Sunday, February 05, 2006

Debt-Free (almost)

Today was something of a major milestone for me (and my family): As of today we have paid off all of our loans, debts, etc., with the exception of the house and one of our two cars. And there was much rejoicing! I had a bunch of student loans from grad school to pay off (interestingly, I didn't need any loans as an undergrad), plus car payments and VISA and such, but we managed to consolidate most of that into the home equity line of credit once I decided to leave NASA (had to lower those monthly payments). We've been doing really well paying down the line of credit and today we were able to make a massive payment to pay it all off! That's a huge relief, since I will stop working for NASA part time at the end of the month, so our income is going to be cut even further. I'm teaching four classes and selling an average of an article a month (which still isn't big bucks, but it helps), plus we have my military retirement pay and my wife's full-time teaching job (and benefits), so we're doing okay. It's still tight, but without the added debt load, we'll make it.

One thing every full-time writer is going to struggle with is how to pay the bills. Let's face it, even when writing pays, it doesn't pay well and it doesn't pay often. None of us (at least none of us who stop and really think about it) gets into writing to strike it rich. My family cut its income by 40% when I quit my NASA job, so certainly money isn't my major motivating factor. I simply decided that no amount of money could make up for wasting my life not doing what I really was meant to be doing.

I can't think of a better reason to take up writing.

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