Deciding to write full time was always a dream, but didn't become an honest possibility until 2019. I was living in a nice little apartment in town with my two girls and our dog and cat. Life was okay. I worked two jobs to support us, plus wrote my own books, and ghostwrote books for others to make ends meet. I was working 14-16 hours a day and life was okay. We were making it. We had the means to travel a lot, go camping and do things we enjoyed. There was always the confines of work, though, as my hospital job and EMS job often required longer hours that planned, emergencies, high stress, and honestly, weekends spent on the couch trying to recharge.
And then my spine broke.
I had emergency spinal surgery to save my mobility after my C-spine vertebra broke for no good reason and compressed my spinal cord, paralyzing me. It was, of course, terrifying. My partner of three years rushed me two hours away for the surgery and kept everyone updated during the six hour procedure. And then he took me to his house and said, "You can't go back to the apartment. Not like this. You're staying here."
So, I stayed, knowing that profound change had just happened. I considered the moment of my surgery as my Day One. A marker of shifted tides, a blank page, a new start. An uncertain new start.
I knew it would take months and months of therapy to learn to walk properly. It did. I knew in my heart that I wouldn't be going back to work anytime soon. I didn't. And when we got a puppy to be my therapy dog-- who attached to me very quickly-- I realized there was no way I could leave him alone all day while I tried to get back into the workforce. I couldn't.
So we looked at each other one night and Brian said, "I think this is it. This is when you start writing full time."
I had another Day One.
Physically, I couldn't go back to the traditional work force. My body wasn't up for it. What no one tells you after ACDF spinal surgery, is how bad the depression is, how often you cry for hours over nothing, and how much your body will physically hurt. Something about tinkering with the cervical spine causes deep, unrelenting depression for many patients for months after surgery. *Raises hand* Yeah. I spent hours crying and sitting on the bathroom floor. Hours. On top of hours of therapy to get my legs to work, and fighting chronic pain in my arms, neck and back. It was a nightmare. So, we set up an ergonomic desk at the couch that could be transferred to the bed, and I started writing.
It took five months to recover enough that I was functional for more than 2-3 hours at a time. So I wrote Axxeon King's Captive, from bed, and then I plotted the rest of the series and dug into writing those. I landed two contracts to write for other people, which honestly, paid the bills. And then the Axxeon books started to do well and things were looking promising! The day I got my first sustainable royalty check from Amazon, I counted yet another Day One.
It was another new start: Making live-able money by doing what I enjoyed, in this changed life that wasn't at all what I had planned for myself.
And then COVID hit.
And we had another Day One. All of us, together, didn't we? The entire world had a Day One, and if you're like me, you've probably had a few more sprinkled in, in the year since the virus came.
How many Day One's do we get? I imagine as many as we want. The importance of recognizing your Day Ones comes from realizing that there are fresh starts around every corner. Some new starts aren't fresh. They aren't fun at all. They can be challenging, life changing. They can come one after another, pummeling you. It can be really hard.
But around the corner comes another Day One, maybe a little easier this time.
What connects them all? Growth. Moving forward and growing connects the dots and allows you to use all of your Day Ones as stepping stones. You're making a path for your ever changing life.
In my new book Detained by the Alien Enforcer, our heroine Persephone learns about her Day One and the others that may follow. I mean, I suppose getting abducted by aliens is pretty significant life change, right? ;)
Luckily, life has settled down a little bit and I like to start my normal days with a sunrise, or end them with a sunset.
What about you? Have you had any Day Ones recently? If not, I bet you will. Good or bad, you'll be ok!