So after weeks of sending out resumes and expecting it to take weeks, I finally got a response from two principals in my district. Ten years at the same school. Ten years knowing the boundaries and pushing them. It is time to push new boundaries and serve new students. Two interviews, two chances. Two opportunities to venture down new pathways.
Or in my case, new characters.
Keep pushing for your dreams, Keep pushing for something that fits better and as always ….
My last post about my current work situation, which is still pretty messed up, but it wasn’t really focused on the ups and downs of being a writer and the need of a day job. There is a myth that if you only had enough time you would be able to get your next book done and that book will bring an end the day job.
It is a myth. Not sure a dream.
The idea of being a writer who is able to rely on their works as your only source of income is both a fantasy and a nightmare. A fantasy because many of us firmly believe that if we just had more time to write then we would be able to accomplish our goals. John Green, the author of Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, found that more time he had the less productive he was at first. Eventually, he found a community of people who helped provide him with the interactions he needed.
To make money as a writer, you have to write. Write, edit, publish repeat. It is easy and nearly impossible all at the same time. Yet, people do it. Just not as many as you may think do it without a day job.
Writers have to hustle to make a living. They don’t just spend their days on their next great novel. They are writing articles, critiquing movies and play and generally doing whatever they need to keep a roof over their heads. Most don’t write full time at least not in the way we like to think they do.
They bust their fingers day and night to make things happened for themselves and their families. They write for magazines, blogs and any outlet that they can. They do talks, pick up gigs here and there and I am sure more than a few can be found behind the wheel driving for Uber. They update their Patreon page and communicate with readers. (Engaged readers are more likely to become fans. Fans buy your books and tell their friends.) They create their stories late at night and in the moments in between whatever they have to do to put food on the table.
In the next couple of weeks or months depending on how it goes, I will be looking for a new day job. I can’t live without it. I need insurance and having rent money is a necessity as well. I will dream of not going back to work after the summer. Dream of spending my days at my writing desk and three hour workouts. Although, truthfully when I have a lot of time to myself I don’t get much writing done. I am, however, willing to try and see what happens provided I win the lottery or my book gets a mega movie deal.
In the meantime, I am going to work harder at making the time I do have count and use my day job as inspiration for my writing. There are numerous characters rambling around my school everyday begging to find their way on to the pages of my next book.
A day job doesn’t need to be a hindrance. Use it as a source for your next work. Write what you know. Take inspiration from all around you.
Last week I had some out-patient surgery. (No worries, I am fine and back at work.) The same day, it was announced that the BETA Center would be closing its doors in June. I have been a teacher there since 2009.
My day job for the last ten years as been as a teacher of exceptional students in Orlando. No, I don’t teach at the gifted program. My first assignment was at a mental health facility. I was there for ten years. And my students, all young woman, were there as a result of trauma. I loved them and they loved me. They learned and so did I, but it wasn’t until BETA that I really began to develop as a teacher and a writer.
BETA, my current assignment,is part of a private public partnership that provides for the needs of teen mothers. There is a day care on site run by the agency (BETA). They also provide counselors for the students and help with everything from diapers and food to career counseling. BETA also houses a residential program.
Combined with the school, we have one of the highest graduation rates in the county.
My students aren’t statistics. They are real human beings who are working for a better future for themselves and their children. They don’t need to “close their legs” as one commentor to the Orlando Sentinel article on the closing responded. They need compassion and the one and one attention that BETA gives them. They need to be seen a real whole people not “breeders”.
My first year there one of my students was a victim of abuse. She was nineteen. A mom working her way to graduation. When she was eighteen, she came home to find her apartment vacant. Her parents had left her and her baby. They moved without telling her. She didn’t let that stop her. She continued to come to school.
The next year she had moved in with her boyfriend trying to finish school when things turned violent. He didn’t care if the bruises showed or not. He didn’t care. She was his and he could do anything he wanted with her and to her. BETA helped her get out. She is alive today because of BETA. She wants more for her life because of BETA.
Her daughter is in the second grade because of BETA.
She wasn’t the first and she wasn’t the last teen mom to face emotional and physical abused. Every year students come into my classroom having faced horrors that no teen should ever have to face. It isn’t just bullying that these young woman face. Any parent can tell you how hard being a new parent is. No image being a teen mom without the ability to provide the basics for your child. Many of the students work and go to school at night. One young woman, I taught for two years was worked until two in the morning at cleaning service. She came to school and fought everyday to stay awake. She didn’t graduate with honors, but she did graduate.
BETA helped make that happen. My day job does this. Helps young woman find their voice and direction and beat the odds. It is more than just a job. More than a career. It is part of what makes me a good writer. My students aren’t one dimensional people. They are amazing. They inspire me. And they all have stories.
Yes, there are other places that can serve the needs of the community but none of them are like BETA. BETA is a place that saves lives and gives hope. I have had students who have survived domestic violence and homelessness. The BETA serves as an emergency shelter and is currently the only local shelter that can provide shelter to a minor with a child. My heart breaks for my students and their children. It is also breaking for the community as well.
There are efforts underway to try and keep the doors open. If you can, I encourage you to donate by following the link. Every bit helps. It really does.
P.S. BETA also helped make me the writer that I am today. It was working with my students that pushed me from just talking about writing to actually writing. My students overcome so much just to get to school some days to reach their goals, how could I complain that I didn’t have enough time to write? So I did and I keep doing it.
When I posted the Work, I didn’t mean to come across as complaining and I wasn’t really in a bad place. I was attempting to express what that one moment was screaming at me. I was just tired of feeling like I am trapped on the giant cosmic hamster wheel of tedium.
Things never seeming to get better. Just one day after another and no visible end in sight to the dilemmas and conundrums.
Things undone and needing to attention. Things that need to be seen.
Sometimes I don’t feel like I am being seen. Like my problems and issues are too mundane. Too first world to count.
I know I am lucky. I know that I have been blessed with more than two decades of continuous employment. I have been everything from a model to a legal secretary. Since 2006, I have been a teacher.
It was my dream job. The dream that I let myself have.
The one that was acceptable. Honorable.
But for the last thirty years of my life, there has been another dream. The writing dream.
Many of us have it. Many of us give it up to find things that pay the bills. Dreams are pretty good at not paying the bills.
Life shouldn’t just be about paying bills. It should be about living. It is easy to get caught up in the things that we do to make the money to live. It is even understandable. The electric company won’t take a free copy of my last book as payment for next months electricity.
Paying the bills is a necessity. But, the life you choose to live doesn’t have to all the bells and whistles. It just has to have the ones that matter to you. Not to everyone will understand.
And they don’t need to do .
You just have to get to the work that makes you happy. That work that feeds more than the bills.
Sweet Spring Break. You will mostly be a break from my day job although I have work to do there for which I will be sneaking into school and completing later this week. Not that I really want to, but lesson plans have to be written and prep. Such is the life of a teacher.
The life of a writer is also similarly never ending cycle of work. This week, I make no promises on what I will be accomplishing on various writing projects. I will be writing, but school breaks tend to be horrible times for me to write as everything I put off during the school year gets shoved into a break. I do promise to do a lot of reading.
Recently, I finished the “Art of Asking” by Amanda Palmer. I own both the book and the audio book. I can’t recommend the audio book by enough. It is like having Amanda Palmer speak directly to you.
After that, I am not sure. I have a lovely stack of to be read books waiting for my attention. Although, I expect to be distracted by the latest offering by Edward Medina. Bones, Crowns and Gaman is the second novella in the Adventures of the X Pirates series. The first book is the Demise of Foxy Jack which is available on Amazon Kindle. There is also a prolog entitled a Murder of Crows.
Alethea Kontis will be releasing the next book in her Arilland series on the 28th. Sadly, this is the day that I go back to work so I will have to wait to dig into it.
If you need something for your reading list, check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.