Sunday, April 15, 2012


"Working for yourself has never been more dangerous," wrote a friend of mine in response to an email I'd sent him. "Working for someone else has also never been more dangerous. Dumping what you've done for years is extremely dangerous, but it can also be the essential ingredient to ascending to the next level."

In case you didn't guess, this was in response to an email from me expressing my current state-of-mind, which can best be described as uncertain about what to focus on for my next step.

When I left my staff job of five years (which is in the industry I've worked in my entire adult life) in March of 2011, it wasn't to get away from comic books (which I didn't, since I worked part-time from the road, still am, and have recently added freelance editing for Marvel back to my list of responsibilities). No, it was to celebrate the ten-year-anniversary of, to exercise those seat-of-the-pants chops, to write on the fly, to remember how to react to unexpected twists and turns of the road. People are often horrified at the level of inconvenience I throw myself into with traveling, as am I at the time, but I live for this, the most inconvenient, uncomfortable experience imaginable. I cry tears of frustration during the actual experience, and end up with good material later.

And, of course, to jumpstart myself out of my routine in hopes that I'd find another book in me.

I now find myself perplexed as to my next step. I'm doing great as a freelance comic book editor at the moment, but this sort of thing can dry up in a minute. And as a freelancer, there is time available for me to actually work on my book proposal for Curse of the Hippo, which has been hanging over me for years.

But there is also time to write when working on-staff somewhere. I could probably get a job and still write. But then...where would I go looking for a job? Is it time to branch out of comic books?

I took a look at some job boards and things looked terribly dull out there. I don't know if moving into traditional publishing would be the best idea given the state of panic that industry is in, unless they were books about things I'm interested in (like online media or travel). Also, publishing doesn't pay very well. And last I checked, the point of having a job was to make money.

I'd love to do something with print-on-demand or publishing to the iPad, so I'll keep my eyes open for jobs like that.

But when I look at jobs, I keep wondering if it might not be better to sit tight and make comic books. I know them, they're fun, and I know what i'm doing.

But then, working as a freelance comic book editor doesn't come with health insurance. I have to buy my own. But as a freelancer, I can take time off to travel. That's not going to happen if I get a job.

Should I still be traveling? Should I even be thinking about that at this point? Shouldn't I be buckling down to book-writing? But travel is what I do.

And so I go, around and around. Job? Freelance? Where does writing and travel fit in?

Where indeed.


robert said...

Of course you should travel... it's what you do. :) (or appears to do, to your groupies :) ) We have 9-x jobs + kids and don't go anywhere. You do it for us. :)

The recent health care law (aka Obamacare) should make getting individual insurance much easier and cheaper... as long as the Supreme Court or the next Congress doesn't trash it.

The only true "job" security is a cushion in the bank. You never had it under contract and no longer have it working for someone else.

Marie Javins said...

I suppose the real question is what can I do now, today, to ensure I'm not un-employable at 50, 60...