So here's a little bit of the story of what has led me to this point. It's incomplete, but you'll get the general idea. And it only is about my writing, since that's all that matters here.
When I was a kid I was always creating stories in my head. I think we all do that. And I never bothered to write anything down. I had my writing assignments in school and enjoyed it, but I was generally too busy out doing things to sit at a desk and write. When I got to college I didn't have time to write for fun, nor did my classes involve much creative writing. I didn't think much about it.
After grad school I had to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Never quite nailed that one. So I ended up teaching in various capacities. And I was pretty good at it. My professional career has been a mix of teaching/training/managing/administrating. But I never stayed at one thing too long, and never saw any of my jobs as my future.
Along the way I kept creating stories in my head. And I started writing them down as well. Not whole stories. That would take too much effort and discipline. I mostly jotted down the outline of the story, even if I had all the details sorted in my mind. Sometimes I would write scenes, something particular that interested me. And I always thought that writing would be my ultimate future. Someday I would actually start doing it.
And about two years ago I decided that the future was now. But I didn't just jump into it. I decided to start looking into it. Investigating it. Researching it. And most importantly, working at it. I started writing complete stories. Short ones at first. Never my forte, but good exercises. I started working on character development, dialogue and narrative. I had plenty of ideas and outlines that I had built up over the years, but I needed to learn how to develop them.
At the same time I started figuring out what a career as a writer entailed. And what it might take to make it happen. Writing can mean many different things, but I knew I wanted to be a novelist. And while there are a lot of steps on the way, the first thing you need is a novel. So after a year of working on stories and technique I started The Novel.
It was from an idea I had several years ago. A modern love story that I thought had good commercial appeal. It took a month to outline it. Two months for a rough draft. Several months of revisions and editing with feedback from a few select readers. But I ended up with a book that I really like and am proud of. It was time to try to get it published.
I'll probably go more into the pursuit of publication in more detail at some point, but suffice it to say that so far my novel is unpublished. Not that I've given up, but I needed to pursue other things. To keep writing. On a break from my editing The Novel (breaks are very necessary to get away and give perspective) I expanded on a previous story I had written. It was a short story that had turned into a novella, and now it turned into a second novel. Now I had two books with no publisher (and no agent). So while I had not made any progress on the professional side of writing, I had satisfied myself that it's something I can do. That's really where it starts: I believe I can do this.
All of this happened while still working my day job. Now was the time for the leap of faith. I had been saving money and was close to my target: enough to live off for a year. So I quit my job. And I officially became an unemployed writer.
And that's where we are now. I have a new book planned. The writing has started. I am still searching for an agent and looking into self-publishing options. I have a year and we will see how it goes.