The personal significance of zero

It’s my birthday. Lying in bed this morning, I realized that the years ending in zero have always been significant ones for me as a writer.
•1980: I realized that I didn’t want to do anything with the biology degree I was going to graduate with. I didn’t see any other career in sight, but I’d been working on a novel and so I said well, I might just as well decide to be a writer! Which, despite being financially mega-unprofitable for about half the next 30 years (mixed in with the good years and capped by my full-time gig at The Log), proved to be a great decision.
•1990: I left my day job (working for a plant-leasing company) and decided to try full-time freelancing. I really hated my job (other than the number of good-looking women I ran into), and my freelancing for the Pensacola News-Journal was bringing in almost half my day job salary, so it seemed like I had a good base to start from (I also had some savings for backup).
Didn’t work so well (though I was still damn glad to leave the job behind): Almost immediately afterwards, the News-Journal cut back its freelance budget, and I was really undisciplined in everything else I was working on so I accomplished very little (I take some pride in realizing how much more focused I am today).
•2000: Started work at the Destin Log. My first full-time professional gig. ‘Nuff said.
•2010. I’m making money at eHow and freelancing full-time. It’s not a stable situation—when my COBRA insurance payments kick in, I’m going to need more money (and a job with health insurance would be even better)—but it’s much better than I expected at this point, and it’s giving me time to work on the Big Pulp stories and Enemy Within, to boot.
Where it goes from here, I don’t know; given my new life with TYG, this is terra incognita. But it’s a good way to start the birthday year off right.

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Filed under Personal, Screen Enemies of the American Way, Short Stories, Writing

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