Last April I wrote a letter of resignation to my place of employment and jumped off a cliff. It was a massive leap considering that my goal was to write full time and the last thing I had finished, I’d finished it in November 2009. For three years and for the first time in my life, I was content with not writing.
My stress levels were through the roof. I wrote my first book when I was eleven years old. My goal had been to write a ten page story and I ended up writing over two hundred. Then I wrote the sequel, and the sequel to that. By the time I was in grade ten, I wrote my fourth book on a computer.
If there was one thing I was grateful for, was that .txt hadn’t been invented yet and there was no way for a new computer to read the files from an old computer. We’re talking Tandys and Commadore 20s here. My sister and I fought like cats because we shared the basement and she kept the lights on all night and I was up typing until 2-3 o’clock in the morning, every night. Writing was my window out of a tiny town in the middle of nowhere in a house that felt too small for the people living inside of it.
At times of high stress, I quit writing. When I first started flying around the country to teach people how to teach overseas, I stopped writing for eighteen months, but as soon as the crazy job stopped, I was right back at it. I took the job here in the city I’m in as a part time gig specifically so that I would have time to write, and then came three years of absolute silence.
But my job was terrible for my health. Anyone with a chronic condition gets worn down, which weakens the immune system, which meant I was getting physically sick at least twice a month. I went on stress leave, but that didn’t help. I knew it wasn’t fair for me to try to find a different job while I couldn’t tell you on Tuesday how I was going to be feeling on Wednesday, and I felt like I was at the end of a rope dangling over a crevasse. Quitting to write seemed as crazy as quitting to become an astronaut.
But April 28th I sent in my resignation and April 29th I started my first story in three years.