Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I guess I'm officially a full-time writer

Since the 1990s, I've been sharing my writing career with other aspects of my life: working full-time, raising two children, freelance editing, co-owning a publishing company, managing a vampire blog, laundry (the latter of which wasn't usually a high priority until I reached the point of desperation). Writing time has always been something I've squeezed in between everything else. I couldn't even fathom having endless stretches of writing hours lying in wait before me.

Until today.

My youngest child just started going to school for six and a half hours each day. He was in half-day kindergarten, so I had been juggling my writing time, Suburban Vampire, and everything else within three quick hours of the morning. However, our school district allowed my son to advance a grade, and as of Monday, he started full-time school. (I'm not going to even go into the pros and cons of skipping a child; I'll just say we did thorough research for years and this decision is right for this particular kid).

Anyway, I joined him at school during parts of the day on Monday and Tuesday, but today I'm home, working. I've got plenty of Suburban Vampire work waiting for me, but I told myself today would be devoted to Blackbirds. I met my daily work goal before lunch even hit. And then I sat down for a lonely lunch...missing the kid I'd been juggling between writing for the past six-plus years.

My oldest child is now eleven, and I played the balancing act with her, too. But the absence of this littlest one marks the end of an era. The downside is that most of my lunches will be much more solitary. The plus side--if I can keep earning money by writing for Suburban Vampire and eventually sell a novel, I guess I can call myself a full-time writer.

It's a lonely profession, and I do plan to head back out to coffee shops now and then just to have some white noise surrounding me once in a while. But what a bittersweet day this is for me. I'm guessing I'll finish my agent-requested revisions in the next two weeks--something I wouldn't be able to do without this full-time schedule.

I'll miss my kids, but, like them, I'm probably ready to take flight and skip ahead to the next stage. Once summer vacation hits and lunchtime is bustling with activity again, remind me to revisit this post and remember how I once became wistful about my empty house.


Denise K. Rago said...


Thank you for sharing such a poignant moment.


Cat Winters said...

Thanks, Denise. My husband was surprised to hear I was suffering from a little empty nest syndrome. I think he thought I'd be wildly celebrating. ;-)

Ara Burklund said...

Congratulations, Cathy! Quite a milestone. I know it's bittersweet in a way, but try to enjoy the quiet while you have it. There will always be sick days on occasion!

Cat Winters said...

Not to mention the budget-cut days, inservice days, etc. Sometimes I feel like a full week of school is a rarity.