Most mornings Mike gets up for work, shaves, puts on a suit, a button-up shirt, and a tie. He generally gets to the office about a half-hour early because of our daughter’s school schedule, and maybe stays about a half-hour late (much longer if he’s in trial or gets called out to a crime scene).
So. There’s about one hour a day where he won’t get paid b/c he’s on salary. And there are occasions when he’s on call but doesn’t get any monetary compensation. Still. He’ll get two paychecks a month for the exact same amount. He knows that by leaving for the office every day, he’ll continue to get those two paychecks a month.
This morning I got up for work. I didn’t change out of my pajamas. I know my hair is sticking up everywhere because it feels weird when I move. I don’t want to look because I’d rather not bother fixing it until I’ve finished this blog post. I have NO idea which book I should work on next because I’m the one dictating what I work on. I currently have no deadlines.
I’m terrified I’ll choose the wrong project.
I finished a book with Christa Desir in May of 2012. We got the first half of our advance in either December or January. The book releases in spring of 2016. The chances of me seeing another paycheck for that book after the second part of my advance is about 50/50.
If I finish my Mia Josephs novella this week, I’ll see a little bit of money from that in a couple months. I have no idea how much. I never know. That novella has taken me longer to write than two of my most recent Mia Josephs novels, but I’ll make less, if for no other reason than it’ll be priced for less. There seems to be so little correlation between hours put in, soul put in, and money gotten back out.
One of the hardest things for me is that the work I put into the world is so PERSONAL. There are pieces of me in everything I write, but the rate at which people buy (or don’t buy) my book has NO correlation to how I feel about a given book. NONE.
The logical side of me laughs a little and jokes around that “no one reads that book.” And the other part of me says, “Yeah, becuase it wasn’t good enough,” or “Because you didn’t work hard enough,” or “You should have told those characters’ stories better,” or “Promoted better” or, or, or…
And the truth is that I have very little control over my income. VERY LITTLE. Getting up early and working hard all day guarantees me nothing except that I’ll eventually have another finished book that may or may not sell and a very messy house. There is no certainty.
And while Mike puts SO much effort and energy into the cases he works on, he also knows his paycheck will be the same. He does not, however, get the added benefit of working in fuzzy socks 😉
I have no ideas. There are days when I love every second of what I do. I don’t care about making bajillions of dollars. I’d like to make close to what I would as a teacher so I can justify staying home when I’m about to have two kids in braces, and those same kids have bigger than normal dental and medical bills. I’m far from it this year. I have no idea what next year will bring.
I have no idea if the books I have on submission will sell. I have no idea if my next book will sell. Or the next. Or the next… But tomorrow I’ll get up, I’ll probably change into a daytime version of my pajamas, and I’ll let the characters take over my brain to tell their story.
I’m about to hit publish on this blog post, close my eyes for a few minutes, and pick the project I’d like to start with today. Because uncertainty aside, I can’t imagine not doing what I do.