Taking A Gap Year To Write A Book

Dear Internet,

A few weeks ago, I teased there was a big announcement coming, and I am finally in a position to make that announcement:

I’m taking a gap year to write a (fiction) book(s).

Come July 1, 2014, I will officially have the new status of “writer in residence at Throbbing Manor/Cabin.”

Many of you, hell most of the population probably already knows this since I’ve had to tell people privately for a variety of reasons over the last couple of months, but I wanted something official and concrete on paper. I was holding out until I got the official rejection from the job I interviewed for in April1. I was also holding out until I could get in touch with a few close friends so they knew before it became a Facebook status update. I was able to make that last final personal connection on Friday, so here we are!

Here are some of the big questions I’ve been asked: How did I get here, what am I writing, and what is happening with library land?

How did I get here
This is all TheHusband’s idea.

Truly.

He’s known me forever (nearly two decades) and he knows the ultimate goal in my life was to write books. While he’s pretty supportive of my ideas, he also knows me well enough to know I can only handle one big thing at a time; whether that thing is a job, writing, or getting a degree. I’ve conceded long ago I’m not someone who can multitask big projects easily. Before I left my job at UUNet in 2002 to go back to university full time, I had signed up, attended classes, and either dropped or failed out of three colleges. If I wanted my undergrad degree, it had to be THE ONLY thing — I could not work full time and go to class. Once I made it the only thing, then I sailed through it with a breeze (while amping up my GPA from 1.7 to 3.3).

But you know, life happens. It always happens. I had an opportunity to write full time in between degrees, but choose not to because I wanted cash in the pocket,as I was tired of being broke, more than my dream. I had a second opportunity after I graduated from library school and I was on that dreadful job hunt where I applied for 114 jobs over 8 months before landing at GRCC. TheHusband bargained if I could not get a job within 100 applications, I could write full time. I pushed on to 114 as we had just moved to Grand Rapids and boom! Job at GRCC.

“I’ll write part-time,” I said. (Look how well that turned out.)

For the last year, I’ve been in big debate about whether or not to accept the contract when it came up for renewal. Six months ago, I found out they were not renewing my contract and if I wanted to keep my job, I had to reapply just like everyone else on the open market. In January, I knew for sure I was not going to reapply for the position. After making that decision, I started the arduous task of the job hunt version 2.0.

Even during mania, I would get crushed under the soul sucking weight of job hunting and with each opportunity came along, I did not feel elated — I felt like I was being ripped apart. TheHusband and I sat down and ran budget simulations, figures, and possible outcomes across a wide variety of scenarios. Right after I phone interviewed with the California institution, TheHusband came to me and said, “Why not take a year off to write?” His reasoning was it would be much cheaper for us to stay put while I wrote, where we could maintain our current lifestyle (with some heavy regulation), without putting us in massive debt. I lept at the chance. And mentally felt like I lost a massive weight on my soul.

Since we made this decision two days before I was scheduled to fly out for my second interview, we decided if they offered me the job and it was beyond fantastic, I’d take it. Anything else, we would not accept or if I was passed on the position then I would go forth and write.

What am I writing

I’ve got numerous projects already lined up:

  • I’ll be co-editing a non-fiction book on lib/tech/gender issues that is slated to come out next year #fingerscrossed
  • In the fiction realm (which is why I’m taking the time off), I’ve got two books in process (one of them my edwardian series I’ve been keen on for the last three years to finish), and one, possibly two, anthology of short stories based on two different cycles
  • Graphic novel
  • Other projects / ideas
  • Freelance work

TheHusband and I spent some considerable time putting together a business plan (not a typo) on how create, manage, and also make passive income while I’m writing. I still need to work out a schedule, and we’re thinking of getting space at a local a co-working joint. There is a lot of back end work that needs to be done in conjunction while I write.

What is happening with library land

Or more to the point, “What happens if you fail miserably and everyone hates your books?” Easy: I’ll go back into librarianship. TheHusband and I have not defined what it means to be successful yet, but the low bar is any kind of income I can generate from writing. Then who knows.

I’m still very much want to be on the pulse of the profession, so for many of you, it will be like I’ve never left. I’m keeping my memberships and plan to still be active. I’ve got a few projects that I will be working on, but as for the day to day stuff, I won’t be there.

This is already getting far lengthier than I had anticipated, so expect more tidbits and updates on this to continue.

But I just want to say, to those whom I’ve already told and whose support was not even a teeny bit wavering on this new path: THANK YOU! Seriously, I am floored by how supportive people have been. I love you all!

x0x0,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe:


1. I met my competitor at a conference prior to our interviews and we were in simultaneous shock when we discovered we were both being flown out to do the second round. After my interview, I was told it would be 1-2 weeks for the decision. I found out within that period, from my competitor, they had offered him the job, he had already negotiated his salary, and was in the final throes of finalizing details. I had YET to hear from the institution, so I waited. Three weeks after the interview, I emailed my contact a polite follow up request and it was nearly another week before they got back to me. So we’re a month plus past my interview and I’ve already known via the Internet I didn’t get the job for nearly three weeks of that time.

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