I’d like to thank Claire Boston for this guest post about how redundancy can be a good thing. Claire was a voracious reader as a child, devouring anything by Enid Blyton as well as series such as Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. Then one school holidays when she’d run out of books to read, her mum handed her ‘Hot Ice’ by Nora Roberts and she instantly fell in love with romance novels. The love of reading soon turned to a love of writing and Claire struggled to keep within the 1500 word limit set by her teachers for any creative writing assignments. When she finally decided to become serious about her stories, she joined Romance Writers of Australia, found her wonderful critique group and hasn’t looked back. Claire lives in Western Australia, just south of Perth, with her husband, who loves even her most annoying quirks, and her grubby, but adorable Australian bulldog. You can follow Claire on Twitter and Facebook or visit her website for more information.
How Redundancy Can Be A Good Thing
In September last year I was told my role was no longer required at the company I’d been working at for the last ten years. As you can imagine, it came as a bit of a surprise! I went through the normal feelings of shock, anger and fear, and I was so completely lost on my first official day as an unemployed person. I had no routine. There was nowhere I had to be, no one I needed to speak to, nothing I needed to do.
I wandered around the house in a daze for a little while before I realised I had been handed an amazing opportunity. You see, I’m a writer. I write contemporary romance and it had always been difficult for me to find enough time in the day to write. Now I had hours.
As that light bulb went off in my head I also realised that my redundancy package would allow me to spend the next year pursuing my dream of being a full-time writer. I crunched the numbers to double-check, discussed it with my husband, and we both decided it was too good an opportunity to ignore.
12 Months to Write
Twelve months seems like such a long time, but I knew it would be very easy to fritter it away if I wasn’t careful. So I made a plan – a business plan to be exact. What did I want to achieve by the end of the year?
- I have three romance novels contracted to Momentum that I need to deliver
- I want to learn more about marketing and promotion so I can get the sales I need to continue writing full-time
- My website needs revamping for a more professional look
- I need to set myself up as a business, including all financial aspects
- I have a number of fantasy novels sitting on my computer and need to decide what to do with them: find a publisher or self-publish?
First the contracted stuff: I downloaded a yearly planner from the internet and pencilled in all my contracted time – writing the novels, editing, proof-reading and promotion.
Next the training: I searched for relevant marketing, website developing and finance courses that I could take and enrolled in a few (Hint: YouTube is a fantastic resource to learn about creating a website). Where I couldn’t find anything, I contacted people and developed my own course.
Finally the extra writing: How many novels did I think I could write in the rest of the year? I’ll admit I’m a fast writer. During National Novel Writing Month I wrote an 80,000 word romance novel. Add another 4 weeks of editing to that time, and the book is done. My fantasy novels are slightly longer – 110,000 words so I estimated three months for those. So add a fantasy and a couple of contemporary romances to my list of books to write.
My day now looks like this:
- 5.30am: An hour or so at the gym to make sure my health is cared for
- 8am – 5pm: The work day. I review my weekly plan and decide which items I’ll complete. The weekly plan is derived from my yearly/quarterly/monthly plans.
- Evenings: Reading. I like to keep up to date with what others are writing in my genre, or I might read a book for research or training
- Weekends: For the first time in 9 years, no writing is required on the weekend. They’re free to do whatever I like (which may include writing – I’m kind of addicted)
So my redundancy has turned out to be a complete blessing. When have you turned a negative into a positive?
Here’s the blurb for my new novel, All That Sparkles which is released on April 23, 2015. You can preorder it here:
Imogen Fontaine is living every girl’s dream. She is a fashion designer for her family’s haute couture label, lives in a mansion, has a great circle of friends and is the apple of her father’s eye. Everything is perfect. Until the day that Christian, the boy at the center of her childhood heartbreak, walks back into her life. From there her life starts to unravel, as long-kept secrets are revealed. Imogen learns that her past was built on lies and betrayal, shattering the illusion of her perfect existence. She must seek out the truth if she has any hope of forging a new path for herself and discovering true freedom. But can she convince Christian that there is a place for him in her new life?