I Quit My Day Job to Become a Writer

IMG_3944I have decided to quit my job to focus on building my career as a writer.  That sentence comes with one part, “WOO-HOO,” two parts, “WHO DO I THINK I AM?” with a hearty dash of “WHAT AM I THINKING?!”

This decision has been very difficult and is not one I take lightly. I don’t know how long this jaunt will last or if anything will come of it. I don’t know if I will regret my choice or wish I had done it years ago. All I know is that I’m tired of dipping a toe into “my writing thing.’’ The time has come to give it a go for real.

I imagine my friends and family might have some questions about this new direction of my life. So here are some FAQs, many of which I have asked myself.

Hang on; didn’t you just start a new job?

Yes, and it showed me that I am burned out on event planning. I’ve been organizing events for ten years now, and I’m ready for a break. The number of tasks that have to be managed, planned, and predicted for an event can be overwhelming, especially when you have several on the go. The relief that comes after an event ends is great, but there’s usually another one just around the corner. I always felt like my work was never finished.

Also, there maaay have been some tears in the staff bathroom, sobs at Blue Coast Burrito on my lunch hour, and flat-out bawling on my drive home when the radio played “Where the Streets Have No Name.” I wanted to run, I wanted to hide. I wanted to tear down the walls that held me inside. Let’s just say my new job was not a good fit.

how-to-quit-your-jobWhat are you going to write?

When I went to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, there was a lot of talk about “the book of your heart.” Don’t worry about industry trends, they said; forget the flavor of the month and ignore the critics. Write the novel you want to read. So that’s what I’m going to do. I have been writing a paranormal romance novel in my head for years about a woman who falls in love with a demon, and I didn’t start putting it on paper until this year. My goal is to finish it and then try to sell to a publisher in 2018.


My leading man. Just kidding! Or am I??

Can’t you just do your writing on the evenings and weekends like most writers?

Yes, I could, and I have, but for right now, I feel like I need to focus all my energy in one place. It’s hard to work a stressful job and then come home to do more work, especially of a creative nature.

Weren’t you talking about getting a MFA in creative writing a while back?

I was, but I am not currently. Honestly, I think I was more interested in having a “real” reason to quit my job to write than the MFA itself. I’ll be doing sort of a DIY MFA during these next few months with lots of craft reading, short classes, and writing exercises. It may not be as impactful as a formal program but will save me $40,000.

What do your parents think?

I knew my mom would be supportive, but I was worried about my dad. He’s very loyal to the company he’s worked with for over 20 years and is not a fan of job-hopping.  I worried he would think I should just tough it out at a job I didn’t like or start looking for another. Anything but quit with no backup. But when I told him my plan, he just shrugged and said, “do it!” which was a huge relief. He has always been a fan of my writing and never hesitates to tell me so. Thanks, Dad.


What does Grant think?

Can someone please tell him to stop googling how much money bestselling authors make? He’s nervous but supportive. I have always been grateful that we are consistently on the same page with our attitudes toward money. We are frugal but know the value of treat yo’self. We have our little materialistic vices (Grant: sound guy gadgets and mountain bike gear, Me: clothes and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab perfumes), but we don’t go overboard. We are good savers. And if things get rough on only one income, that savings will pay off. And if things get even worse, I can always start working again.

Also, Grant is the greatest man in the history of the world and the finest husband a woman could ask for.

(He made me write that.)


What do Jasper and Rufus think?

They are 100% on board! They are rock n’ roll cats that reject the 9-5 grind and rules set by The Man. However, I haven’t told them that I might need to lock them out of my office if they are being annoying.


Jasper: great cuddler, terrible critique partner

So your ultimate goal is to write a book. Then what?

My ultimate goal is to be a full-time writer. I have been doing a lot of thinking about how I want to live my life and spend my days. I don’t want to have a boss, and I don’t want to only have 10 days of vacation a year. I know there will be deadlines, queries, rejection, and hustling for work, but I want to live my life on my own terms instead of someone else’s. Right now, I’m focusing on the romance industry because I love its feminist spunkiness, but I could move into travel writing, business writing, and creative non-fiction.

I’m on board with the whole “following your dreams” business, but what about health insurance?

We will be eligible for COBRA coverage until the end of the year, and then we will go on an ACA plan in 2018.

I am fully supportive of your plan! What can I do to help?

Thank you so much! There are several things you can do!

Be my work-from-home buddy! I am nervous about the chemical reaction that will occur when my love for lying around in my PJs collides with not having a schedule or boss. It would be great to have some writers/folks who work remotely to meet up with in a coffee shop regularly to work alongside.

Please don’t ask me when my novel will be finished. I have no idea! I have written about 30%, but there are many plot points I have yet to sort out. I have goals for my first draft, but then there’s a lot of editing, second drafts, beta reader feedback, content and copy edits, etc., that will need to be done before I can say it’s complete. It’s OK to ask me how it’s going, though.

If you are a reader of paranormal romance, be my beta reader! As I get to my book’s final stages, most authors have a handful of beta readers who volunteer to read the draft and offer feedback on what works, what’s confusing, and where there are plot holes. I would prefer that these readers be legit romance fans familiar with authors such as Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Molly Harper, P.C. Cast, and Charlaine Harris.beta-reader

Shouldn’t you be working on your novel right now instead of this blog post?

Aw, shut up. You know your beeswax, so why don’t you mind it?

7 thoughts on “I Quit My Day Job to Become a Writer

  1. Jim Holifield says:

    Sara, you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to. I am and always will be supportive in every way and salute your courage to quit a job you are not a good fit for. Look, two sentences ending in prepositions! My bad.
    You have many, many people in your corner. Please FaceTime me and your mom whenever you need, and lean on that outstanding husband you have. You GO, girl!
    Your very proud father.

  2. Jackie says:

    I remembering reading two essays that you wrote, “Queen of the Ducks” and the one you wrote about Maude your car. So much talent and now the courage to take it to the next level. Do what makes you happy and follow your passion! I want to be first in line after your mom, at the book signing!

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