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Archive for May, 2008

since The Writer decided to become a full-time, stay-at-home professional writer rather than a part-time, hit-or-miss non-writer. It’s been an interesting transition for us both, and a not altogether comfortable one.

There was a time that I couldn’t bear to have him be home and me not; that was a time when going to work was real work. It helps tremendously now that I have a job I really like and that is not a constant, never-ending source of stress. It has been a stretch for me not to demand that he do things for me because he is at home; his job, even at home, is to write — not to push the vacuum cleaner or mow the lawn or do all the shopping.  His job is not to lighten my load. His job is to write. It has also been frustrating to me (and somewhat scary) that we are not further down the road toward this being a supporting “business” (as in financial support), but that is coming, and I am not yet in panic-mode.

A year (almost). A year that has had some tremendous downs and a few moderate ups: death of his dad; loss of a job (his) that paid some bills but had many downsides; struggling to get on a schedule with writing; struggling to balance full-time writing with life; both of us working to get a handle on the “business” of writing (it ain’t all just about putting words on paper!), and all of that mushed up with new demands of readers and life stuff.

I cannot say it hasn’t been challenging, but I can say it’s been very fulfilling for me to see Ronnie write: to see pages spooling out of the printer, to see things in print in newspapers, to see progress on novels, to get the Crow-Baby book/art underway, to hear the praise from those who read his work and understand the work he does to produce that.

I can say that we couldn’t have come this far without our friends and family…those people who encourage and support us, through chats in the halls, through emails, through letters, through cards, through posting comments on blogs, over lunches, over cocktails, whatever.

So, here’s my advice, and it doesn’t just apply to major life changes:

  • When it’s hard to keep going, find a friend who will encourage you — it may not even be someone you know, but take encouragement from all sources! After all, this is the secret of AA, Weight-Watchers, and every other self-help group that has lasted more than a week.
  • When you are feeling low, find someone to appreciate you, maybe not for your work but just for who you are (physically, emotionally, and spiritually), and keep those people close — you will need them again and again! And reciprocate for them as well, cause it feels almost as good to give that “stuff” as it does to get it back!
  • Remember to align your goals regularly with your partner. The unknown is too frightening for all of us. Sharing common goals makes the work easier (not to mention more focused) and causes less friction. You know where you’re going and all that’s left is negotiation on the path.

Happy trails!

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Okay, so I’m back to The Writer. He wanted to write. He wanted to write non-fiction (well mostly) in newspapers. He wants people to like his writing — duh….Well, they do. They like it so much that they are writing and calling and emailing him with questions and comments and stories of their own. Isn’t that GOOD???? Of course it is. But this is one of those things we all have in life: ask for it, get it, … gripe about it.

“Someone emailed me today about….. ” [often some environmental issue or crisis occurring in our midst]. “I have to email all those people who wrote me about . . . [fill in the blank with whatever his most current column is about]. “I don’t know what to tell this person. They think they saw a …..” [fill in with some outrageous bird that’s never been seen in the northern hemisphere before!].

Now, get this: I put on my “guy-hat” — you know, the one where I immediately stop listening and move to solving the problem — “You don’t have to look up all that. Just point them to the website to find the information.” Hurriedly, he responds, “No, they expect me to figure it out and write them back. I have to do this. They’re my readers.”

What’s not said: “I love getting mail and messages from people reading my work. This is affirming. This is what I’ve longed for in my writing — immediate and positive feedback. This is what keeps me engaged and joyous about this work. I love my readers!”

oh. ok. I get it — but I had to take off the hat before I did.

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in South Mississippi was yesterday. This is just my prediction, of course––my pessimistic prediction! While the midwest was being hammered by rain, thunderstorms and killer tornadoes, south Mississippi was windy, sunny, and unbelievably cool

A day spent working in the sun out in the yard, cutting and piling branches and pruning azaleas and pulling weeds. A day to savor before the hot, humid days of southern summer return to trap us in the air-conditioned dungeons of houses, workplaces, stores, etc.

“Wish you were here, theCloseup of Bearded Iris weather is beautiful . . .”

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