Writing Full-Time, A Year In Review

I came home to write full-time one year ago today.

I still can't really believe I'm doing what I dreamed of since I was a teenager, it's a little too surreal even after a year of doing it.

I decided to sit down and write this after my wife reminded me of the anniversary that is today (glad she was reminding me of this anniversary and not OUR anniversary) and I thought I would stop and look back at what this year has meant to me, what I've accomplished, and what I hope to do in the future. So here we go.

For six years I worked as a personal trainer at a local, 24-hour gym and for five of them, managed it.

I loved it.

I helped people reach their fitness goals, gained friendships with my two bosses that will last a lifetime, and provided for my family.

I was also away from home for 12 to 14 hours every day of the work week. I would look in on my sleeping children in the morning before I left, and at times would kiss them goodnight as they slept when I came home.

I did not love this.

But at the time it was the best thing for our family. My wife stayed home with our children since we decided it was the best for them and financially for us. Each day I would leave them early and come home late. It was a routine that kept me away from my loved ones, but also provided for them. This is in no way special since millions do this everyday, but I hated it.

So at night I wrote.

When I would arrive home I would pound out a thousand words and then flop into bed, ready to do it again the next day.

And the next day.

And the next day.

A year ago my wife was able to start working from home. We had already made sacrifices for her to stay home with the kids and this new added income meant a decision for us. One that thrilled me to no end. Not only would I be able to spend much more time with my family, I could begin to write full-time.

My first book, Midnight Paths, came out in October of 2011 and my novel Lineage, was published on September 17th, 2012. Twelve days later I came home for good.

It took me six months writing in the evenings while working full-time to finish Lineage. Since publishing that first novel I've written three short stories and four more novels in the space of a year- SingularityEverFallThe River Is Dark, and the latest that will be published in October. For me this pace has been perfect. I try to write 2000 words almost every day and have a great editor and cover artist who are wonderful to work with.

Now not to mislead you, I'm not making millions with my writing, but I'm very pleased with how my books have done over the last year. Two years ago I would be lucky to clear enough each month for a nice dinner and now my writing pays the mortgage, and car payment, along with various other expenses, not to mention my publishing costs.

The year has had its shares of ups and downs. One day your books are selling well, gaining momentum, and gathering shining reviews. The next there will be a horrific, static silence as readers pass your work over for someone else's. I've come to realize these highs and lows are normal, although it doesn't stop me from dancing or moping when they come along. But I'm a writer, I'm not always rational.

If I could pick out two examples of the best and worst times they would have to be in February when Singularity hit the top 100 paid Kindle list in the UK and hung there for a day, and this summer when nearly all of my books slipped down to negligible numbers for weeks at a time.

Some have asked me how I've accomplished becoming full-time. My answer is always this: keep working and adapting, and never give up. There is nothing more to success than refusing to quit.

In the coming year I'm excited to focus more on the marketing of my work while also producing another four novels.

All in all, it's been a great ride, and even if sales numbers slip sometimes or the occasional negative review comes along, I remember that I've already achieved a goal that some never get to experience.

I'm doing what I love, every day.