When I Grow Up

What a Difference a Year Makes

I am sitting at my desk, with thoughts spinning around in my head. This has become a frequent reality for me and I try to scribble notes as ideas come to me. I have notebooks throughout the house, and have learned to use the memo feature in my phone. Taking a break, I see how different things are toady than just a year ago.

This time last year, I was struggling to get off the couch. I had things to get done, but no motivation to do anything. My head and my heart hurt – a lot. The summer before, I had made significant progress on a novel that I strongly believe in and had planned to complete over the winter months, before spring activities set in and took up my free time. Events and emotions conspired against me and there was simply no way that was going to happen.

Last year was a big one for changes. Several people I love no longer walk among us and my daily routine came to a screeching halt. I was forced to make adjustments, in my schedule and in my attitude. I resumed work on the novel and hit a point where I needed to take a break for a bit. Then I found an online world I had previously been unaware of. Yes, I had read the occasional article that a friend posted on Facebook, but I had used the social media mostly to be, you know, social. It was a tool to keep in touch with family and friends, to share news and photos. I didn’t even consider that there were online avenues to getting my work published.

Before I knew it, I was back into the freelance game, submitting articles to publishers, only now it is all online. There has been no printing of stories, addressing envelopes, finding stamps and the worst, waiting for weeks for an answer. My first week, I submitted four pieces and within 2 weeks had answers back on them all (three of these have been accepted for publication).

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing. I have plenty of rejections, most of which have been very polite, even encouraging. I have been setting weekly goals, but am not beating myself up if I do not reach them. The holidays slowed me down, so I submitted fewer pieces, but I found time to get in some scribbles which will find their way into future stories. My husband, kids and dog have been patient with me as I have been rediscovering myself and embarking on this wonderful new ride. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family as I work toward establishing a career, a concept that until recently I couldn’t see myself having (I was content with being simply Mom).

I am trying to form a strategy, to discover new markets, in the circuitous way that I work best (think of a “Family Circus” comic strip). I am realizing that writing is not enough. I need to also be a publicist. I am reminded of the great truth, the more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know. I am learning more about social media and how to use it, both the technical know-how and the practical uses. I am getting frustrated at what I don’t know and how long it sometimes takes to learn new things. This is time that could be spent writing, which is obviously what I would rather be doing. I am coming closer to answering that question – What will I do with the rest of my life?

This week, I have a few new Facebook friends; those who I assume found one of my stories and liked it. Today I am starting a writer page to make it easier for those who want to follow what I am writing to get updates, without having to open up their Facebook lives (and family photos) to me. To make it a little more interesting, I may share some of my older blog posts for those who may not have seen them. I hope to have new material to share regularly and am appreciative of those who are sharing this journey with me, providing encouragement and inspiration. I hope that in doing this, I can reciprocate. We are all in this thing called life together.

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