I'll be downtown Toronto today, registering with the two big legal staffing agencies. One agency found Allan's job, the other kept him temping until that happened. They're competitors, so they'll both be working hard to find me something good. (Hooray for capitalism.)
Thank you to everyone who has emailed me with writing ideas. I really appreciate it. Please don't interpret my not going for these opportunities as lack of interest or gratitude. Although I welcome opportunities to expand my little writing niche, many things are just too far out of my line.
I chose a long time ago to separate my principal means of income from my writing goals, rather than write about anything just to make a living. This isn't because I'm so laden with integrity. I just can't motivate myself to write if I'm not really into it. I have to be really passionate about my subjects, really excited by and challenged by them, or I just can't bother. If it's "only" for money, I'd just as soon do something easier.
So, until moving here, I always had a day-job of some sort. It gave me the freedom to write what I wanted and pursue projects on my own, without worrying about income. Most of the projects that interest me can't pay well, or there aren't enough of them to live on. (The children's encyclopedias were a rare exception, because the publisher's parent company was a giant media monster. And we see how that turned out.)
Over the years, as my writing career picked up, and as my income-earning potential increased on the day-job front, I was able to cut back on the other income and spend more time writing. (For the curious, a little history here.) But my goal was never to drop the day-job entirely.
The tough part - for both me and Allan, because he has lived this way, too - is that our income-earning potential is much lower here than it was in New York. This was one of the less pleasant realities we faced leaving New York City: we knew we'd never earn as much anywhere else.
We weren't going to stay in the US just to keep our day-jobs - that's completely backwards. The jobs are supposed to enable your life, not control it. Besides, jobs can end. I could easily see the firm I used to work for hiring a new personnel director (who wasn't already attached to me), then firing me, and hiring someone for half my salary.
So we had to pursue our goals despite this. But the fact remains: it will take 40 hours a week in Toronto to earn what I did in 24 hours a week in New York. Damn.
The most important thing for me is to find something with nontraditional hours - evenings or weekends - so I can still have a writing life. Until then, I'll temp.
Now I have to make myself look halfway professional, which is the most I can manage.