I left my dayjob today. I’m not going back. For the next year, I’m writing full time and finding out how close I can get to making it a permanent change…
And so it all begins. This afternoon I left one job, and on Monday I start another. On the plus side my commute is a lot shorter than it was. On the (considerable) downside, nobody is promising to pay me anything.
I’ve been quite lucky with the job I’m leaving. I’m not in love with it, but nor do I particularly dislike it. That puts it ahead of 90% of all dayjobbery options, and I’m very fortunate to have had the chance to come to India to do it. There are some (now former) colleagues that I’ve enjoyed working with enormously, hope to stay in touch with, and will miss seeing most days.
But on to the next thing. I’m probably over-excited. I changed my job on Facebook to writer, then grinned for half an hour.
It’s not all fun & games though. I’ve got a year to make this work. Better get started.
It’s actually been a very productive week so far. The photo above is of the short story I want to write for an upcoming anthology. This was me trying to work out whether what was in my head would work on paper. Believe it or not, that diagram suggests it might. I added words, and sent the pitch away. I’ll know whether the editor wants me to proceed in the not too distant future.
I’ve also done some major planning for the self-publishing part of the freelance plan. I very much hope to release my next novel no later than February next year, and I have very high hopes for it. From a creative standpoint, it’s a leap ahead of what I’ve written before (at least I think so). Whatever bar I set for myself while writing previous books… well, I raised it for myself. That doesn’t mean the wider reading public will like the book of course, but it’s already a story I’m proud of (and fascinated by), and it isn’t done yet. This week, I set some wheels in motion by seeing if the team I had working on the design, editing, and cover composition for Craven Place will be able to schedule work on the book. It’s short notice, as these things go, so I have my fingers crossed.
Next summer will also see the release of a short trilogy of novellas, which I want to have a slightly separate visual identity from the novels. A few months ago I sent a query off to one of my favourite artists, fully expecting him to have no time at all to work on them. This week, he was able to confirm that I’m quite wrong, and he should be able to fit in three original pieces of cover art. I’m absolutely ecstatic. Originally I planned to release the novellas this winter and the novel during the summer, and reversed that in the hope that slots would appear in this gentleman’s schedule. That gives you a good idea of just how much I adore his art. The contract isn’t signed yet, so no naming of names (and I’ll probably wait until nearer the time before I say anything), but I’m thrilled he’s going to be working on these books.
Now I just need to sit down and write all this stuff. Roll on Monday.
This will get it’s own post over the weekend, but the timing is too good not to mention it today as well. On the day I leave a dayjob to tell stories full time for a while, I’m also appear in a new anthology called Storyteller – A Found Book. There are lots of reasons to buy this book, only one of which is that it includes my new story ‘The Devil’s Children’.
The book is in honour of Matt Kimpton, a writer who died last year in September. All money from the book will go to Cystic Fibrosis charities, because that’s what killed him. I didn’t know Matt personally, although I knew his fiction. When I reviewed this book last year, I didn’t realise he had died while I was reading his contribution. The book was one of my top five of the year, and of Matt’s tale I said:
“I can’t go through this book story by story, so some highlights to be going on with. The opening tale, Matt Kimpton’s ‘The Storyteller’, caught me completely off guard with its presentation of a Scandinavian myth told in the oral tradition. The tale is of a young bard determined to live a legend in line with those he regales others with, and his hunt to do so changes his own story in strange and temporal ways. It’s densely, lovingly written, and while utterly unexpected also introduces the scope of the book in a brilliant and curiously unsettling way.”
That Stuart Douglas, the head and heart of Obverse Books, wanted to do something to honour him tells me a lot about the sort of person Matt was, and I’m glad I was asked to play. I’ll let Stuart tell you why the book is ‘Found’ in his own words, which will reassure you all that Facebook isn’t a complete waste of time for writers.
As many of you will know, you can get the four books I’ll be releasing for free just by signing up to receive my very occasional newsletter. I don’t ask anything in return for those – they’re a thank you for your support. However, please consider paying the £1.99 to get an ebook copy of Storyteller direct from the publisher. Do it to help me celebrate my own little step towards telling more stories, and do some good at the same time.
The stories themselves are quirky, entertaining, and very, very Obverse. You’ll enjoy it enormously.
I don’t quite know what this series of blogs about the Freelance Leap will become now that I’ve… well… leapt. If nothing else we’ll track progress, but let me know if there’s anything you particularly want to see as I stop speculating and start doing.