It's Friday the 13th, but I'm actually feeling pretty lucky today. I've been doing some bookkeeping, and I'm on track to earn about as much this year as I did in my peak earning year back in my Day Job days. Of course, that's gross, not net, so it doesn't take into consideration business expenses like my agent's commission, and it doesn't include paying for my own health insurance or self-employment taxes, but the year's not over yet and I will likely earn a bit more, and I feel like there's a substantial non-tangible benefit from not having to go to work for someone else that makes it worthwhile to earn less money. I've had a few lean years when I was starting to worry that I'd have to try to find another job, which could be challenging after more than ten years out of the ordinary workforce, so actually having money is a complete mental adjustment. I find myself still viewing spending the way I did when I was living off my savings. I don't want to totally shift mental gears because things can change (and I've had it happen -- a graph of my career would look like a roller coaster), but I can let myself loosen up a bit.
For those trying to figure out what a writer makes, here's your answer. I'm considered "solidly midlist," which means selling fairly well and steadily without being a bestselling star. In my good years, I'm earning about what I did as a middle manager in a public relations agency more than ten years ago. In my bad years, about half my living expenses have to come out of savings. I can support myself, but I doubt I could support a family. I'm probably doing better than most people who are writing professionally, but not as well as many. Those who pirate my books are not stealing from the wealthy who don't notice the loss of income. There are very, very few authors who wouldn't miss a few thousand dollars here and there.
I had plans to go out today and catch a showing of Austenland now that it's at a nearby theater, but then I slept late and didn't have time to do the things I wanted to do this morning before going, and I just plain didn't want to. I want to see the movie because I'm in the mood for a quirky romantic comedy. I read the book when it came out, but it's been long enough and I've read enough other "rabid Jane Austen fan goes on an Austen-oriented vacation" novels to be vague on the details. The reviews haven't been kind, but then I've found that reviewers tend to loathe romantic comedies in general. You have to read between the lines of reviews. I'll probably go sometime next week. Today, though, I think is going to be a Grand Day In.
I actually want to do some writing today. I've been figuring out what needs fixing, and then realizing the ripple effect the small changes will have, but then that led me to visualize a certain scene in a way that made it come to life and be a lot more vivid. When I start seeing the movie of the book in my head, I know I'm on the right track.
I've also started a new knitting project. I'm juggling two right now so that I won't get bored by either and I'll avoid repetitive stress problems. One is lace on smaller needles with fine yarn and the other is a blanket with big needles and fat yarn. When I get tired or sore from one, I switch. After working on the lace, the blanket feels enormous. It's like coloring with those fat kindergarten crayons after working with colored pencils.
Then there's new Haven and new Phineas and Ferb tonight!
But for now, I leave you with a combination of two great things: Les Miserables with lightsabers!