All in

So, Kristan, what’s this “big change” that you’ve been alluding to / teasing us about, both on Twitter and now on the blog?

Um, wow, way to cut to the chase, Fake Question Asker.

Well, if you must know… Sigh. Look, this isn’t easy. Even after a couple days of telling people (and myself, repeatedly) I still haven’t found the perfect way to say it. But simple is usually good, right? Okay, let’s try that:

Yesterday I quit my job in order to focus on my writing full-time.

Omg… OMG! Seriously?

Yep. After a lot of thought, I decided this was the right move and the right time for me. I’m lucky enough to be able to afford a “gap year,” and I’m young enough that if things don’t work out, it probably won’t do much harm.

Okay… But why now? Didn’t you have a sweet part-time gig? Weren’t you writing anyway? Don’t you know the economy sucks?

Yes, yes, and yes. But as I said in my New Year’s post, I believe that 2011 has the potential to be The Year for me. I have learned and grown a lot in the past couple years, and I had some close brushes with success in 2010. I want to carry that momentum forward and build on it. Being an author has been my dream since I was 9 years old, so I think I owe it to myself (and my parents, and everyone who believes in me) to give it my all. I didn’t feel able to do that while also working over 30 hours a week.

Wait, are you saying that everyone who’s serious about being a writer has to quit their jobs?

Absolutely not! There are tons of authors who work, or have families, or both! And I applaud them so hard my hands hurt.

But so far I haven’t been able to be one of those writers. My choice to try writing full-time is a luxury, yes, and I am so grateful for it. But it was also an extremely difficult choice to make, for many emotional, financial, and other reasons. So it’s a luxury that I will not take for granted. I will not be, as my mother kept saying on the phone, “doing nothing” this year. I will be working my butt off.

(For the record, my mom didn’t really mean “doing nothing.” She just meant “not holding a respectable, paying job like society says you’re supposed to.”)

Speaking of your mom, what does she (and the other people in your life) think about this?

Fortunately, everyone around me is being very supportive. My mom is excited, my dad is cautiously optimistic, and my boyfriend is wonderfully reassuring. My friends have expressed their faith in me, and even my coworkers are cheering me on. With these kinds of people in my life, it’s no wonder I think I can do this.

Well, that’s good. And how do you feel?

You know, there’s a scene in Tangled that perfectly captures my thoughts and emotions right now. It’s just after Rapunzel gets out of the tower for the first time in her life, and she alternates between running around a field screaming, “WHEEEEEE!” and burying her face in her hands, moaning, “OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE?!”

Yeah, that’s me.

(Mostly the “WHEEEE!” part, though.)

So, what’s your plan? You do have a plan, don’t you?

Of course I do! Sort of… I mean, it’s the same “plan” every writer has: write an awesome book, sign with an awesome agent, secure an awesome book deal, and live awesomely ever after.

But most of that isn’t within my control. So my real plan is to write an awesome book, and then take all the necessary steps to secure the awesome agent, book deal, and life. I do have a more specific routine in mind, and I will track/evaluate my progress after 3 months, 6 months, and a year, but I don’t think I need to get into details/metrics. The fact is, everyone’s journey to publication is different, but there is a general path writers can follow, and that’s the path I’m going to be walking.

What makes you think this is going to work?

Well, the difference between me now and me previously is that now I have all the tools in place to succeed, as well as the ability to use them effectively. That last part is the key. When I graduated from college 3.5 years ago, I could have taken a gap year and “seriously” tried to get published then, but I highly doubt I would have succeeded. There was just too much I didn’t know, too much I hadn’t done. And while I still have plenty more to learn and do, I think I’ve hit a point where I can achieve my first set of goals. Certain accomplishments (and near-accomplishments) in 2009 and 2010 seem to confirm that.

All right, this fake Q&A is getting kind of long. But it was the best way I could come up with to tell you folks the news. In terms of logistics, I did officially resign, but I’ll probably be working through mid-February while we find and train my replacement.

Then it’s off to the races… I hope y’all are betting on me to win!

34 responses to “All in”

  1. Erika Robuck Avatar

    Yay! Best of luck to you!

  2. T.S. Bazelli Avatar

    Oh wow, that’s a bold move! I’m so glad the people in your life are so supportive. Can’t say I’m not jealous hehe. Good luck, good year! I hope this is the year for you too.

  3. Sonja Avatar

    It’s a big move but it seems like the upside is very big and the downside is very small. So have at it!

  4. gingermandy Avatar

    WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO! You’re going to be so good at it and have so much fun! Take it all in and enjoy it, I know you’ll rock and it will be so good for you (just make sure you manage to take time off to spend with your boyfriend and sleep in sometimes).


  5. eric Avatar

    congrats Stan! Good luck and don’t forget us when you are famous

  6. Emily Avatar

    Wow! Congratulations and the best of luck to you. You can do anything you want in this world if you just put your mind to it. You definitely have the momentum and I think you are almost there. It only takes ONE publisher . . . I will be watching and cheering you on. Your confidence to take on your dreams has given me the courage to chase my dreams! :o)

  7. Shari Avatar

    So exciting! Kudos to you for taking the leap of faith and going for what you want at full throttle. I have confidence that you will be defying gravity all year long ;-)

    Fingers are crossed so tightly for you!!

  8. marci Avatar

    Eric stole my comment, so best of luck!

  9. Tracy Hahn-Burkett Avatar

    Congratulations, Kristan, on taking the big leap. How exciting! I hope 2011 really is your year.

  10. Meghan Ward Avatar

    OMG, Kristan – that’s HUGE! Congratulations! I’m super jealous because my little three-day writing retreats come just once a month and at the big cost of sticking my husband with two kids all weekend and feeling guilty about being gone for so long. I would LOVE to be able to write full-time for a year! WHEEEEE is right! I believe in you, and I think you WILL accomplish your dreams in 2011! And maybe now that you’re (almost) unemployed, you’ll come visit us over at Writerland now and then? We miss you! :)

  11. Jon Avatar

    Congratulations! I totally think this is a good idea. You’re definitely on the right (write) track and will make this work. Maybe you can do some freelance writing on the side–or all fiction?

  12. Trisha Avatar

    Good luck. Enjoy.

  13. Juliann Wetz Avatar

    Congratulations, Kristan! How exciting! I’m sure you’re the envy of every other writer reading this. It’s a brave move and I have every reason to think you’ll be successful. Congratulations again! Wow!

    btw – I loved that scene in “Tangled.” You’re right; it’s the perfect analogy.

  14. Kristan Avatar

    Big thanks, everybody!!!

    Your WOOHOO made me laugh.

    Eric & Marci-
    Pssh, I couldn’t forget you guys (no matter how hard I try…).

    There are new posts?! WHERE DID ALL THESE POSTS COME FROM!? I think Google Reader has been hiding you from me. I’m going to unsubscribe and resubscribe.

    Right now the thought is fiction-only, but freelance is one of the things I will reconsider/evaluate as I progress (or not) through the year.

  15. Meghan Ward Avatar

    Kristan, the same thing happened to me with your posts when I was using Bloglines. Weird!

  16. Anna Avatar

    great move! I wrote full time in 2010 for 6 months, and it was absolutely brilliant. Waking up with nothing to do but write is the best (when it’s not intimidating as all hell).

    I hope 2011 is successful, challenging and surprising.

    x Anna

  17. Jon Avatar

    Amazing and exciting! I’m sure wonderful things will come from this, and I’ll be ready to hear about it all here!

  18. Erin Avatar

    I’m so happy/proud/excited for you! “WHEEEE!” is right :D

  19. Les Avatar

    Oh you are SO lucky, I’m so jealous. Good luck! I’m sure it will be an awesome year!

  20. Alex Wilson Avatar

    I have been reading your blog and posts and see NO CHANCE of you NOT succeeding. You go, girl!
    PS: Will we have no more blog or posts for a year? Boo hoo.

  21. Kristan Avatar

    You are my new favorite person evar!!! :D

    And no, there will definitely be blogging in 2011. Probably still at the average of 2 posts per week? That’s a guesstimate though.

  22. Barb Avatar

    I will be cheering for you. It’s good to hear that for every friend of mine who gives up on his artistic/writing dreams to follow society’s wishes there is someone else in the world (in this case, you!) deciding to stop listening to society to follow her dreams. I KNOW you will succeed!

  23. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, Barb. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but it cheers me up too. Like I’m karmically balancing things out…

  24. MIss Rosemary Avatar

    I’m rooting for you! I wish I had the guts to do that. I’m flopping between an MA in creative writing for the life goal of being a professional novelist and the MS in publishing for the hotshot job that pays me a lot of money. I’m glad you’ve made a decision you’re happy with.

    And Tangled made my life when I saw it :)

  25. Krista Avatar

    Holy wow. I’m behind on catching up. THIS IS AMAZING NEWS!!!! I’m so excited to see what you accomplish. I am definitely rooting for you!

  26. Larramie Avatar

    WHEEEEEE! I placed my winning bet on you a long time ago, Kristan!

  27. Sophia the Writer Avatar

    YAY! Me too! Now I have a gap year friend – although I’m so old mine has to be called a sabbatical.

    I’ve been wanting to take one since 2007, but I keep living in the most expensive cities in the country so that hasn’t really happened.

    Plus I’ll still be working PT because, seriously, it’s crazy expensive to be alive.

  28. Kristan Avatar

    Miss Rosemary-
    I really think I’m going to go see it for a 3rd time when it hits my dollar theater… :P

    HEE thanks. Can’t wait to be featured on your blog someday!

    “it’s crazy expensive to be alive.”

    Lol tru dat. Although Cincinnati cost of living is relatively low, if you’re considering a move. :P

  29. Sophia the Writer Avatar

    hahaha so THAT’S how it’s done. I’ve always been jealous of SAHM’s – that’s like impossible to do in the metropolitan areas unless you’re loaded.

    Yeah okay, I’d rather be poor on the coast than landlocked ;)

  30. Mindi Anderson Avatar

    You go, Kristan! I also quit my full-time corporate job in September, so I could focus on the things that matter most to me (family + writing). As scary as that decision was to make, I have thrived as an artist and human being in the past few months. You made the right decision. I concur.

  31. Kristan Avatar

    Thanks, Mindi! And wow, that’s awesome that you did it too. Glad I’m not the only crazy, hehehe.

  32. Liz Czukas Avatar

    Holy crap, Kristan!

    Welcome to the world of the unemployed. It’s…intimidating out here. But you know what? About four weeks after I lost my job, I got my first agent offer. Kismet? We’ll see!

    I’m proud of you for being daring.

    – Liz

  33. Kristan Avatar

    Liz, I can’t WAIT to hear that story!