Monday, February 21, 2011

An anniversary

I was tempted to let the first anniversary of the last day at my old soul-sucking job pass by without mention. Because I felt I hadn't accomplished enough throughout that year.

But the year marked itself on Saturday, February 19, without fanfare.

I could do what I do every day: Beat myself up about the yet-unfinished novel, about how much it probably sucks, and about how long it's taking me to write it, etc., etc. I am pretty sure self-flagellation is just part of the creative process.

Instead I think I will write about what I've learned over the last year.

For starters, I learned that I really, really like not having a "real" job. I don't think I was meant to be a cubicle dweller and slave away for the man. I like wearing jeans and slippers and gigantic sweaters every day. I enjoy taking a break to go for a walk or pick up some groceries.

And strangely, I didn't really go nuts hanging out by myself for most of every day. Initially it was just a relief to get away from the craziness of a huge office, where anyone can and does enter your cubicle uninvited. It was getting harder and harder to pretend that I cared about what people had to say. Nowadays, when I get stir crazy from being alone, I arrange lunches with friends. Weekend meet-ups with family and friends always seem to fill up my socialization meter, and I feel happy. It helps to also be a little cuckoo -- I talk to myself on a regular basis and occasionally burst into song.  

But, I also learned it's really, really hard to be your own boss. I am heavy handed with the vacation days, and I rarely require eight-hour work days. I've heard of writers who write for four hours every day, including weekends and holidays. These are actual successful writers, with published work. I'm noticing a difference in their work ethics versus mine. On the other hand, giving myself a bit of a break has meant I am cooking at home a lot more than I used to, which has been a nice change for my husband and I, and I even sometimes clean the bathrooms!

It is, however, a challenge to work from home. Chores beckon, as does the refrigerator. Thankfully I haven't heard the siren song of the television. And whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, at home, when it's 4 p.m. and my sugar level crashes, I can take a nap, whereas in an office I would just grab a cup of coffee and keep on trucking.

Despite the speed bumps, and despite the fact that I am not a novelist but merely a former journalist whose last creative writing class was in high school -- I am actually writing a novel. There are pages. Lots of them. With a storyline and characters and dialogue and everything. When all is said and done, I'm not even sure if I care if the book is any good, only that I finish it. There's a lot to be said for finishing stuff.


  1. Well, I'm jealous.

    That's an accomplishment.

    I'm not the jealous type, really.

  2. I for one am proud of you... and inspired you.

  3. Don't forget the happiness factor of following a dream! Congrats!

  4. Thanks ladies! I am glad I did it, and would have regretted it if I'd never tried.

  5. YOU CAN DO IT! Anniversaries should just remind you of how far you've come...

  6. Amen, sister. Focus on the positive - everything will come together in time!