Those Glitches in My Writing Career

Cartoon of Girl WritingI love my writing life. It’s given me great satisfaction over the years and a little bit of income, so I can’t complain. But there are days when things don’t go quite as smoothly as planned, especially on the domestic front.

Sometimes I’m a battle with my kitchen. I can’t tell you how many times the chili I’ve made winds up burned at the bottom of the pot because I was too engrossed in editing to remember to stir it. On occasion, I’ve forgotten to take something out of the freezer for thawing. I also tend to stick to the same ten recipes because I don’t want to take the time to search for new ones. Now that I’m on a leave of absence from the day job, I have been trying new dishes, though.

My nineteen-and-a-half-year-old cat likes to be near me when he’s not sleeping, which is a lot. Whenever I’m at the computer, he plunks himself in my lap and proceeds to drool over my hand and the keyboard. I keep a box of tissues nearby. There’s no point in yelling at him. He’s mostly deaf and lifelong habits are hard for him to break, so I gently put him down on the floor off he goes to find another place to sleep.

The cat is not the only daily interruption. I’ve always kept an open door policy for my family when writing (the kids are grown and don’t live at home anymore), but sometimes interruptions occur while I’m trying to sort out a difficult plotting problem. I’ve been known to give hubby a blank stare when he asks what’s for dinner, not because I don’t know the answer (although sometimes I don’t) but because I’m trying to pull my thoughts out of whatever scene I was working through.

My husband (an accountant) earns a lot more money from his job than I do from writing. When he does my taxes every year, I get a lot of chuckling about my “cute” bookkeeping system and an annoying amount of snickering about my income. But overall, these are minor glitches.

The larger ones include the occasional lousy book review, agents who take years to fail to sell my book, publishers who either dropped me or folded, and tiny royalty checks.

Still, these things are part of every writer’s life. You know as well as I do that every job and career choice has them. But for me, the pros outweigh the cons and glitches notwithstanding, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

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Assessing Goals, New and Old

keep-calm-and-set-new-goals-257x300[1]This year hasn’t gone by quickly for me, although it has been eventful. I had two main goals in 2018 and neither of them had to do with writing. One was to finally move my mother into assisted living (the decision involved many discussions and was both physically and emotionally draining). The other was to sell Mom’s condo (which required lots of repair). The first goal was achieved on July 29, the second on Nov.  2nd.

Rather than wait for the new year to begin, I’m starting to think about new goals. I’m a big believer in goal setting. It’s the difference between getting something done and plodding along, leaving heaps of half-finished novels in piles.

I do have a number of big, ongoing writing goals that started a few years back. A few of those goals have been met while others are still in the works. Each year I edge a little closer to the finish line.

I probably won’t meet my reading goal of fifty novels this year. I just finished number forty, but I’m not sure I can read ten more books over the next two months. I’d also planned to get the sixth Casey Holland Mystery, The Blade Man, ready for my editor, but I’m behind schedule there as well. I’m just finishing draft #7 and while the book’s much better than it was with draft #6, I need another read-through before handing it over.

There are other writing projects that are not as far along as I hoped, but as you can imagine, real life family issues took priority and will take priority again as my mother’s health slowly declines. So, do I continue to make writing goals? You bet. I’d rather try and fail than not try at all.

The thing about goals is that they can be adjusted, and time limits aren’t always necessary or helpful. The point is to have at least one that matters, so I’m going to be realistic, as I decide which writing and household projects to spend time on over the coming months. Before this year is over, I just might have new goals ready to go for 2019.