Lucky Thirteens

In the spring of 2008, I changed my life.

I was 34 years old, and for the previous 13 years–starting when I graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in computer science–I had been working in Silicon Valley as a software engineer, mostly coding web apps, making decent money but not feeling fulfilled creatively. What I really wanted to do, what I’d dreamed of since childhood, was to be a professional fiction writer.

2008 was when my wife and I made “the writer move.” We saved up some money, quit our jobs, and relocated to the Pacific Northwest. Our plan was to spend about three years figuring out this writing thing. I fully expected I’d have to get another day job when our savings ran out, but hoped that by then I’d have found a way to fit creative writing into my life in a way that hadn’t been possible back in California.

(You can read more about our 2008 adventures in my 2018 LOCUS Magazine interview and on the blog Travels With Our Cats.)

Well, it’s now 13 years since we made that big move, and our circumstances have definitely changed. Mostly for the better. I’ve published two novels and a bunch of short fiction, I’ve worked on some really cool collaborative projects, I’m finding my place in the wider genre writing community, and our household finances are stable enough that I can continue pursuing writing as a career indefinitely.

This spring, after 13 years of living in the same apartment, we bought a house.

We had talked about moving last year, before covid-19 hit and put everything on hold. But once we reached 2021, we revisited our annual family goals and decided to go forward with house hunting. We wanted to stay in our current city, but after having experienced the pandemic for several months, we wanted a little more space that we could customize to our liking.

I suspect this next phase of our life will be headlined “home ownership.” 😬

We’ve been very fortunate in a lot of ways, but we’ve also been able to take advantage of new opportunities because of good planning up front and a supportive partnership. Things don’t always go the way we expected or want them to. But we’ve helped each other throughout, and done our best to keep the promises we made when we got married.

I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today without my wife, and I wouldn’t want to be here now without her.

Here’s to our next 13 years together.

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  1. Congrats! And nice to read this insight. Major respect for up and leaving that which wasn’t creatively fulfilling. That’s inspiring.

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