N.K.JEMISIN
Fast Company|Winter 2020/2021
“I BASICALLY HAD A MIDLIFE CRISIS.”

AUTHOR AND 2020 MACARTHUR FELLOW

I didn’t try to publish anything until I was 30 when I basically had a midlife crisis. I was in a city I didn’t like, had not reached various milestones I wanted to reach and was in student loan debt up to my eyeballs. I actually liked my job [as a career counselor for at-risk populations]. But I’d always written as a hobby, [and] I decided to see if I could make money doing it. I would make sure I wrote one page, or even just 250 words, every day. Counseling is one of those emotionally draining fields where sometimes something terrible would happen at work. I would allow myself not to produce that day. Instead, I would write something completely irrelevant, like fan fiction or essays.

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