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That is what you get with Dawn of Destiny, by Lee Stephen. The slick production of the audio version of this book is a real treat. The story is some good old fashioned sci-fi fare like the classic tales we fell in love with. There is an entire universe here and we get a look at a very small part as this first book in the series unfolds. Stephens does an excellent job of introducing us to how thing work here, and his characters are guides as much as anything else.
The narrative is slick, fast paced, and full of enough action to keep you wanting to go on well past your bed time. There are a few times when I found myself stopping to really digest not just the story, but the depth of what was going on in the underlying tones set my Stephen.
Much like the real world we live in, you will meet hard working, and very "human" characters in this story that you can identify with and rally behind. This is not just one action scene on another with space as a back drop. This is a real, fleshed out tale that sucks you in and invites you to stay.
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We all know the dream. We all have it. Quit the day job and become a full-time writer! It’s what everyone envisions when they set out on their writing journey. We can so easily envision our future selves, looking out the window of a log cabin over a lake, with a laptop on the desk and a coffee in hand. It’s a romanticized look at writing, but it’s one we all aspire to reach someday. And there’s nothing wrong with that! The pitfall comes when we prematurely decide, “now is the time,” and quit our full-time jobs to pursue writing with every fiber of our being and every minute in our day.
You see, there’s a harsh reality about writing as an occupation—and really, this could be said about art in general. It doesn’t pay much. In fact, most people couldn’t live on it for six months. Now, there are a lot of writers out there who sell very, very well, and they’ll be the first people to tell you that yes, it can be done. And it can! But there’s another factor in play that many of them don’t like to admit: that in order to sell very, very well, a certain degree of luck is involved. Now obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people are too good to be held down. But by in large, much like getting struck by lightning, a lot of author success has to do with being in the right place at the right time. So what are we to do?
Get a job, and keep a job. There are many writers who consider getting a job “surrendering” to the working world. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, having a job can supplement your writing. It can give you the capital to pursue big things—to aim high. Editors cost money, designers cost money, cover artists cost money. Quality production can carry a hefty price tag! You want to be able to foot that bill. Because of my day job with Homeland Security, I was able to afford the production cost of a $10,000 audiobook adaptation of Dawn of Destiny, complete with a full cast of 30+ actors and full music and effects. Because I was able to afford that kind of quality without breaking my own personal bank, I was able to produce something that not every author has the financial capability to produce. The result? The Dawn of Destiny audiobook went on to win New Apple’s 2014 Audiobook of the Year and Best New Fiction. None of that would have been possible without my day job. My day job directly benefited my writing career and made certain things possible that wouldn’t have been otherwise.
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1. Getting a job is hard in today’s economy. If you have one at all, that’s a blessing.
2. A house note, car notes, and utilities could easily run you $2,000 – 3,000 a month. Food could run you another $500-1,500, depending on family size. Can your book sales guarantee you bring in that much income every month for the rest of your life?
3. What happens if something like the dreaded c-word (cancer) strikes? You’re not talking about a medical bill of a few hundred dollars. A year of treatment could cost well over six figures. Don’t think it can’t happen to you; it happened to me. Health benefits from an employer can literally save you from financial ruin.
4. A couple decades at an employer can ensure you and your family retirement paychecks for the rest of their lives. Though none of us can fathom it now, what happens if one day we don’t feel like writing anymore? Or if the market changes? Is what you have in the bank account right now enough to last forever?
5. What happens if you start a family? Think you’ll still have all the time in the world to write? HA! When you’re spending months sleeping in two-hour increments and using the bathroom with a baby in one hand and your lunch in the other (if you’re a parent, you know this is true), I’ve got news for you…writing is going to go bye-bye real quick. When you have kids, your job actually becomes a break!
Remember that there is nothing wrong or surrender-indicative about having a day job. I have one, and even if my writing skyrockets my bank account to never-before seen heights, I’ll still continue to clock in and clock out with Homeland Security. It’s a steady income, health insurance, and retirement. Why the heck wouldn’t I keep it?
The purpose of this is not to dash dreams. By all means, dream on! It’s what we do best. But take care of yourself financially and alleviate the stress that can come from having to support yourself with writing alone. The best way to do that, and to supplement your writing in the meantime, is with a job. You might find that the “dream life” is closer to the mundane than you think.
So tell me, those of you who write and have full-time jobs, how do you balance your time between the two? Let me know in the comments!