I co-wrote a book.
. Day .
My goal when I went to new York was to become a freelance writer, as I had been in Knoxville. I finally got my chance. My boss from Storytelling magazine, Mary Weaver, recommended me to B&B Publishing of Walworth, Wisconsin as a possible author for the New York entry in their series of books of state-based trivia, for a young-adult audience (read: middle school libraries).
It started well except that I set up a meeting with their representative at a Manhattan coffee shop that was inexplicably closed. We found some other place to meet. (This was before there was a Starbuck's on every corner.)
I don't remember how much money they advanced me but it wasn't enough. I had quit my job but I had also left my apartment at 374 State Street. I was looking for a place and working at my friend and fanzine co-editor Brandon's place in Cobble Hill, and staying at my girlfriend's apartment on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. It was exhausting. I tried writing and researching at the Mid-Manhattan Library but I kept falling down the rabbit hole of old books.
B&B kept calling, asking when the manuscript would be done. I was tired and distracted from all the cross-city travel and looking for a place to live. I think I was working at Citibank by this point as well. I sent them what I had. The covers were already printed with my name on them but a more experienced author, John Grabowski, came in to finish the book. I made excuses, but I didn't really have any. It was just too much for me. I had no business thinking I could write a book.
It was one of the most depressing, disappointing experiences of my life. I would try again later to be a professional writer, with similar dispiriting results. I still like to write but the idea of doing it for money doesn't pass the laugh test.