James Dashner, author of The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Tales (reviewed, interestingly enough, just yesterday by Fantasy Debut), is living the dream. Or, he "likely" will be:
James Dashner is a number cruncher by day and an architect of children's fantasy novels by night.
This West Jordan accountant/author has battled for years between his creative right brain and his logical left in deciding which career path to follow.
Now, with a national book contract in hand, Dashner says he likely will quit his budgeting job...and choose the right - brain.
It's encouraging to see someone "making it" after reading this piece of somber news.
I can relate to the left/right brain allusion more than others perhaps: I'm a software engineer by day trying to fulfill the creative end at nights and in my free time (I work with accountants, too, but that's another story). Dashner is, without a doubt, ahead of my game: He's under contract for a "five book series" from Shadow Mountain Publishing, but has a handful of books to his name already. Congrats go to James not only for showing some longevity but also for taking the plunge and saying good-bye to the stability of his accounting job for the potential uncertainties of life as a writer.
You often hear straight from the horse's mouth (successful authors, that is) not to quit your day job until your writing makes up a certain percentage of your current income. That percentage is without a doubt a personal threshold--we all grow accustomed to a certain lifestyle and have different tolerances for sacrifice. It also depends on if you are the sole money-maker in your household or not, how many dependents you have, etc.
We still want to achieve our writing goals, though, and so it becomes an issue of balance. Dashner understood this balance. He worked his day job while writing in his free time for eight years. Only with the security of a multi-book deal in hand did he jettison the day job to focus on his writing full-time.
Good luck to him. I hope I get there someday, too.
Quitting his day job - Salt Lake Tribune