I love when I get free money (i.e. when I get a check out of the blue for a story I had published several years ago and now it’s been picked up by some testing company). I hate, hate, HATE what “No Child Left Behind” has done to education in this country, but as a children’s writer, I’ve certainly benefited from it. That’s where the majority of my free money comes from.
What’s interesting this time is the check came from Data Recognition Corp. When I finished college, I took a year off to “try writing.” The idea was I would give it one year and see if I 1) sold anything in that year; 2) actually LIKED staying home with only the voices in my head for company all day. (I was able to do this because I was married to a great guy who not only believed in me, but who had a good job and was willing to support us.) I did sell two magazine stories that first year…and I found I liked being a writer. So I got pregnant with College Student the end of that year and decided this was going to be my life. I was going to be a mom and a writer.
But then we also bought a house that year and we needed just a little more income. So I took a temporary job reading student essays…for Data Recognition Corp in the Twin Cities! It was the perfect job because it was temporary…they’d call me and I’d work for two weeks. Then I could get back to my writing. A few months later, they’d call me again. I was apparently pretty good at this work because three days before College Student was born, they called me, but not for a temporary assignment. They were offering me a fulltime job overseeing these projects!
I thought long and hard about it at the time…it was quite an ego boost having someone come to me and offer me a job. And it was pretty good money. But, I was nine months pregnant…and my dream was to be a writer. So, I turned them down. I’ve never regretted that, but I have thought about it now and then over the years…and wondered how different my life would’ve been if I’d taken it. But one thing that’s been nice about pursuing my writing dreams is I’ve also been able to be home with my children. When you’re home with young children, you think it’s going to last forever. But kids grow up in the blink of an eye!