Don't let plan B take over
I've always wanted to be a professional writer. Even as a young man, I enjoyed writing stories. However I was always cautioned that it was tough to get published and I'd need a plan B to make a living while I tried to get published. So I went to college studying biology got married and got a job while writing on the side but, like a lot of writers, never quite having something I thought worth sending to an agent or publisher. Of course I wrote in my spare time. I had to earn a living to support myself and my family.
As time went on I had less and less time to write because more and more was taken up by my family and job responsibilities. Then a little over five years ago something happened. When I went in for what I thought was going to be a routine doctor visit for my worsening back pain the doctor decided it had been long enough since my last M.R.I. that I needed a new one before any new procedures. The scan found something odd in my L1 vertebrae. It turned out to be cancer, lymphoma specifically. Strangely enough as nearly as they could determine it had started in my back rather than in my lymph nodes as is normal. Their followed months of chemotherapy and years of regaining my strength and trying to pay off my medical bills.
So there I was, a cancer survivor, pushing forty with a child almost ready for junior high and I'd still never published anything (outside of an undergrad research paper and some technical documents for work). Then one night I had a crazy dream about being in an accident and having my brain transplanted into a new inhuman body. I thought it might make an interesting short story and decided to try writing it thinking I might sent it in to a magazine or something. Along the way I decided that having the body of my protagonist being a different gender as wellas species might be more interesting or at least more accessible to readers. More people are familiar with gender identity disorder than with those who call themselves other kin after all. In the process though as I examined all the potential results of such a transformation I realized that I wasn't going to do the story justice in a short story. Actually as I started to flesh out the characters and situations in my mind I realized that a single novel may be too short. In fact I was half way through writing my first book when I the voice of a character whose birth I hadn't even written yet came into my head to insist on being the narrator of book three. Yes I'm an author who has the characters talk to me in my mind, I'm told it's not that uncommon.
Just under a year later I had my first book finished, edited and proofread. I decided to self publish feeling that a book about a gender confused bisexual cat girl might not have enough general appeal to get published through a conventional publisher. It took almost another year to finish my second book and now my third is under way. I'm still not selling enough books to support my family exclusively from my writing but I am making a little money off it.
The moral of my story is if you have a story to tell don't wait till after a brush with cancer to tell it. Tell your story through a conventional publisher or through the new world of e-book publishing. Tell your story. Some people may like it some won't. You may make a living off it or you may never sell a copy in your lifetime. Don't let whatever your plan b is take over your life. It will probably take up a lot of your spare time. Treat it like a second job if you want to be serious about it. Whatever story you have to tell, tell it. Stories help us look at the world in new ways and as our world constantly changes we need new perspectives.