and I'm so happy with the place I've arrived at. I love indie publishing, and although I'll never say never if a publisher were to offer me a super deal, I'm very, very happy indie publishing, and writing stories for readers who seem to enjoy them and who keep asking for more.
So there you go. It's really taken me five years to get to this point, since I started digital-first publishing (with Samhain.) If I can do it, anyone can do it. There's no magic button - all you need is persistence, determination, and grit.
And chocolate. Don't forget chocolate.