As I write this, I'm almost exactly a year away from concluding a career in the US Navy, and even though I have 12 months left to go, I'm already looking forward. The position I'm in is an exciting one: a do-over of the opportunity to choose what you want to be when you "grow up," only this time with the benefit of some experience "out in the world" and, yes, a bit of a fiscal safety net.
The answer to that question has gone through different stages over the past year or two, from different versions of continuing to do similar work but in a civil service or contract capacity, to joining the corporate world, to working in finance. None of those ideas persisted for long, though. I usually bounced back and forth around the same four or five possibilities, until I had something of an epiphany earlier this spring.
I don't remember if, on a particularly frustrating day in the cubicle farm, I looked up 'jobs I could do from home' or if I looked up writing careers specifically. Either way, writing was always something I'd enjoyed. I was fortunate growing up to have had an elementary school that had an annual creative writing block, and a patient high-school teacher who was patient and encouraging as I tried my hand at fiction as something of an extra--curricular activity (it didn't sell). In college, with a rather writing-intensive major, researching and writing 30-page term papers was actually rather enjoyable - enough so, at least, that I felt I had it much better than the engineering or science students (then again, I had stiff-armed any degree involving math for a reason, so...). Opportunities to write meaningfully in my job were sometimes rare, but I enjoyed them when they came around (and when I could do them more or less uninterruptedly). And so it occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, I could write professionally.
That's how I got here. I intend to use the next year to build up a body of work and, hopefully, relationships to grow a second career. As I get work, I intend to post examples of it on the site, so it can be a portfolio as well as a platform. If you're interested in working with me, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.