Intense and utter jealousy. That’s how I feel right now. I just finished reading the Bobiverse trilogy by Dennis E. Taylor. I’m insanely jealous over the fact that I wasn’t the one to write this series of books.
(*Side note . . . by “read” I really mean listen. Between the Day Job, the Hubby and Kiddo, and everything else, I have no time to read, are you kidding me? For the last couple of years, all my “reading” has been in the form of listening to audio books purchased through Audible, or borrowed from my local library through the Overdrive app.)
First, if you’re a fan of straight-up science-y science fiction, then this is a great set of books. Computers, aliens, artificial intelligence, space travel–without any harsh language, over the top gore for the sake of gore, or over the top passionate affairs appreciated mostly by teenage boys. Just pure science fiction.
But finishing a book or a set of books like this also makes me feel kind of lousy, too. Not surprising, since “lousy” is part of “jealousy.” It’s the fact that I can’t (yet) point to the same sense of accomplishment. What’s worse is that at the beginning of the third book in this trilogy, there’s an author’s note where he talks about thanking his wife for supporting him in his decision to work on this full time.
Full time! Is that the only way to get a book done?
I know it’s not. In fact, there are lots of people who have managed to complete and publish books — good books — while maintaining their other life commitments. The History channel gave us one list. Not as inspiring as I would have hoped; given the exception of Toni Morrison, none of these are modern writers with the same kind of commitments you and I have.
In fact, Mr. Taylor didn’t quit his own Day Job until he’d published already. He wrote a significant portion of his works with that commitment.
Every now and then I do have the thought of what it would be like to quit the Day Job and write full time. When I have these thoughts, I realize I’m not ready for that. Maybe I never will be. My day job (as a software engineer) adds a lot to my life. Of course there’s the tangible financial security with health benefits. That alone is worth so much, if only to not have the stress of knowing that I can make the mortgage payment. But as a mostly introvert, a lot of my social interaction comes from work. Especially since I’m around similar people to myself and in our down time, I can even talk to some of my coworkers about my writing ideas knowing that these people are not fellow writers, but potentially fellow readers. It’s unofficial beta time with a potential audience.
Lastly, I get that dedicated commuting time where I can read/listen to a variety of stuff to get jealous, learn from, and remain motivated to someday join that group of science fiction writers that someone else will read, fall in love with my work, and daydream about doing the same thing, too.