Monday, November 9, 2015

A Year Gone Write

It's been a year of big changes for me, and for the first time in my life, I'm making a living solely off of my writing. Not off royalties from book or short story sales, mind you, but off of my writing, nonetheless.

The New Home Office (AKA Where the magic happens.)

For the previous dozen or so years, the vast majority of my income has come from teaching writing at Chapman University and the Orange County School of Arts, as well as at a few other institutions. I supplemented my part-time, adjunct teaching income with freelance writing/editing work and various odd jobs.

Royalties from my novel and short story sales have been, and continue to be, negligible. I'm happy when royalty checks come in, but they're more of a surprise bonus than a reliable or financially meaningful source of income.

Enjoying a growler from Drake's Brewery
on our 1-year Anniversary

One year ago, October, I got married. My wife and I  had already been together for numerous years, and our marriage was a symbol of our next phase of life together in more ways than one. We took a hard look at where we were with our careers and realized we were stuck. Yes, I had a new novel coming out, in Souldrifter, but I was in no better position financially to be able to devote more time to writing novels than I was when we first met six years prior. My wife, a musician and music teacher, was in the same boat. The life of an adjunct instructor means no guarantee of work, no medical or financial benefits, and pay rates that are laughable compared to most any other career.

We decided a change of venue was in order, to get us out of our comfort zones, both professionally and creatively. That started with a move from Southern California to the Bay Area. I took on a temporary contract position with GuideSpark as a content writer, and from July through October, I worked in Silicon Valley, cranking out workplace communication videos with a great group of creative folks, including writers, motion graphic designers, and QC specialists. The work itself wasn't particularly creative, and the hours were grueling, but I made a lot of friends and the job made the transition possible for my wife and I.

It's been a tough transition, and I've not been able to devote much time to sharing news with readers about The Dreamwielder Chronicles, but as of two weeks ago, I'm officially working from home as a freelancer, doing everything from developmental editing on books and ghost writing, to voice-driven content for corporate clients. It's both liberating and terrifying. Every day I'm learning about something new with my client work, and my writing and editing skills are staying well-exercised. But as anyone who runs their own business can tell you, it's daunting knowing that you not only have to go out and find your own clients, but deliver top quality work if you have any hope of paying rent next month.

The end goal is to find better balance between client work and my own writing. That means you'll hopefully see new fiction from me more frequently, and maybe even more regular updates here on my blog. I'll also hopefully have more flexibility for attending conferences and conventions, and also teaching the occasional writing workshops.

In the meantime, if you haven't heard, the new edition of Dreamwielder is out, and so too is book 2 in the series, Souldrifter. Pick up copies if haven't already. You can also read a free excerpt from Souldrifter over at Black Gate magazine. And if you have freelance writing or editing work you need done, I'm always looking for good clients to work with!

More news soon. I promise!

-Garrett Calcaterra


  1. Wahoo! Fun changes, and congrats on moving up closer to Oregon! A visit soon should be in order.

    1. Thanks, and you're right. I haven't been to Oregon in ages!