nancyfulda (nancyfulda) wrote,
nancyfulda
nancyfulda

Opportunity Cost

So here I am, editing for Kindle authors and assembling web sites for solar panel companies to pay the bills, because my writing doesn't have enough momentum to keep our finances balanced.

This is not exactly a complaint because (1) I enjoy the work and (2) we have a dream lifestyle. My husband runs his own business, which means we can take the kids for walks along the river in the afternoons, sleep in until 10:00AM if we want, and drop everything for a day whenever there's a family crisis. We want to keep this lifestyle, and to make it work I need to supplement my husband's income enough that he won't have to take one of the lucrative desk jobs that local headhunters keep shoving at him.

I'm convinced this is the right choice for the time being, because just now, short-term reliable income is far more important than chasing moonbeams. But that doesn't stop me from thinking about an article I once read in which an ingenious but frustrated artist* began painting $20 bills in order to buy his groceries. This was back before modern forgery-detection equipment became prevalent, and the hand-painted bills passed as genuine for quite a long time.

The tragedy is that this artist spent about as much time painting a $20 bill as he spent creating paintings that later sold for $5,000.

Okay, there are a couple of differences between our situations. Indie editing is a respectable occupation, for one, while forgery, um... isn't. And I like editing, while I'm pretty sure our nameless artist derived little pleasure from meticulously copying all the lines and squiggles on American currency.

But I can't help wondering whether I'm short-changing myself by not making a leap of faith. What if I dropped everything else and just sunk myself neck-deep in writing? What if I were willing to make that jump? Could I write, in the same amount of time it takes me to edit five books, a masterpiece of my own? Could I fly?

Little fledgling bird that I am, I don't dare make that jump. My feathers haven't grown in yet, and to further complicate the metaphor, I have nestlings of my own to feed.

But that doesn't stop me from wondering.

*[Update: The name of the counterfeiter was Emanuel Ninger]
Tags: editing, indie publishing, writing
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