Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Case of the Mondays, Part II

I got a real job. I've known this for several weeks, but I held off announcing it as long as possible. I start on Monday. I'm rejoining the real world two months earlier than planned—I'll have been off ten months instead of a year—but the perfect opportunity fell in my lap, and, given the economy, I jumped on it. I'm going back to my old biotech job, but as a consultant. So it's a short-term commitment, and I should have more flexibility to continue my writing.

I have mixed feelings about going back to work. I'm excited to be interacting with human beings again, but I still need a few more months to get my book into publishable shape. Overall, though, I'm very satisfied. I accomplished what I set out to do: I've transformed myself into a writer. I've experienced the life of a writer in a way that no school could've taught me. I've written alone and in groups, at the park, in a cafe, on the train, in the middle of the night. I've read a dozen books on writing. I've filled four notebooks and 400 computer pages. I've completed two short stories and drafted several more. And I've written 46 blog posts, and gained a mini-following (thanks readers!).

What did I learn from all this? I've learned that writing is hard. I've learned that writing is easy. I've learned that once it grabs you, it's always there—at work, on vacation, in the shower, at three in the morning. I've discovered that I write faster on the computer, but better by hand. Mornings are ideal for editing and revising, but evenings are best for pure writing, as if my brain needs to be a little tired and loose in order to drop its inhibitions and create. Most importantly, I've learned what happens when I stop distracting myself and just slow down and sit in the present with my thoughts, like I did as a child. Wonderful ideas come that way.

While I won't be writing full time, I have gained enough momentum to continue writing seriously for the rest of my life, and if that fire is the only thing I've taken from this journey, it was well worth it. And yes, I'm going to keep posting to this blog (I might have to change the name to "On quitting my day job to write for ten months and then going back to my day job while continuing to write"). It's one of my favorite times of the week. So I'll keep posting if you keep reading—and probably even if you don't.


  1. glad to hear that the blog will continue. would be very interested in reading your short stories and maybe getting your "top 10" reading list of books?

  2. Just as I look forward to Thursdays for my favorite TV show, I also anticipate Tuesday for Brian's update. The Leaf Blower has become an enjoyable distraction. So glad you will continue to entertain us.

  3. I am also glad that you will continue blogging. And congratulations on the job! I am the same way, coincidentally, as far as writing faster on the computer but better by hand.

  4. I wrote my first published novel, In The Dismal Swamp, while I was laid off from my job in 2003. Good luck with your new position. I'm sure you'll keep writing.

  5. Congratulations on your new job. I will continue to read as long as you continue to write.

  6. Thanks for the encouragement, everyone. As for the top ten list of books, I've been meaning to post on that topic for a while, but it's such a daunting task to narrow it down to 10. So it's coming...

  7. Its an incredible journey isn't it? Trying to get published is certainly a hard thing and I applaud you for taking the time to jump in there and give it a full time go. Something I can't do until I get a sale first.

    I've been writing for several years, but never had the ability to quick my job and jump in (kids, wife, etc...they've all gotta eat at some point). But I can also say that working and writing can happen just as well. Just have to give up one something else, like social life, television or other things.

    One thing you might want to try is building your audience by either giving away e-books or podcasting an audio version of your stories. I've found that to be a terrific tool in improving the writing and building an following that'll be there to buy the books when you hit it big. Free marketing at its best. Check out my website for an idea of how its done and let me know if you're interested in giving it a shot.

    Hopefully we'll both hit the published cloud at some point soon. Until then enjoy the ride.