So I am currently at a Barnes & Noble cafe, staring at an empty sketchbook, empty brained, trying not to throw up. I feel sick and tired and empty, empty, empty. Today I got let go from my day job – for the third consecutive job in the past 16 years, a reorganization occurred and my role got cut in the process. The last time this happened was in 2014 and I blogged about it quite a bit for my three months of unemployment. In fact, for an author/illustrator’s website, I blog more about unemployment and day jobs than anything else.
So back in 2014 I was wrapping up BRIGHT LIGHTS, DARK NIGHTS, which comes out in paperback in a couple weeks. The length of unemployment was pretty much exactly how long my severance package lasted, and gave me just enough time to finish up the book, something that could have taken months longer had I not had that opportunity.
This time I’m in between projects. I’ve actually pitched a handful of ideas that haven’t gone anywhere in the past year or two; a Civil War project, a touring band book, a superhero thing, something about weird little creatures and dysfunctional families. Now I have something I’ve been working on since March or so, and it’s weird and it’s dark and I have zero idea if my agent or editor would have any interest in it.
So now I have some time, I guess, in between scrambling for work so I can pay rent and bills and for food and gas, and any semblance of a life. It’s really scary living alone sometimes. And while i wait to hear if the dark and weird project is a go or a no, I’m not sure what to work on. That’s why I am sitting here at Barnes & Noble listening to some creepy ambient thing I found on apple music and trying to focus on anything at all and maybe come up with that hit idea that’ll sky rocket my career so I don’t need to find an insurance job to cover my bills.
I spoke with a psychic two days ago who felt I should do something different than the path I’ve been on (realistic YA books). Should I try a children’s book? A middle grade series? Try to think of a movie idea? A graphic novel? Learn to play the banjo? I have no idea. My friend Cori thinks I should write a novel in a month, and do something simple with little to no research involved. “Highschool romance,” she says, and I could probably do that but the idea doesn’t excite me and I’m still sitting here staring at blank paper. She says I am a slow writer. I figure at least writing this blog is doing something. Maybe the wound of job loss is too fresh right now. Maybe I have abandonment issues and the lack of security is too much for me. Or maybe I’m just really tired, or maybe I don’t feel like writing right now. I really don’t want to do this again. I liked my job just fine, I had a good thing going. It wasn’t exciting and had nothing to do with my interests or creativity but it paid the bills and gave me no stress. Maybe that’s why it was expendable.
Anyway, I guess the takeaway from all this is that Bright Lights, Dark Nights comes out in paperback in like two weeks and I guess go buy it so I don’t starve. I’ll keep thinking of ideas in the meanwhile.