Last summer, the final phase of a plan I’d been working on for a few years came together. I stopped doing my day job.
The day job was the business I’d worked on for 20 years and, very steadily (I’ve never been the kind of bloke who was going to blaze a trail), built up. Last year, I completed the sale of that business and retired from a life in the exciting world of financial services. (Okay, maybe ‘exciting’ is a bit over the top…)
At this point, I should clarify that, when I use the word ‘retired’, it should definitely be read in conjunction with the word ‘from’. As I have to keep telling people, I haven’t retired. I have simply retired from the wonderful world of financial services. The future for me lies elsewhere.
The only resemblance I have to a retired person is that I don’t currently have a job or business that pays me enough money to live on. So I can’t afford to sit back and do nothing.
What I do have is the proceeds from the sale of my business and, provided I don’t lead an extravagant life, they should provide me with enough money to live on, now, for a little over 4 years. That means I have an opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to: write without having to worry about how the bills are going to be paid.
Of course, that means that, by the end of those 4 years, I need to be making money from my writing or I’ll have to get another job. In the meantime, though, this is a gift. So many people dream of such an opportunity and I’m only too aware of how fortunate I am.
But why, you might be asking yourself, has he chosen to share this now? There are a number of reasons, I suppose.
The first is the realisation that almost a year has passed since I took that step, and my plans have not panned out as expected. For a start, the handover of the business took longer than I anticipated. Changes in my personal life meant there was also more disruption to my lifestyle than I’d thought there would be. Neither of these are bad things, they just weren’t foreseen.
Last summer, I expected to have completed and published my second novel, Carrion, by the end of 2017. In reality, I only completed the first redrafting of it this weekend. And there will be more drafts to do before it’s ready to go public. I can say that with confidence, even though it’s now sitting in that metaphorical bottom drawer waiting for me to pull it out and read it in a few weeks’ time. There are flaws in it, there are plot holes and discrepancies in the characters, and I’m pretty sure I’ve repeated myself – a lot. There’s also a stupidly high word count that needs trimming down.
But the good news is that it is, at last, finished and, to do that, I’ve finally got myself into something approaching a routine.
While I wait to read it through, I’ll be revising a short story and taking some action to boost sales of Ravens Gathering. All of this will mean writing every day so, when I return to Carrion, it’ll be with the benefit of momentum behind me instead of having to build it up again.
I’m excited by this because there’s a good prospect of Carrion being available to read towards the end of this year. That’s later than I originally intended, but I have deadlines in place now. They’re self-imposed, but I know the time has come to start putting in deadlines that affect others. The first of these is having the second draft ready for beta readers by the end of June. Obviously, that means having beta readers willing to give up their time. I do already have some people in mind, but if anyone wants to volunteer I’d be more than grateful to hear from you.
So I suppose the reason I’m writing about this now is because I’ve had time to reflect, and I want to put more momentum behind my efforts. Knowing that others will be watching me will add some pressure to deliver. Not only that but, from my experiences with the blogging, reading, writing and publishing communities, I know that I’ll get a lot of support as well.