T+0: Independence Day

Last November, I dropped a hint that my world had turned upside down and my priorities were all shaken up.

Finally, I can tell you what’s going on!

The short version is: after 8 months of preparation, I left my full-time job today to try to make it as an indie author before my money runs out.

Here’s the long version.

Working

I was a DevOps/Software Team Lead building out infrastructure-as-code, evangelising site reliability engineering, promoting collaboration across global teams and all that cool stuff.

I mean, c’mon, check out this endorsement:

“She exemplifies what it means to work as a true DevOps engineer - having a firm grasp of both core development skills and the know-how to operate enterprise software in production.

Early in our journey to public cloud, she was a thought-leader on a small but pioneering team that found themselves at the tip of the spear for building in AWS at TR. Many of her contributions have influenced areas of central adoption of AWS in our enterprise, especially in some of the core “non-functional” areas (e.g. security, software delivery, instrumentation, and operations).

Cariad is a pleasure to work with and would be an extremely valuable addition to any project!”

Brian Schuweiler Head of Architecture at Thomson Reuters

Pretty cool, right?

I bloody loved that job. In fact, The Barossa Manifesto in the photo describes the guiding principal of our team, and we had it laminated and pinned up at the office. And… uh… I pilfered it on my way out, because I adore it.

Laminated print of The Barossa Manifesto.

Wondering

Despite my love for the code I was crafting, something was missing. I’d wanted to write stories since forever, but I wasn’t.

Storytelling was something that “other people” could do, but not me. And that right there was the delusion that held me back.

I noodled with some stories in secret, though. I started buying books about how to write, to see if it was a trick I could learn. Those books blew my mind. Turns out that writing is a process and not magic.

In July 2016 – almost exactly three years ago todayJoanna Penn’s The Successful Author Mindset appeared in my Amazon recommendations.

It changed my life.

Screenshot of the The Successful Author Mindset on Amazon.

This book convinced me that I could be an author, and perhaps – for my own happiness – that I should try. So I got serious. I made time for writing and learning.

Around this time, I also discovered Michael La Ronn’s Author Level Up YouTube channel. And wow, my confidence, understanding and joy for writing has only multiplied since I subscribed to his channel!

My plan was to keep working at it, five nights a week and every weekend. My plan was to write books, publish books, and – one day, if I was lucky – to have my indie income supplant my day-job’s.

That was the plan.

Opportunity

So, back to last November. I was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a break from full-time employment and try to make it on my own.

It wasn’t without risk, for sure. Many details can’t and won’t be discussed, which is why I had to keep the whole thing such a damned secret. But when would I ever get an opportunity like this again?

I had a think. I talked to my friends and colleagues. And honestly, the choice that was right for me quickly became obvious.

I had to take it!

So what’s The Plan?

My big goal is simple:

My goal is to have enough cash in the bank in July 2020 to support another year of creative independence.

My goal isn’t wealth or fame. My goal is to just be good enough that I can keep doing what I love doing.

My plan to achieve this is:

  • Freelance writing gigs like articles and software documentation.
  • Freelance blogging gigs like event coverage; live-blogging, photography and videography.
  • Freelance coding gigs like sponsorship to work on open-source projects and short-term contracts.
  • Write and publish a non-fiction book by Q4 2019.
  • Write and publish a fiction book by Q4 2019.
  • Write and publish a second non-fiction book by Q2 2020.
  • Write and publish a second fiction book by Q2 2020.

I’ll be blogging about it all right here, and I hope you’ll join me!

Reaching out for help

If you want to know how you can help, it’s super easy.

I don’t have a Patreon, and I’m not asking for money. All I ask is:

  • If you like something I write, share it.
  • If I’d be a good fit for a project, let me know.

That’s it!

The New Normal

Today will be my final day in the office, where I’ll be giving my emotional goodbyes then getting slightly smashed at a whiskey bar.

Tomorrow, I’ve got an exciting little guest post to wrap up, and I’ll let you all know when that’s published. And then I’ll spend a bit of time on Sunday planning out the following week.

But basically, after everything, this is going to be a low-key weekend. After 8 months of preparation leading up to today, I’m ready to take a rest until the rest of my life begins on Monday.

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