Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Post 30: So What Have We Learned?

So this is it. 30 in 38 is now complete. Did I learn anything?

Well, for one, I really wish I was a full-time writer and not a full-time cube dweller. I was hoping that I could have written this yesterday or earlier today so that I could avoid being maudlin, but I was spending that time with Zygote. YG asked me if I wanted to cry now or later, and I answered "later" and then promptly started crying. It's not that I don't want to work. Work is important to me, and sometimes I'm afraid that I don't have an identity without work. I am a Hard Worker. And if I'm panicking at the thought of going to work tomorrow and not really wanting to be there, then who am I? A not very hard worker with a non-existent writing career? Blah. Whine. If you're unemployed, you probably want to gag me right now.

So right, lessons learned.

1. I work best when there's a deadline. I've been half assing this blog for about three years now, and I know from my Google stats that some of you do read it. But I only update sporadically. Having this self-imposed deadline helped me to do some minimal journaling, that I then translated into these posts, and maybe someday will turn into something else.

I'm not taking any classes this semester and that worries me because having class assignments forced me to write. Without the deadline and the potential to be embarassed, I just don't seem to write, and that leads me to number 2.

2. I need to make the time to write. Fairly obvious, but I'm horrible at that. I try and squeeze it in when I can, but I don't make it a priority. People have told me to treat my writing as a second job in order to take it seriously, and that works for about three seconds, and then I go watch t.v. Or read more books that I wish I wrote.

Fridays will be my writing time from now on. No work, minimal baby, not a lot of distractions.

3. Marketing is not bullshit. I've taken a few classes now on how to market personal essays and I've purchased an embarrassing number of books on the same topic. I take copious notes and check Writers Market from time to time, and then I don't do much.

4. This is related to the time thing -- edit, edit, edit. Some people journal or blog and the result is beautifully crafted, breathtaking prose. This is so not me. I am all jumbled stream of consciousness. I finished two pieces in the last year that I really loved (and got my personalized rejection letters for -- woo hoo!), but I had worked on them over the course of three semesters. I need to remember to give myself time to edit. Or if all else fails, spell check. And barring that, fix the where/wear, their/there/they're things. At least give the appearance of trying to be a "real" writer.

5. Take notes. My brain is full. I see the world as if it's a story I'm living and I'm constantly thinking of things that I want to jot down and remember (various conversations with the crazies on the T, overheard bits of interesting factoids, city life, Zygote, etc). And then I don't remember. And that's how this happens.

6. Define success. For this little project, success meant just putting some shit out there for 30 days. I really don't know how I will define being a successful writer. Does it mean being published? Does it mean writing every day? Utilizing my Fridays? This is important since I am prone to oh-woe-is-me-I-can't-do-anything sorts of ramblings.

7. YG told me this one last night. He took a class and said the instructor told them to change the phrase, "I'll believe it when I see it" to "If I believe it, I'll see it." Normally, the earnestness of these types of leadership instructions makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little, but I like that one. I have to believe that I have as good a shot as anyone of getting published, and stop believing that I am destined for the cube for the rest of my life.

8. Just write. There's so many warm, fuzzy writers' manuals filled with that advice. Again with the earnestness and the encouragement. But it's true. Some of my babble is bound to take shape sometime.

So that's it. I intend to keep up the blog to keep folks updated on Zygote and me and the rest of the fam, and I intend to keep up the journaling and fine tuning my other pieces this Fall. And working. And taking care of Zygote. And running. And.....I will be fine.

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