Back in 1998 (ten years ago), I was thirty two years old and running adventure summer camps for kids in a park in Boulder, Colorado. Those were good times for me and some of what I still feel are my best creative ideas came out of those days when my wife was willing to tolerate me running about unemployed or rather under employed out on a limb doing creative things.
I certainly made mistakes during that period. I was still young(ish) and not very responsible with some aspects of what was meant to be a business but was always more of a just for fun / creative project. There never was much money in it, not much more than what would barely support one person and possibly pay a couple of part time summer helpers (mostly students) to help with things during the summer months.
Still. All in all I have very fond memories of those days. By the year 2000 I was back in California and working in a regular full time job again and spent the better part of 2000 until 2007 just sort of barely poking at creative endeavors, writing notes about the Rocketship universe here and there and expanding on my ideas for my fantasy world and the story that might unfold there. I had a very brief stint in 2005 where I was able to really focus on the writing for about six months. I think I accomplished the vast majority of the realization of the fantasy setting that had been constantly evolving around that time and also did quite a bit of the foundational work creating the Rocketship Empires universe with artists Mike Doscher’s and Chris Pickrell’s input.
There was a brief flirtation with the idea for a comic book series that came oh so very close to realization. We had no real idea just how much work was involved in creating a professional comic book at the time but still I think we got pretty far on it. Further than most people in that I’d say we have a pretty amazing comic book in pencils sitting in a desk somewhere.
Later in 2005 Valerie and I packed up the boys and moved to Topeka and it wasn’t until the middle of 2007 that I was finally able to dust off Rocketship Empires during the late night hours…literally between one in the morning and five in the morning and get the books finished to the point where I could post them for sale. It took the better part of four solid months of work to get those first two books out and another two months to follow up with the second two books. That all was done working on a very much part time basis, never being able to find more than ten or twenty hours in a week to really write.
So now it seems that there is a good possibility that I will once again have a good stint away out from a forty hour a week joe job where I will take on more of the stay at home parent duties so we can eliminate some of our daycare costs (we spend a fortune having twins to pay for) and have twenty five…possibly even thirty or thirty two hours a week to devote to writing and working on game books.
This is a real opportunity for me as I have the hindsight from my last stint being allowed to do this but quite possibly a larger window to work in…about two years really if all of the stars fall into alignment and everything sorts itself out properly. I have all of this foundational work done and now I can really focus in on bringing it all together, making it all more polished and professional and expanding on it.
So this time I am working out a work schedule and a proper business plan, project outline and such rather than playing at it like I did back in the old days. Taking it all quite a bit more seriously and looking at it all as what I might actually do with myself rather than the odd side fling while the real job, the real career was something more concrete and rather normal.
My hope is that through some blessing from on high and quite a lot of work on my part that in two years I’ll be able to have enough of a business and income going from creative projects / writing etc…to be able to point to it as “this is what I do and how I make a living..” even if the living is modest or fairly middle of the road.
After all. If you love what you do then getting rich isn’t really the point is it. I mean, people dream about getting rich so they can have enough money to free themselves from their hum drum bullshit job in order to do whatever it is that they love to do..and would do for rather less than their ordinary job given the opportunity. The trick being that you have to be able to at least make ends meet..possibly a little bit better than that if you can manage it..
So it will likely be a month or two sorting out how to do this so I can keep doors open where I have a joe job, just in case I need to hop back into it rather sooner than I’d hoped.
Yes its a bit of a risk.
Yes it makes me a little bit nervous stepping out on a limb like this but it made me nervous stepping out on a limb to do the kid’s camps in 1998…and even though I never made a fortune at it I certainly made enough to replace the income from my old joe job…and do so working primarily the summer months leaving most of the rest of the year as very much part time work. Its always a bit scary striking out on your own for a while at least until you’ve become basically established.
But…I’d rather give it a shot than not. I have a stack of unfinished ideas and dreams and goals to accomplish after all which include publishing the fantasy setting, getting that comic book out there in finished form, a novel that is nearly complete but sitting in several filing cabinets at home…etc..etc.. Not to mention sorting out all the books for the Rocketship universe.
This will be a very interesting stretch of the road. I plan to work it for all that its worth from the word go.