Archive for April, 2012

It’s officially been three years.  Since what, you ask.  Since last I darkened the door of an office environment to work for someone else.  I was an office manager for a nice law firm, and then I wasn’t.  It came at a time in my life when I was really questioning what the hell I was doing and why, and was the answer I needed, if not the answer the checkbook wanted.

If you’ve read any of my past ramblings, you know I have spent the last three years trying to get another office job, while bitching about not wanting to at the same time.  I sent out hundreds of applications, only rarely landing an interview, and gradually lowering my standards until I ended up testing for a county job I had already done back in the ‘90’s.  I was really depressed about that for a long time.  Leaving 15 years of job experience and certifications and education on the shelf just to get something, anything for the paycheck.  Of course, I landed in the top tier of candidates on that test.  It took a couple of months, and then the calls started coming in for interviews.  Apparently the county budget had opened up and they were filling positions again.  In the span of five weeks I had four interviews with three different county departments.  One of those departments was the exact same one I had already worked five years for, in the exact same job, in the ‘90’s.  I figured I was a shoe in.  Within a couple days I had scheduled three more interviews for three other departments.  Then, one after another, the notification deadlines went by and I had no job offers.  None.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  For a job I had already done, to excellent reviews, for FIVE YEARS.  The exact same classification, the exact same county, the exact same department.  NADA.

That’s when I decided I was really and truly done.  Done with working for someone else, done with looking for a job I’d probably just hate anyway, done with subjecting myself to the standards of those life forms lower than me.  Done, done, done.

So I had a serious sit-down with the hubby.  We talked pros and cons, we looked at the bills, we hacked things off the list like machete-wielding banditos in the jungle.  And we decided it was possible.  It wouldn’t be easy.  It meant we’d be tap-dancing penny to penny for an unknown length of time.  It meant deciding that things we’d always said we couldn’t live without, we would now live without.

Most importantly, it meant my husband had faith in me.  And with that kind of backing, anything is possible.

So I am now strictly an independent contractor.  For a few hours in the afternoon, I’m a housewife, taking care of chores, errands, dinner while my husband spends the day schlepping things at work.  In the evenings, I work on projects for our hobby-turned-side-business while watching TV.  We’re not making a lot of money off that business, but it’s been enough to pay for our hobbies and give us a little extra for the occasional household expense.  It helps keep us sane.

At night, well… at night is when I’m a writer.

That was the decision.  A full and complete acceptance of the one fact I’ve been avoiding for most of my adult life.  Mind you, I wasn’t avoiding it out of fear.  Okay, maybe it was fear, but it’s the fear associated with not paying the bills, not having the things everybody expects you to have, not living the life we’ve been told we should all be living.  I’ve been different my whole life, picked on mercilessly in school – you’d think I’d be used to it by now.  But there’s a part in each of us that desperately, feverishly wants to fit in, to be part of the club.  I finally managed to shut that bitch up.

I am who I am.  My creative nature has been with me since the day of my birth.  Music came first, then writing, then needlework and weaving and all the other things I’ve dabbled in over the years of my life.  But writing has always been the one outlet I’ve needed the most.  It is always with me.  Even when I’m not actually writing, I’m writing.  Things are always going on in my head – characters showing up out of the blue, scenes playing on some internal Caille-o-scope, plot-lines, worlds, gadgets, etc…

Now it is all free to romp without fetters.

My first novel is complete and I’m querying agents, using sources like Preditors & Editors, Writer Beware and Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents to wind my way through the craggy mine fields of the publishing industry.

I’m on the first draft of a new novel, as well.  Something that came to me out of a fan-fic writing exercise and then turned into something entirely its own.  Handwriting it on 60lb bond paper with a fountain pen.  Nothing like it.

A completed short story is being fished around for a home, another one has been entered into a contest and a couple more are languishing on my desk as I fumble through this monster I’m creating in green ink.

I’m trying to blog more.  (See?? Here I am!)

I do the occasional edit/polish/or-flat-out-typing job for a couple business clients.

I also have subscriptions to e-letters from FundsforWriters and the Creative Competitor, which list contests, grants, workshops and job opportunities from all over.

And I even applied for a grant from the Speculative Literature Foundation.  Can you believe they have one specifically for older writers who are just getting their pro game on?  How cool is that!?!

I’ve also joined FanStory, an on-line writers community where you can get your work critiqued by other writers, enter contests, or just read lots of stuff written by all levels of writers from all over the world.

And there’s so much more out there.  The Internet has made it so much easier to be an entrepreneur in these modern times, just as it has made it so much harder to filter all the information into our tiny little brains.  Modern technology is allowing me to work from home and not spend months and months waiting for something in the mail.  I can do research, video chat with an agent, and play my favorite tunes all without leaving my desk.  For someone who doesn’t get enough exercise to start with, it might not be the best thing for my physical health.

But finally doing what I really want, what I have ALWAYS wanted, full time, damn the bank account, screw the nay-sayers – that has given me a boost in my mental health the world’s best pharmaceuticals couldn’t manage.

So here I am, world.  Casting about in the sea of uncertainty, hoping something bites on one of my hooks while baiting the next one.  Man, I love the air out here.


© 2012  Cheri K. Endsley.  All Rights Reserved.




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