Today is the First Day of the Rest of My Life


I’ve had days in my life before when I didn’t have to get up and go to my day job. Obviously. I’ve even had weekdays when I didn’t have to get up and go to my day job. Several of them in a row, even.

Today is different.

Today is the first day of my adult working life when I don’t have to go to a day job today… or tomorrow. Or next week. Or next month. Or next year.

Today is the first day of my adult working life when I can spend the day writing… and can schedule my writing time knowing that I can spend tomorrow writing as well. And the next day. And next month. And next year.

Today is the first day of my adult working life when I can structure my entire day, and my entire week, around my writing. Obviously writing isn’t the only demand on my time — I have my marriage, my friendships, my family, my own need for down time. But like many people, work is the skeleton around which the rest of my time gets built. Today is the day that I get to start building that skeleton myself.

I am so happy, I can barely speak.

I’m finding that — apart from the obvious happiness — my main emotion today is curiosity. What is my life going to look like, now that I don’t have a day job to structure it around? Will I go to bed at midnight and get up to start writing at 8 am? Will I stay up writing until four in the morning, and sleep until noon? How will I schedule my long term projects, such as books, around my day-to-day projects like blogging? Will I mostly work at home, or at cafes, or what? Will I finally get to take weekends off? How will I structure a full day of computer time around the fact that Comet is obsessed with chewing my charger cord? Will I ever get out of my bathrobe?

I am dying to find out. It’s weird to feel curious about something that is essentially under my own control — but that’s what it is. A very happy and excited curiosity.

Last Gasp logoTinged with a touch of bittersweet. I worked at Last Gasp for almost ten years, and I have a real attachment to the place. It has an incredible history — one of the first publishers of underground comix, one of the first places to publish Robert Crumb, publishers of the legendary “Zap” and “Weirdo” comix, key player in the burgeoning lowbrow art movement. Plus, just generally, they’ve been hanging in there for decades, helping to keep alternative/small press/ micro-press/ freak-ass book culture alive. I feel proud and honored to have been part of it for so long. They’ve also been incredibly supportive of me and my writing/ speaking career… including being WAAAAY more flexible than any normal workplace would have been about my frequent absences to fly around the country inciting godlessness. And the people there are an awesome bunch of smart, funny, talented, good-hearted, independent-minded, book-obsessed weirdos. I feel privileged to have worked with them. I am genuinely going to miss the place.

But I am also overcome with joy.

I busted my ass to get here. I’ve worked hard and have made real sacrifices, for many years, to get to a place where I could support myself with writing. But I also recognize that I’ve been seriously fucking lucky. Lots of writers and other artists bust their ass for years, and don’t get where I’ve gotten. I’ve had a lot of lucky breaks. And I’ve had a lot of support: from friends, from family, from colleagues, tons and tons and tons from Ingrid…

…and, obviously, from readers. Anyone who donated to a pledge drive; anyone who linked to my writing in their own blog; anyone who Tweeted or Facebooked or Reddited or emailed my writing; anyone who commented on my blog in a non-douchey way; anyone who bought my book; anyone who supported my blog and my writing in ways I haven’t listed here — I am more grateful than I can say. I will do everything I can to make y’all proud.

Comments

  1. Emburii says

    Congratulations!

    I will be buying several copies of your books, there’s one person in particular that it seems your writing was tailor-made for. And if I get him a copy he can’t ‘lose the URL’, mwahaha.`

  2. Alexei says

    Congratulations!!! :)

    Yay for change!!! Now you can plan all sorts of awesome activities and not have to worry about hitting the hay or getting up butt-early in order to fulfill them!

  3. says

    congratulations, Greta! I know exactly what that feels like, since my design work allowed me to quit my day job 3 years ago :-)

    so, from someone who’s been there, done that, here are the answers to your questions:

    Will I go to bed at midnight and get up to start writing at 8 am?
    hahaha, no.

    Will I stay up writing until four in the morning, and sleep until noon?
    that sounds more like it.

    How will I schedule my long term projects, such as books, around my day-to-day projects like blogging?
    trying to squeeze them into slower periods in you non-working life, and realizing there aren’t enough of them cancelling life several weeks before the deadline

    Will I mostly work at home, or at cafes, or what? cafes, if you’re diurnal, or if you’re blessed with cafes that open at 4am and stay open til midnight. otherwise, you’ll work from home and suffer from cabin fever like the rest of us nocturnals.

    Will I finally get to take weekends off?
    hahaha, no. you’ll never have a true day off/weekend/vacation ever again. even when you’re not actively writing, you’re still “writing” in your head.

    How will I structure a full day of computer time around the fact that Comet is obsessed with chewing my charger cord?
    you will end up with more than one computer

    Will I ever get out of my bathrobe?
    no. but don’t worry, this only becomes a problem if you start forgetting to shower, as well.

    you’re welcome.

    ;-)

  4. says

    Congratulations, Greta!

    The only advice I can give, for someone that has no day job to go to (I’m a stay-at-home dad), is to get that software that keeps you off the internet for a set amount of time. Just make sure you watch your settings, i.e., AM/PM. You don’t want to have to uninstall/reinstall because you’ve turned off the internet for 24 hours.

  5. RW Ahrens says

    Congratulations! It couldn’t have worked out for a nicer person, or one I admire more!

    (…and I must admit to a smidgen of jealousy…)

  6. kijibaji says

    Congratulations, truly well deserved!
    As someone who works from home most of the time (I’m a grad student who lives away from my home institution), I would love to hear how you deal with this new-found freedom. Perhaps you could report back in a few months? Personally, I often struggle with the lack of structure in my day, so I’m always keen to hear ideas for how other people manage it.

  7. says

    I don’t know whether I’m more happy for you or for us. You are my favorite atheist writer, and I think your contributions to the movement have been, easily, some of the most cogent, insightful, and important that have been produced. You are the most talented person I know at writing respectfully and firmly at the same time, and at asking for others’ opinions when you’re not sure about something (which, in my opinion, is one of the best hallmarks of genuine critical thinking). Your help keep the movement on course, and possibly even more importantly, you help it alter course when it needs to. Since this means we get to have even more of all of these things, I assure you, the pleasure is all ours :)

    Also, I’m envious :)

  8. says

    Congratulations, Greta! I’m sure I speak for everyone here when I say I’m very much looking forward to an uptick in your writing output. :)

  9. sphex says

    Congratulations, Greta. This post brought a lump to my throat. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving person, and I hope this new freedom brings you lots of happiness.

  10. Zugswang says

    Congratulations on all your success, and we look forward to great things from you in the years to come.

  11. C. S. King says

    I’ve never commented here before, but this post gave me a vicarious thrill. It’s really great when lifelong plans finally come together.

    Congrats, and I shall continue to read your blog daily.

  12. Kevin says

    Welcome to the club. I’ve been earning my living as a freelance writer for almost 7 years now, and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

    My only advice: Keep regular office hours.

    I get up in the morning, walk the dog, make breakfast, and then bring my second cup of coffee to the office around 9 am. Even if I don’t have an assignment, I work the “Rolodex”, keep up with clients, do administrivia, and follow my favorite bloggers (hey, it’s research).

    If I’m without assignment, I usually knock off after lunch to do something productive/healthy. Do NOT feel guilty about this because you will end up working crazy awful hours when you’re on deadline.

    You should also incorporate (I’m a single-member LLC) and get an EIN from the IRS instead of using your Social Security number. There are tax advantages.

  13. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Will I ever get out of my bathrobe?

    Well there IS the marriage you mentioned… ;P

  14. emptyknight says

    Congratulations! I’ve only been reading your blog for a month or two, but you are already my new hero. I can’t wait to see what you do with your new found freedom!

  15. says

    Congrats!

    I wish you could share the secret. Since my working career ended in a workplace accident, I’ve been unable to find work. Unfortunately skills and experience aren’t the same thing and a further problem is the fact I never completed a degree.

    So I’ve been trying to get published – I’ve been writing fiction since I was about 16 (disclosure: that was a long time ago.) But I haven’t had any luck with publishers.

    I sure wish my partner was as supportive as Ingrid, too. He keeps telling me I need to get a job. I know he’s a liberal, but sometimes he sounds like a Republican (if I can’t find a job it must be because I’m not really looking.)

    You’ve inspired me to write about my personal journey from non-religious, to active church member, to skeptic, to atheist. Never having written non-fiction before I don’t really know what to expect from publishers, but I can always hope it’s easier.

  16. left0ver1under says

    I once read somewhere:

    Most people don’t want to write a book.
    They want to have written a book.

    Meaning, they want the admiration an author gets but don’t want to put in the work.

    You have put in the work, so kudos to you…from a thus-far unsuccessful writer.

  17. aurophobia says

    Greta, I am so grateful for all that you do for our community and our movement. Your voice is so fierce and unyielding, yet tempered with thoughtful, fully reasoned arguments. You’re a role model for all of us and it’s your fault that I’m volunteering so much now. :)

    I am so grateful that we have you. I am so grateful that we’ll get even more Greta-content to enjoy!

    Thank you for being so fucking awesome.

  18. embertine says

    [Python]You lucky, lucky bastard![/Python]

    Well done you, your success is most well-deserved. But please remember not to live on cereal for the next few mnoths.

  19. John says

    Congratulations! It’s amazingly hard to get oneself to this kind of point in a writing career, so you really deserve to be proud of yourself.

    I look forward to reading more of your work.

  20. Zengaze says

    Congrats Greta, life is too short to not do what we enjoy, those who do get to do what they enjoy are extremely fortunate (though a lot of that fortune is through their own making!)

  21. ohioobserver says

    Congratulations! You earned it. And thanks for the list of questions — these have been rising slowly to the top of my brain as I enter my last year of “real work”. Watching what you and your fellow bloggers do gives me hope that I can be more than just a slug when I “turn in my badge and gun” for the last time.

  22. says

    Congratulations, Greta! I look forward to continuing to read your writing. And I’m curious to know the answers to the questions you’ve asked here, as I’ve wondered about some of these questions as well, since I enjoy writing. All the best!

  23. says

    I’m so happy for you! How great is that! You’ve been in a lot of work to get to this point in your life. I’m sure you know how fortunate you are in this regard. I actually hope to one day follow in your shoes. I’d also like to be a full-time writer.

    Allison

Leave a Reply