Wednesday, October 05, 2005

It's Finally Sinking In

It's been almost exactly a month since I quit my job to take up writing full-time. I've actually been more busy since leaving NASA than I was when I was working there (and I was tremendously busy then). On the other hand, I've found that I am much less stressed out than I was before, even though I'm finding that I have to work harder and longer. The difference, I think, is that it is me that's driving me forward and not a boss. Also, the drive is, for the most part, from projects that I want to do, not those that have been forced on me by an often-clueless NASA bureaucracy. I'm also trying to do a wide range of projects, which significantly increases the amount of work, but keeps the interest level high. Not only am I writing articles for magazines and working on my novel, I'm also finishing up my Ph.D., teaching two astronomy classes a week, and working half time for NASA finishing up the projects we had committed to before I left (this is the only part of my life that is still being pushed on me). While I can't say as I actually enjoy the curriculum writing I'm doing for NASA, the two projects I have left to do (and I'm almost finished with one of them) are fairly interesting as these things go. The half-time paycheck is nice, but is mostly going to paying off our home equity loan, so I'm not really seeing much of the benefit there. The work will stop at the end of February, thank goodness, although I have enough vacation built up to keep me getting paid at half-time rates until the beginning of next summer. That's the payback for working for five years without getting to take a vacation, I guess. I'll be glad when it's over, though.

This semester I'm writing my comprehensive examination for my Ph.D. and also need to re-write my thesis proposal, so that's taken on a bit of a priority. If I finish both these tasks this semester, then ASU will pay for the 12 hours of dissertation credit that I need next semester, so there's about $3600 at stake in finishing this. Once this is done, I'll have a couple of semesters of reserach and I should be able to defend. So, these part-time projects will be slowly winding down, which allows me to slowly phase doing nothing but writing. I plan on teaching forever, but I may start teaching some education classes (including one on storytelling!) as well as astronomy.

It's finally sinking in that I don't have to go back to work, though. Today was the first day that my life working here at home seemed normal and natural. About the only thing that could make me happier would be if we were living on the beach in Florida, but I think I can deal with that. :)

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