Five years ago I wrote a blog post on my birthday called “Today I am 36“. It’s funny to look back on and think about my state of mind at the time. Writing was still what I considered a “hobby”, but it was a hobby I was coming to understand that I could not live without.

Now, five years later, I have two books published, and a third scheduled for the end of the year. Writing is not a job that can pay the bills – not even remotely – but it’s definitely no longer a hobby. It’s an unstoppable drive that I must fulfill with every chance I get.

I still pine for free time. Even more so now than I did back then. I used to have a job I was comfortable putting 40 hours a week into and no more. The pay wasn’t something I could complain about, but it wasn’t stellar, and there were other aspects about it that wore me down. In order for me to be happy in that job, I had to make sure I wasn’t putting in extra unpaid hours. For the past four years, I’ve had a different job. An incredible job. I’m immensely proud of the products I’ve helped develop and the leadership I’ve shown. It’s awesome. But 40 hours a week? Hah. Hahaha. Hahahahaha. No. How many hours a week do I work now?

ALL HOURS OF EVERY WAKING MOMENT.

Author with birthday wine and balloon.
Author with birthday wine and balloon.

Ahem. But I still make time for writing. I still make time for spending with my wife. It’s stupid hard to make that time. I mean, come on … “make time”? What does that even mean? Shit if I know. Somehow I do it. Somehow I work my ass off and still manage to write books. And write blog posts, and work around the house, and take trips out of town with my love, and go for a beer with a friend, and sometimes just sit and read. I’m just done complaining about lack of free time. There is no free time. There’s just time.

So now I’m 41. What’s the next five years going to look like? I’m not really sure. I’m working on the third book of The Dome Trilogy. I have another book that I had to set aside so that I could do the trilogy, and that crazy thing is patiently waiting for me to come back to it. It’s very done, but I need to go through the process of finding an agent and all that jazz. And I have a couple of other books in me that keep pushing their way to the surface. I will write those. And work will continue to get more and more intense, because that’s what it is. I love my job and I love to lead, and so it means I’m going to continue to put in the extra effort for it. But I’m never going to let it keep me from writing.

As I said before, in the preface to his collection of essays, Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury says:

I have learned, on my journeys, that if I let a day go by without writing, I grow uneasy. Two days and I am in tremor. Three and I suspect lunacy. Four and I might as well be a hog, suffering the flux in a wallow. An hour’s writing is tonic.

I just wanted to repeat that.

Oh, did I mention the second book in my trilogy came out a couple of weeks ago? Well it did,  on February 25th. So go read it, goddamnit: Unclear Skies, book 2 of The Dome Trilogy. That’s my birthday wish!