I am now officially a full time writer. It amazes me to type those words…
And it amazes me that I typed that last sentence more than two hours ago. See, I’m now a full time writer, but I’m also a full time stay-at-home dad. In the background I hear toddler screams and the bickering between my eight and ten year old boys. There are also dishes to wash, meals to prepare, bills to ponder. Egad, time becomes a flighty thing, especially during summer vacation.
Okay, back to this new gig of mine. How did I get here? Well, I guess you could say that my wife twisted my arm.
I had wanted to quit my day job since I started it over five years ago. It was supposed to be temporary. Six months, a year, tops. I’d been a stay-at-home dad for a few years when we needed a steady second income. I enjoyed my time at home with my two oldest boys, but I did what I needed to for our growing family. I found the best paying job I could find in my area, which also turned out to be the most strenuous job I’ve ever worked. Twelve hour days three days a week in a warehouse where I was expected to manhandle cases of freight up to 100 lbs.
Did I mention I had a bad back even before I started this job? My wife could clearly see the writing on the wall before I did. The job took a toll on me physically. I started missing more and more work because of my back. In 2012, I had a flare up that resulted in me missing two months of work (which also derailed my writing for a time). I had another flare up in early 2013, and by the time we took a family vacation at the end of June, even I was starting to see the writing on the wall. I just couldn’t do it anymore. My wife twisted my arm. Pressured me to quit. We discussed the ramifications. The tighter budget. But we also discussed the quality of life, not just for me, but for all of us if I were to stay home. We hadn’t shared a day off together outside of the major holidays, the occasional vacation (and those pesky back flare ups) in over five years.
So I’m not a full time writer because I’ve consistently bested my day job earnings with my writing. I have achieved that feat a number of times over the last two years (in some cases doubling my day job pay). Other months my writing amounted to a small fraction of my day job earnings. I’m a full time writer not because I’m rolling in the dough, but because it’s what’s best for my family.
I’m terribly lucky to have such a supportive wife. She has a well-paying job, and she’s good at it. What I think really makes this dynamic work is that she doesn’t like to do the laundry. I don’t mind. Not at all. Not when the alternative is lugging 100 lbs cases all day long.