It’s hard to believe that my last post here was in February. It is now mid-August, and I’m stunned that it’s been so long between posts. But I’m not surprised. I edit dissertations, books, and academic papers for a living. And last year, I worked for a publishing company that kept me slammed with extra work. Unfortunately, it appears they have gone out of business, and I’m now limited in the work I have. I don’t necessarily want to look for more freelance work because as soon as I do, I’m afraid that all my students will come in with multiple jobs and I’ll be slammed with too much work again.
But it’s hard to imagine ignoring your own work for so long. I have two books that I have finished writing. One is the second book in a series, Bear-Trapped, about a semi-flawed detective who has decided to be a private eye. The second is a semi-autobiographical novel about a girl growing up in the sixties and seventies. I’d like to send that one out to an agent, but of course, it needs a lot of work. And it appears that I haven’t worked on either of those since February, either. How does time get away from me so easily?
On the other hand, I have put together two books of poetry in the last few months for the Alachua County Poet Laureate application. (It’s very competitive so I doubt I will get it, but was very happy about the wonderful letters of reference some local writers wrote for me.) Both books of poetry have been submitted to multiple contests and many of the poems have already been published so I was happy to finally see them put together as a little chapbook, even though I’d prefer the whole thing get published. And I have written two short stories, one about a college grad student who gets raped by a colleague, and another about a grandmother who kidnaps her grandkids from her son-in-law. Both of those will be submitted to contests soon. And the college student story is turning into a screenplay, slowly but surely. Even when writers don’t seem to be writing, somehow they are.
Once I decided I was going to quit writing forever. It didn’t get me anywhere. I made no money at it. It took away from time with family and friends. There was just no point to it. I vowed that I would just stop. For good. And I did.
Except that I couldn’t. I started writing little notes on napkins in restaurants. I wrote story ideas on my daugher’s disposable bibs when she was a baby. I wrote poetry on receipts from the grocery store. And finally I realized – I can’t stop. So I just kept going. What the heck – if you love what you do, you’ll never feel like it’s work.