Lunch Lessons

January 30, 2009

In December, I mentioned that I had had lunch with an established writer. She told me about her career: how she volunteered for writing projects wherever she was and built up a portfolio over time. Her plan was to leave freelance work and look for a more stable day job that perhaps included some project management. Meanwhile, she’d been paying into unemployment for enough years to justify taking some back out, and was working on her nonfiction manuscript in between resume submissions.

I found it reassuring to talk to an older woman who had her life pretty well squared away, and who was keeping up a positive attitude as she moved from one kind of work to another. She showed me that it’s possible to spend some time outside the normal boundaries of security and not lose one’s head. Transition is not disaster; change doesn’t have to be a crisis.

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Week One without a job is over, and I’m feeling pretty darn well relaxed. Around Sunday afternoon, I started combing through my goals notebook, reminding myself that I had plans for this new year. I wrote a schedule, and the morning has gone moderately well.  I worked on a short story.

A writing friend and I have an agreement: write one short per month; exchange & critique. I should be into the final polish by now, but I’m not. The schedule is lovely, but what I really need is a kick in the pants and a return to ferocious self-discipline. Fortunately, I have at least five books on my shelf that can provide the kick. I haven’t yet read a book about writing that didn’t include a paragraph, if not an entire chapter, on the importance of staring down a blank page for a few hours every day, whether you think you have anything to say or not. I didn’t quite ignore the wise elders on my bookshelf this morning, but I didn’t exactly honor them, either.

Round two: 3:00 PM.

The End is Near…

January 9, 2009

…and that’s good, because I’ve concluded that there are good reasons for the standard two weeks of notice, as opposed to the plan I’ve followed. Next week should be my last week. My replacement has been hired, and has enough experience that a week of “the coffee pot is here… our receivables program has a quirk there…” should be enough.

I have stepped up my fiction writing. It is more fun than commercial writing. I am very tempted to pursue fiction exclusively, which would put me in the position of being a part-time writer, and a part-time something else.