Today I turn 50. Yay. Happy birthday to me. After everything though, the past 12 months has easily qualified as my “mid-life crisis.”
This is my last weekend before I am back to working a single full time job. I have spent the last year (since August 2018) exploring a new path. Some ventures didn’t pan out the way I hoped, but at least I can say I’ve tried something very different than the “9-5 grind.”
By February, I had finished writing, revising and editing, then submitted and traditionally published, a third novel, We Three.
In August-September, then against in April-May, I worked full-time temp assignments through agencies:
- Technical writer (educational software design)
- Scoring student essays (standardized testing responses)
Between those assignments, I dove into the gig economy. This became the equivalent of working 4 jobs — without being eligible for benefits in any of them. Here’s a list:
- Wrote copy for a health and wellness e-publisher
- Edited novels and novellas for several indie authors (UpWork)
- Provided story development advice for several indie authors (fiverr)
- Revised and edited, then self-published three of my own novellas (KDP)
- Transcribed 1500 hours of audio and video for dozens of clients (Rev)
- Took paid surveys (LifePoints) on everything from health and shopping, to media consumption and politics.
- English language tutoring
Things I learned:
I do have the organizational skills to manage my time wisely, so learning that strength about myself was good. I did however also learn that I do not have the medical history to go without health insurance. I got set back by significant medical bills twice.
Another thing I learned was that quality time with those you love is necessary for mental health. It also takes almost no money at all to make me happy. A few minutes making a homemade lunch then spending the morning picnicking on a beach or biking to a local park to eat it, is wonderfully rejuvenating and connecting.
I did find time for some personal writing. I completed another 70k+ word story for SwanQueen fandom. If you are interested, you’ll find “She’s Having My Baby” (SQ, post-Neverland, magic!pregnancy) on FFnet. Due to technical issues, I didn’t simultaneously cross-post it on AO3, but now that it’s finished, I probably will upload it there. If you do read it, please let me know what you think.
I have discovered that talking with other writers makes an introverted writer like me less susceptible to depression. I engage more often now with other writers through hashtags like #WriteStuff and #WritingCommunity (both on Twitter) and writers groups on Facebook.