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Monday, June 13, 2011

Ever Onward

For the first time in what seems like a very long time, I’m sitting down to write a blog post with nothing huge on the immediate agenda. It amazes me that in the beginning, I wrote six days per week in Middle Passages. Now, I’m lucky if I post twice over the course of seven days. In the last several months I have learned I’m not a good multi-tasker. I tend to want to focus on one thing until it is finished and then move on, and when life involves a variety of stop and start responsibilities, being a uni-tasker isn’t such a good thing. But I’m learning.

Putting aside the distraction of last recitals and concerts, proms and graduation, family parties and part-time work, best I can tell things became more difficult in the juggling arena when I accepted the request to blog twice monthly at South Shore Living magazine. Coming up with topics and writing about them has been rewarding and fun. However the responsibility of completing those posts on deadline swallows me whole, to the degree that I struggle to write much about anything else until I’m done with the SSL blog posts. I’m ahead of the game right now; the editor has two of my pieces she has yet to publish…I’m pretty sure she’s got limited resources, and it seems like the Web is a secondary citizen to the print magazine. No complaints, as it gives me this little breather. Besides, that same busy editor offered me a real live paying article, and I’d be a liar if I told you that I can’t wait to see it in print in the July edition of the magazine.

In addition to the SSL writing, I have joined a group of folks who took the same fiction workshop I did this spring to form a writing group that meets twice a month. Prior to each session, two writers submit their work to the rest of the group to review and we spend our time together critiquing and offering suggestions. In all the best ways, this feels like being back at school—concentrating on the writing, or the reading, and learning from others. It is a joy to sit in a circle and converse with people who are as engaged and connected to writing as me, and a relief for once, to move forward with the process of improving the words, without having to justify the passion.

Along with the commitment to the writer’s group, things are about to get a bit more complex, as I agreed to write a weekly public relations update to appear in our town newspaper for our Council on Elder Affairs, starting this week. This is a paying job too, and highlights the value of networking. Soon after the corporate ax removed my head, I began volunteering at a weekly breakfast for the seniors in our community. When word spread that I was starting a freelance writing business, they hired me to write two brochures. Now they’ve contracted me to communicate the good work that happens at the Center as they begin a capital campaign to acquire funds to build a new building. When I arrived at my first volunteer day and splattered myself with warm frosting from a coffee cake, and dropped my tea pot, I had no thought that it would lead to this opportunity. It was worth the sticky pants and a broken kettle.

To be honest though, through all of this, the fiction writing suffers. Although when I lay awake at night I think about my characters and how their stories will progress; those developments have failed to make it to the page. I know myself though. When the summer ends way too soon, when college preparation is complete, when there is one less place to set at the table, I’ll be looking for a solid distraction. Then I’m pretty sure I’ll find it easy to immerse myself.

8 comments:

Anne Gallagher said...

It sounds to me you are right where you want to be/need to be in your life. Just enjoy whatever is being thrown your way, it sounds exciting. And enjoy the last summer you have with your daughter before she flies away to college.

I know you feel like you're not doing any fiction writing, but you are. You're ruminating. You're letting everything gel inside you until the time is right for you to write everything down. And you will, be it now or in October. We all need to take a break when real lives intrude and don't feel badly about it. Real life is more important than writing. And your good work for the elders council and senior center is blessed.

Relax, go with the flow. If you find an hour with nothing to do, write a character sketch. But don't force anything. The words will come when you are ready.

Colette said...

I agree -- it's tough when you have a big project (a book), and lots of little projects (blog posts/articles). I always feel like I have to get ahead on the little stuff before I can focus on the big stuff. Yet it's the big stuff that matters most.

EmptyNester said...

I've only recently begun attempting some fiction...it can be completely time consuming. Unlike you, however, I am not feeling the 'share what you've written with others'--it certainly does open you up and, I don't really like that part. LOL

You might not be focused on your fiction at this time, but it's still there in your mind and I'm certain it will find it's way to the written page--because it has to. It won't be held captive in your mind forever.

I'm so excited for you that you're getting to write so many wonderful things for $$$!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Two paying gigs - that's awesome!

Wine and Words said...

Ahh yes, times seems in short supply for everything we want to do. But look how you are LIVING! Groups, family, writing, celebrating. It's all good, and all good things in due time.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Sounds like you are staying very busy doing something you truly enjoy. You'll get back to your fiction. Until then, I say ride the wave and enjoy it.

Congratulations to your daughter as well! Hard time for mamas, but such an exciting time for a kid-now-grownup.

Lynda R Young said...

Sometimes life has to take over. In the end it makes great inspiration.

Stephen Tremp said...

Congrats! on your new endeavours! That's great news. I'm constantly distracted. I learn to live with it and get some writing done anyway. A little here, a little there, and it all adds up at the end of the day.