I got busy yesterday and totally forgot to mark the occasion. Five years ago on April 9 I was laid off from my day job. I’d spent ten years with my employer. I started as a copyeditor, moved up to associate editor, then acquiring editor. But publishing continues to go through adjustments in the age of Amazon—and the corresponding dwindling of brick-and-mortar bookstores—and e-books and self-publishing that upend traditional publishing models. I had dodged the bullet in a couple of prior rounds of layoffs, but then my time came.
It was scary and depressing, but, as I told my former boss a little later on, it was the best thing that could have happened. I’d really needed to move on, but never would have gotten up the nerve to jump out of the plane on my own. Getting kicked out was rough, but things started happening. I was contracted to write Star Trek: The More Things Change around then. My former boss also hired me as a writer for a dream assignment: I was flown down to the Kennedy Space Center to research and write their new premium guidebook with primary author Piers Bizony. I started freelance copyediting Simon & Schuster’s Star Trek fiction line. I’ve gotten to do more work with Afterglow Studios, for whom I’d cowritten the space documentary Space Next while I was still at my day job, recently turning in another space documentary, Touch the Stars, and I’m working on a third screenplay right now. I’ve got a continuing gig reviewing materials for the role-playing game Star Trek Adventures to make sure the details remain true to the established canon of the movies and series.
Certainly there have been lows to balance those highs, and, as always, I struggle to get more momentum behind my original writing, which has been languishing for several years. But I’m spending my time writing and editing, more or less making a living as a full-time freelancer. Various things are going on that I can’t yet talk about that could turn into exciting things . . . or not, because that’s the way the business works. But it’s been a pretty amazing five years. Feel free to use this as an excuse for raising a glass, I know I will!