After months upon months of pitching editors, sending out my manuscript, applying for every freelance (or permanent) job going, I'd about given up on achieving financial independence.
The one job I was offered was as an office assistant getting coffees and answering phones and emails @ $15.80 an hour just 20 hours a week. I was sorely tempted - wouldn't have come close to paying the mortgage let alone bills and groceries, but I had nothing else.
Except determination and faith that things were going to get better.
My fall-back plan was to settle our assets, sell the house and down-size with hopefully have enough left over to to buy us few more years of trying. You know, until I won the lottery and/or signed a multi book deal with TV solid mini-series prospects.
Then a friend, told me her employer was looking for a copy writer and could I do that?
Within hours of my blithely saying 'sure I could', her boss had emailed and days later I was sitting in an interview offered a six-month contract, possibly ongoing, and discussing when I could start.
It was unnerving being in an office again, overwhelming and scary, until I realized this project I had been contracted for was kind of overwhelming for the whole team, most of whom where also newbies. Everyone had to hit the ground running and most of us with little in the way of a clear brief.
In the beginning it was hard. Determined as I was not to lower the bar at home with Lily or the dog, let alone my O.C.B as far as house and yard work, clean pets, clean school uniforms and freshly polished school shoes on my daughter's feet.
But the boss apparently meant it when she said it was a flexible work place. What time do I start? Well some get in at nine, some cant make it before 9:30 and others are still getting there at ten.
There are no morning meetings before 9:45am and none called later than 4pm.
I worked home my first day with Lily off school sick - I actually managed to put in more work hours with the elimination of school run preparation and the 7.7miles (12.5km) peak-hour commute.
Eight weeks in, after getting into some sort of rhythm, feeling some measure of competency, December struck with all its School event/ birthday &Christmas party chaos.
And the Christmas traffic.
Strictly speaking google maps says it should take 19 minutes but my commute for the first month was around 30-35 minutes. Then as we nudged up against December, it became 45, then 50 then 80- even 90 minutes on one occasion.
Never thought I would say this after the last few years, but thank God for Lily's father.
With all the military precision of my planning there are many days I phone him from the car to rescue our daughter from a late After School Care pickup because I'm stuck in traffic. One day it took 90 minutes; my average speed was 2.5mph (4kph)!
But you cant fight it - the festive season is upon us and Lily and I have a beautiful tree decorated. My only compromise so far has been not decorating the house exterior and the tree in front.
The Jury's still out on whether we'll get Christmas cards sent out this year, but I must say we only had a couple ourselves last year and they were mostly from Real Estate agents.
I've realized now - the bar must be lowered - something's gotta give.
And I've got a feeling everyone is in the same boat.