Funny how different things can be in 24 hours. 24 hours ago, I was planning on how many times I was going to go to the gym this week yet. I was eager to use my new yoga mat at a class my friend Dee was teaching. I had a goal, 24 hours ago, to start training for a 5K this spring.
24 hours later, I'm praying the gym can cancel or suspend my membership until further notice. 24 hours later, I know I won't need a class to use my yoga mat, because there's a slight chance I'll have to sleep on it at some point. 24 hours later, we are where we were two years ago at this very same time.
Two years ago my husband lost his job. He never saw it coming. Everything was fine, fine fine. Then BAM. the old "We're going in a new direction and we're not taking you with us."
He was out of work for 6 weeks. Not a long time by any standards these days, but certainly a very scary 6 weeks. He found a job in the same business, doing the same thing, for slightly more money. It seemed like a really nice, family centered place. And everything, for nearly two years, was fine, fine fine. We even got a Christmas card from his boss.
Yesterday, he was fired. Again...with no warning. This time, because his boss wanted to hire someone else...and that someone else had just gotten fired from his job, a job he kept over numerous offers from the boss. I guess, when you've been fired, even a job you've passed on five times looks good. So, boss finally gets his wet dream of an employee. Employee gets to work with people he used to work with, people who really didn't like him the first time around. Meanwhile, my husband is kicked out the door with no warning and very little in the way of severance. (They didn't even give him his check that he had coming today. He has to wait until it's been "processed.")
But I'm not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me. Not really. Sure, I'm at a low point in my faith in pretty much everything tonight. My husband is the dream employee...he's hardworking, college educated, quick learning, great with people, and he'll skip lunches, days off, and weekends to do what needs doing. And he got dumped because the apple of the boss's eye got canned two days ago and now deigns to work there.
No, I'm not telling you this make you feel sorry for me or my family. We will, with much prayer and hard work, get through this just like we've gotten through everything else. I'm telling you this, my writing friends, because I know every one of you has a story like this. And, if not a story, a setback, something that can, and does, keep you from your goal of writing for a living.
There's no money in writing. Not really. Not for most. Sure, if your name is James Patterson, or Snooki, you've got the steady writing income. But for the vast majority of authors, we all have to work a J. O. B. to pay the bills between royalty checks.
The temptation is out there, certainly has been for me, to drop writing totally and focus on making money. Just work two, three jobs and pay the bills and give up the stories in my head for something more solid, more steady.
This is when it's gut check time. I work full time. I write in the late and early hours of the day and on weekends. Those are times of the day I could fill with a second paycheck while my husband looks for work and trains for more job skills that might get him employed for a year or two, until the next nepotism train pulls into the station.
I could do that...
Or I could embrace this as a moment to really focus on what I love most and maybe turn that into something big for my husband and my family.
Hey, if he's not working, he'll be doing those projects around the house. Which means the house will be in cleaner, better shape, which means I'm more apt to come home and feel like I could write a chapter or two. I could crank out Two Elsie books and finish the new novel by year's end.
This could be good for my writing career. Adversity is what we authors live on, and frankly, I live in the suburbs of a mid sized Midwest city.
I could...I will...embrace this setback.
Just maybe not today.