25 April, 2008

Taking the Plunge

Today is my first day as a freelance writer.

After a full six and a quarter years working at the head office of Noel Leeming Group, yesterday was my final day as an employee of that company. It was both rather sad and also rather liberating at the same time. I was acutely aware over the course of the day that I was performing for the very last time each of the daily routines I’d done many hundreds of times over. I felt the weight of so much personal history and experience invested in that location, and in those tasks, gradually lifting from my shoulders.

I was very touched by the genuinely unexpected and welcome send-off by many of my friends and colleagues at NLG. I’d been there so long that I don’t think there was a single person at my morning tea send-off who had been working for the company when I joined way back in January 2002. As I said in my farewell speech, it is the people whom I’ll miss most of all. I’m hoping to keep in contact with some of them.

I left under entirely amicable circumstances; my position was dissolved due to some minor restructuring by the company, but this wasn’t unexpected as two and a half years ago I was advised that my job would eventually be reviewed and altered in some fashion. I was offered - and readily accepted - redundancy.

This was rather good timing as for a while now I’ve been considering devoting more time to what up until now has been my 'secondary career' as a writer. Regular, paid employment was too appealing to give up voluntarily and I needed a push to propel me outside of this comfortable stability.

I haven’t mentioned anything on this blog until now about my paid writing commissions because they've yet to be publicly announced by the respective publishers, and it’s bad form to disclose too much beforehand, but I will say that one is a guidebook about Doctor Who comic strips of the 1960s and 1970s that I’ve been working on in my evenings and weekends for most of the last year, and the other (a far more recent commission), I cannot say anything about yet as I’ve been asked to keep this confidential.

Both jobs will undoubtedly keep me busy as a full-time writer for a least the next several months, and there is the prospect of more work to follow, with a second, follow-up volume about the comic strips under commission and possibly also another writing job to follow on from the first one I cannot talk about yet, contingent on how my first piece turns out.

I’m under no illusion that these jobs will earn me enough to keep writing fulltime long-term; I will no doubt need to seek out a new job so that I don’t end up draining all of my savings, but for most of the rest of 2008 it is my intention to live the life of a fulltime, freelance writer. It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I was a teenager and I’m excited and just a little daunted at the realisation that this day has finally arrived.

2 comments:

Jamas Enright said...

Way to go Paul! Hope everything works out well!
(And yes, it is the rare author who lives full time off their writing.)

Just remember to let us know where we can get autographed copies from. ;)

lossy said...

Hi Paul,

Good post. It was weird today. The AS400 was scaring marketing. lol.

Hope you enjoy your trip. Remember, coffee is mandatory when you get back.

Be safe, and mind the video surveillance.

- Lossy.