I quit my bookseller’s job yesterday.
Let me say up front that I loved working at my local Barnes & Noble. I learned a lot and not just about books and store operations. It introduced me to books I would never have read. What’s more, working with young people helped me better understand things like transgenderism, racism and many of the other complex issues being debated in society. I can honestly say that my four years there made me a more understanding, more compassionate person. Plus, I now know how to make a damn decent caramel macchiato.
But, as much as I loved my co-workers and company discount, the job was damaging my writing career. I walked away from Harlequin in late 2020 because I wanted to focus all my energy on writing a breakout novel. Instead, I found myself still juggling writing with my bookstore job and managing the household, with the bookstore taking the most effort. Somewhere along the line, I shifted from being a writer with a part-time job to a bookseller who wrote part-time.
Adding to the stress were frequent migraines – migraines that always seemed to hit on my days off. The doctors blame stress; I’m juggling too many plates. There were other health issues too. I’ve got the hip of a 75-year-old and the stomach of a seasick crocodile. Whatever the reason, I could feel my writing career slipping away.
What does this all have to do with Big Dog Summer? If you recall, last summer I announced my intention to run with the Big Dogs, that is embrace the idea that I could write more than series romance and try for a major market publishing deal. I was going to go all in on chasing my dream.
Except that I didn’t go all in. I kept on foot on the porch by holding on to my part time job. There were reasons, I told myself. The paycheck gave me independence. I was getting out and interacting with real people. I was staying on top of publishing trends. In reality, I was afraid. I feared jumping in and falling on my face. Therefore, I used the store, and its demand on my time, as a crutch. I could complain about not having the time to write and act put up rather than … well, write.
But that fear does, doesn’t it? Invent excuses for us and help us stay in our comfort zones. It’s easier to beat ourselves up over our failure to overcome hurdles of our making than to do the hard work of chasing our dreams.
This week, I decided it was time to stop throwing hurdles in my path. Come March 26th, I’ll be writing full time. It may only be spring, but Big Dog Summer is finally here.
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