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Hi all! How was NaNoWriMo for ya? I didn't participate, as those of you who know me well noticed. I haven't posted since the Nov IWSG, where I not-so-subtly went out on blog holiday, and I really did not expect to post again until 2014. But you know how it is with peer pressure in the form of many many many many awesome blogger friends. I missed everyone.

Thanks Alex, and his helpers Julie Flanders, Heather Gardner, Kim Van Sickler, and Elsie is Writing for the forum to celebrate my friends, and while you are special to my heart, today is not really your day. I know you understand :)

Today, I'd like to celebrate

courtesy of Al Diaz (Father Dragon). I know, you're all like, Reeaally!

Concisely rehashing old news to get to the new, I've been rather disappointed with both my writing and day job over the last few months, or maybe at least a year. I've had this split personality thing going on; I love my day job, I love writing. I'm obsessive about making both work, and both have me in a depressive funk more often than not. I'm 51, and blame almost everything on menopause, even if I'm not sure I've entered the phase enough to claim the meta-physical affliction. Glass half empty girl and all that rhetoric . . .

I've made $5.67 off my writing in the three years I've been submitting and getting published. The income has manifest in the last month for short story royalties. I don't need to tell y'all how much work, energy, sacrifice, etc, I've put into making this income for my writing dreams. *sighs*

You don't need to know what my day job yearly income is - most of you would laugh as I'm a public servant. And a single mom who collects no child support. Suffice it to say its considerably more than roughly $6 per year. Still not enough; but few people can claim their income is "enough."

Recently I told a certain writing Partner of mine that I would let fate determine my dedication to the writing career. My day job position has been terminated at the end of the year, and I applied for several positions outside my current county (all utilizing my Bachelor's in Social Work) and the one within my county that does basically the same job as the eliminated position at less pay, and more importantly to me, less supervisory authority. In a phrase, the removal of my super-powers. Like hanging Cryptonite around Superman's neck.

And the worst case scenario for my other affected co-workers was not all that devastating to me. I decided if I did not get hired by any of the three positions I applied I'd accept the unemployment income and dedicate a couple years to seriously perusing my writing career. Whatever fate decreed, I'd go with.

Well, $4.67 in royalties turned up the same week that three day job opportunities made offers. All less than I'm currently making, but what the hell, I'm terminated anyway so money isn't a deciding factor for me. I first accepted a position in my current county to be sure I had a job come the end of the year; but later accepted a social worker position in child welfare at considerably less money.

Well, sometimes you have to take a step back in life in order to take a step forward. I know a lot of indie-published author friends who might get this concept. Give up on the high money potential for immediate gratification. Social work is my dream job.

While I've been struggling with this decision, wondering if I made the right choice in my day life and knowing it will mostly eliminate the time I have to dedicate to writing and blogging (especially blogging), my dear friend Al Diaz honored me in his Dragon's Friends Day post and bestowed upon me the Golden Scale Award.

Al is an amazingly inspirational friend. I get more benefit from his posts than he gets from my comments, which he says makes him blush, and I'm not my usual sexual innuendo self there, lol. I have had many blogger friends speak to my heart and soul since I first signed on blogger in 2008, and they also influence my day life with confidence and perspective. The successes I've achieved in my writing life through interaction with online and offline writing groups has spilled over into my my personal and professional life at various times, and I hope I have honored and praised them in the past at the appropriate times. However coincidentally at this time in my life, Father Dragon encourages my own sentiments in accepting the Dragon Scales Award:

"An honorable promise is required in order to take it, though.  Displaying the Golden Scale Award on your blogs implies that you've promised to become your own hero. It means you won't wait for any special thing to happen so you can be happy (i.e. when I get this or that I'll be happy; when I no longer suffer this or that, I'll be happy).

The Golden Scale Award is not for the things you did, but for the things you'll be doing to be happy on a daily basis. It's for the courage you promise to show when facing adversity. The determination you promise to have when standing for your dreams and for what you believe in. It's the wisdom of knowing life is sometimes way too difficult but overcoming those difficulties is the only way to grow into a better person and to learn something. We face our fears to find ourselves and our own worth."

I am getting a late start in both my professional and writing life. $$It happens. I began my dream of becoming a social worker by enrolling in college at age 38. I had many obstacles, but finally obtained my BSW. I got sidetracked by a job I was less than satisfied with, but I loved nonetheless. Now, its time to jump again for the brass ring. I'm scared and excited, hopeful and skeptic. Pass the wine purse people, I need the false courage to butt kick the bravery into a new and uncertain life.

Father Dragon Sir, you've encouraged me to follow my own path, even when I'm unsure of the outcome. I am my own hero! My life plan has not always been straight and true; but the bad parts have never been the worst that could be, my true friends have always been there for me, and looking up from the bottom of the glass has given me incentive to strive on. Action for movement sake is not good in an adventure novel, but it sure makes normal life feel like an accomplishment.

All this to thank Al for his encouragement, but also to warn my bloggy friends I'll not be around much while I'm training for my new career over the next few months. The one way, hour long drive will kill me I'm sure, as I'm used to less than a 10 minute drive to work and a refreshing nap at lunchtime. And I'm uncomfortable with starting all over again after nearly 8 years of complicity. No bites on my novel writing, but several acceptances on job applications tells me writing is definitely more a hobby than a career choice.

I move on to the next adventure in my day life. I am intrigued. I am empowered. I am the author of my destiny.

I intend to post for Write..Edit... Publish... December event titled "Traditions."  I have not added my
name to the linky yet as I've been too cynical lately to write something uplifting. Being empowered doesn't equate to being positive. Its been a long time since I've participated in the yearly extravaganza of over-purchasing in the month of December, but perhaps I can dredge up something from my childhood memories to suit the occasion, or maybe write a fictional story of love and laughter in the spirit of giving. I'm so much better at fiction than true life. How about you?

Tis the season for tradition, regardless of your religious or non-denominational preferences. Post your sacred or favorite traditions on Dec 18 and don't forget to sign up on the linky.

I leave you with the excitement and insecurity of the future. Take control when you can, accept inevitability at last resort. Strive always for balance, elusive as it may seem, between the path traveled and trail ahead.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry for the shakedown with your job.
Don't let that $4.67 stop you. That's just the beginning.
Al is a wise dragon and special friend. Be sure to read his post today.

Ted Cross said...

Well I don't have menopause but I'm in the same boat as you--I like my job and writing but lately I'm getting very little done. You're well up on me in the money-from-writing department, too, as I've never made a cent!

Pat Hatt said...

Rather write than work any day at my bay

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I admire you for sticking with the social work. After being a foster parent for four years, I saw how overworked and underpaid those people were in social services.

The money from writing will come. Just don't quit.

DEZMOND said...

I think I'm in premature menopause too :PPP

Chris Fries said...

Great post! A lot of people start writing because they think it's going to bring them money. But it's actually a pretty stupid way to try and get rich. The lottery seems to have a more fair distribution of rewards.

Writing as a profession is an extremely risky career move with a very uncertain future.

But if you look at writing as an artistic and creative outlet simply because you love to do it?
then it's immensely rewarding. The acts of creation and story-telling are food for the soul.

Take that approach. Feel the joy of writing on your own schedule simply because you're drawn to it and enjoy doing it. Surrender the thoughts of it as a "job" or a "career" -- that leads a writer to equate their "worth" by the revenue they earn. But I'm convinced they are not related at all. The fickle winds of writing financial reward blow much too erratically.

If you like to write, then write because you like it. If not, then don't.

Best of luck to you and the new job! I hope the future of Donna Hole is an awesome one!!!!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Al is a great friend and one adorable blogger. Donna don't let that 5.67$ affect you, remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. This is just the begining, and the amount will grow in number.

Denise Covey said...

Very touched by your post Partner. You really think things through don't you ? Look, a lot of people would envy you actually loving your calling...social work. A tremendous career which actually helps people. It can take a long time to make money from writing. If you actually want to make money you have to find markets that pay well and write to that market. They are out there.

Thanks for the shout out for WEP . Your entries are always greatly appreciated. You are a special mate Donna. Thank you for being you ! (Jet lagged and exhilarated from Amsterdam.)

Denise x

Denise Covey said...

Meant to say I think Chris makes some good points.

D.G. Hudson said...

Good luck and congrats on getting a new job. Life intervenes in all our lives at different times. How you handle it shows the stuff you're made of.

Take care and keep at the writing. Congrats on your Golden Scale award!

J.L. Campbell said...

I like the premise behind the Golden Scale award and know Al had a good reason for awarding it to you.

Congrats on stepping out in a new direction. Here's hoping most, if not everything, goes well for you.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I hope your dreams start falling into line for you. Sorry about the day job. I've been hearing similar stories from many friends.

Al Diaz said...

Donna, you've brought tears to my eyes this time. I am really happy to know I've helped you somehow to find your path in life. I think it's great that you can actually work on something you do love. If you do what you truly love, you'll be darn good at it because you'll involve mind and heart in doing it. Eventually, good things will come your way, including more money. Just love what you do and do it the best you can. BTW, you don't look a second older than 25 to me. :) I send you huge dragon hugs and I also leave you this link that has made me ponder a lot of interesting stuff. May it prove to be interesting for you too. TONS AND TONS OF DRAGON HUGS!

Julie Flanders said...

I got a late start to writing too and used to work as a social worker, I admire you for sticking with it! I found I wasn't cut out for it and had to do something else, so I know about the stress and hard work that comes with it. I hope your new job will work out for you. And keep going with your writing dreams. :)

So glad Al inspired you. He is a treasure.

Michael Di Gesu said...


I have MISSED YOU SO MUCH!!!!! Sounds like your life has been spinning around like a top. I know you'll make it work. You, darling, are a survivor. You wit and perceptivity will get you where you need to go.

Of course, I know you better than most blogger and the little girl in you just wants to curl up on the couch with a good book… BUT, the woman in you will take the preverbal bull by the horns and MAKE her life happen.

God only knows I've had some year with many steps back and obstacles… BUT as you know I am the cock-eyed optimist and push myself into believing there is beauty in everything and every experience brings us closer to where we need to be.

No one really knows where their roads will lead them, but at least we have AMAZING company on our journeys…

Sending you a BRIGHT smile from sunny Florida. I have a few weeks here before returning to the frozen tundra of Chicago.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

You are a wonderful and talented writer, Donna. I loved that short story starring Cupid that you sent me. It was so original.

Hey if you're looking for a job in social work, look up the State of Utah in job listings. If you moved out here, the cost of living might be cheaper and you'd have a writer bud to go to coffee with.

farawayeyes said...

'Heaven is not beyond the clouds, it's just beyond the fear.'

Hang in there. Change is scary BUT it is GOOD. I hope you are pleasantly surprised with what 2014 has inh store for you.

Donna Hole said...

Alex; I know keep on goin :) I plan to stop by Al's today.

Ted; I can imagine your job should feed your creativity with ideas of intrigue and exotic locations. I'm still waiting to get to read your Midas story.

Pat: I agree 100 percent!

Diane: I have the greatest admiration and respect for foster parents.

LOL Dezzy; you're totally toooo young!

Chris: yes, words of wisdom. Thank you.

Rachna; I agree, Al is super sweet. I'll keep at the writing at my own pace :)

Denise: you're awesome Partner. XXOO Jet lag sounds wonderful, and I can't wait to read all about your whirlwind travels.

Hi DG; and thanks for the encouragement.

Joy; Al has a generous heart, and I'm sure things will work out. I'm an existentialist ya know :)

Hi Susan! Yeah, lots of hard times everywhere.

Al: a linky; I love linky’s! And I’m on the “this job is stressful and soul sucking” type of career, lol. I’m not sure there is such a thing as competency in Social Work, or in writing for that matter, and yes, passion may not be enough. Was this the video that inspired your Dragon Scales Award? I liked concept of taking the risk, and not being afraid to fail, or to disappoint family. I’ve taken my leap, and my knees are shaking, but I am so excited I can hardly sleep. Thank you for all your unwitting encouragement and inspiration. Whatever happens from here on is all about my commitment to the profession, and the balance of knowing when to take a breath and a half step away. Your hugs are most welcome! Be well and happy Sir.

Julie; I may find social work not to my liking either; but at least I'll give it a try. And at least you have experience to use in other areas of your life.

Michael; glad to see you are safely back in the States :) I worried about you. Soak up the sun and release all that positive energy into the blogs for all of us to enjoy. I love your attitude. I am sorry for all you "steps back" but I also feel blessed that those obstacles led you to writing, and to being such a good friend that I rely on. There is beauty in everything, even if it takes some distance to recognize it.

Mike the Phantom Reader; lol, your titles always make me giggle. I look forward to seeing each new creation. Thank you for reading, and enjoying, my Cupid story. And applying in Utah is tempting; I'm getting tired of California BS. I would love to sit at a coffee shop with you.

FAE: yes, it can only go up in 2014. Thanks for stopping by.


Lexa Cain said...

I think you've made the right decision. I've never been unhappier than when I chose work because of money. Now I always choose things because I think they suit me. I loved your tribute to Al. He's really special, isn't he? I think you're an excellent writer and hope you continue with it somehow. Good luck! :-)

Julie Dao said...

"I move on to the next adventure in my day life. I am intrigued. I am empowered. I am the author of my destiny."

Donna, YES to all of these things and more. You're such a wonderful person and it's clear from all of your entries how much you truly love to write. I think once you tell yourself that you are in control - and you focus on happiness first - that things will fall into place. You've had some hard times but you always pick yourself right back up. That kind of strength and ability will take you very far. <3

Yolanda Renee said...

So true the comment about the lottery and writing. I've earned more on scratch off tickets than book sales, and that was my last birthday - a friend gave me several tickets and I won $140!
Being happy with your choice is the secret to happiness - I think, obviously I don't know - cause I'm still trying to figure out my own life, and I do blame it on menopause, my third go around with it - LOL!
So glad to have you back today - you're an awesome writer and the publisher is out there!

klahanie said...

Hi Donna,

I'm so sorry to read about your job's termination. Yet, reading your thoughtful and transparent posting, I see you have faced the odds before and you have displayed determination.

Al, yourself, so many within this community, are the catalysts that make one realise just how much we have going for ourselves. You might find that the obstacles that challenged you will clear and your writing will bring the fulfilment you desire, that I know we all hope for you.

In kindness,


Donna Hole said...

Thank you Lexa; sometimes, life sends us signs and we just have to follow them. Al was one of those signs for me :)

Julie: I hope you are right :) Thank you.

Yolanda: my ex-hubby is supposed to "win" our fortune by playing the lotto and I'm supposed to "earn" it through my writing. So far, we are neck-n-neck in results, lol. Love you Darlin'.

Gary: One door closes and another opens; the story of life. Thank you for your kindness Sir.