Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Moral of the Story


Good news: I'm alive!

Bad news: I still don't have my head above water...

Good news: But it's getting closer!

Bad news: Close, not no cigar.

I'm sorry I've been away for so long. I miss interacting with you all.  Unfortunately, I've continued to battle workload and exhaustion since my job transition in the spring.  I still believe the job transition was the right move, both for our organization and for myself, but none of us really anticipated what the transition was going to entail.  I won't belabor that anymore.

I have some great news to share with you all, and I want to update you on writing projects, but I hope to be able to post again within the next couple of days.  Today, I want to spell out a few things I've learned in my absence.  The horrible truth is that in this time I have been absent, I have gotten no writing and really no reading done.  And that's with a book almost finished and a book sitting on my night stand by the great Domey Malasarn, that I am so excited to read.  So here, for me anyway, are the morals of the story:

1) I can approach writing in a professional manner.  I can present myself in public as an author worth of respect.  I cannot, however, truly approach writing as a job as long as I am working a 40 - 60 hour job and volunteering 10 - 20 hours a week and hoping to actually be a decent husband, son, brother, friend, and human being.  There are probably people who can pull it off.  I'm not one.  As soon as I call it a job, I need to give it the same dedication and effort as I do another job, and that's just too much.  Professional, yes; job, no.

But here's the thing: until I have a contract it really isn't a job so THAT'S OKAY.

2) Writing talk can be preposterously silly.  I have not really been able to keep up much with blogs, because I haven't had the time, brain power, or eye strength.  I have seen enough on the margins to know that some of my friends and other I hold in high esteem have continued to come up with creative perspectives and to find ingenious moments of enlightenment.  But, I'll be honest.  As I look out at writing blogs and writing twitter feeds, after not being truly in the loop, I'm a little embarrassed by how narrow our focus, how petty our concerns, and how irrelevant some of our great controversies seem to really be.  I'm not sure what to make of that or how to respond to it.

But here's the thing: I DON'T HAVE TO talk that way myself, and I DON'T HAVE TO read other people who are talking that way.

3) Confession time.  Seriously.  I say this not out of self-pity, but out of empathy with the many others in my same position.  Let's face it, in frank terms, being a writer with diverse interests and training and using up all you energy in pursuit of neither writing nor your interests or training is really, really depressing.  And that creates a pretty horrible spiral as depression and exhaustion feed off one another.  There are plenty of easy and pithy things to say about that.  I don't feel like saying any of them, just admitting the truth, and saying to everyone else out there in the same boat...

"Hey, I get it, brothers and sisters."

4) I still don't have a lot of time.  I still don't have a lot of energy.  I still don't have a lot of brain power or eye strength.  But I have more than I did yesterday, and more than I did a week ago, and more than a month ago.  They say to go in baby steps.  They say every little bit counts.  I'm an all-in or it doesn't count kind of guy, so baby steps and little bits feel like nothing.

But here's the thing: I'm wrong and I'm trying to stop being stupid about that.

The good news is that my workload is finally starting to level out.  It's summer so my wife's work schedule has shifted so we can actually spend time together.  I'm beating my head against all new doors, rather than the same old doors, which is at least a change. 

More very soon on some great writing news, but I thought after this long an absence, I owed you all a personal post first.



  1. Welcome back! Please do stick around - we've missed you.

    Re: item 2: I noticed this myself when I took a break from the Web for a few days and visited family out of town. I talked with my mother and sister about some of the issues on the writing blogs that were driving me crazy, and they just scratched their heads and said, "Huh? What's an e-book?" Certainly put things in perspective.

    My job is only 40 hours a week but I also do volunteer work, have a home, dogs, friends, and outdoor activities that hold a high place in my priorities. I totally understand not being able to deal with treating writing as a job on top of that. People and activities that you truly love should come first, always.

    I'm looking forward to your great writing news!

    -Alex MacKenzie

  2. Hey, Nevets nice to have you back!

    The writing is the thing and we can easily lose sight of that doing all of this networking stuff.

    Take it easy, fella.

  3. Nice to have you back. But I hear you. It's OK (and healthy) to take a break from all the industry frenzy and gossip to get grounded in the real world.

    I believe in taking blog breaks and keeping the posts slow and steady. Posting once a month is way better than driving yourself crazy and dropping the blog altogether (or worse--dropping the writing). The pressure from "social media experts" is intense--but these are people doing it full time. Nobody has that many hours in the day.

    I think everybody may need to do what you're doing once in a while: step back, take a look at the big picture, and take it slow.

  4. Yeah, I've been looking at blogger in a different light lately too - and not just cuz it's messed up so often. Blogging can suck you in, and the people can become addicting. I love the blogging environment, but sometimes it can get petty. That's how friendships go sometimes. It is "social" networking, afterall. No different than any other group you join - except you get to do it online, from your comfort zone.

    I'm glad the day job is going so well for you. This economy doesn't engender trust in employment changes. I'm in a position in my job that I don't over worry about being laid off, but you just never know, especially when the agency is looking at cutting one employee with a big salary as opposed to several with small pay checks.

    I'm with you on the all or nothing writing. I don't need to do it full time, but I need to dedicate a few hours at the keyboard during a session or I know I'll produce nothing but crap. And that affects my writing mood next time the opportunity arises. I envy people who can take advantage of the 15 minutes to one hour here and there.

    " I'm beating my head against all new doors, rather than the same old doors, which is at least a change." Variety, flexibility, new challenges . . yep, all good growth signs.

    Glad to see you, however briefly. Real life first dude :)


  5. Welcome back, Nevets. A small but valued part of the blogosphere begins to hum...

  6. I'm glad you are filtering in again! I missed reading your posts! Work load, family, friends- hey i hear ya loud and clear there. I hope it gets easier for you and more manageable.

  7. It's wonderful to see you here, Nevets. I understand about the blogging. You know I've had my issues with it as well. The problem with blogging is that it can seem like some people have narrow focus, but some of them I know in person, and they keep that focus on their blog only. As people, they are actually very broad. I think writing blogs fulfill a specific need, but more often than not, that need can get really out of focus and take over other priorities.

    The past few weeks I've been more relaxed with blogging. Not so much as in blogging less, but FEELING more relaxed as I choose how to feel about all of it. It's nice, and it's nice to be writing again after my break. Sometimes that's all we need. I can't wait to hear your writing news. :)

  8. @Alex - Thanks, and that's exactly what it feels like. In some ways it's not a bad thing, but I think it's the cue for a bit of a change in how I approach my own blog.

    @Michael - Thanks, brother. This writing thing is a heck of a tentacled beast, no?

    @Anne - Hopefully I learn to take those breaks rather than have them thrust upon me.

    @Tim - Thank you, sir. :)

    @Summer - Thanks, I appreciate it! I need to go catch up on your spring classes went. :)

    @Michelle - Thanks, and I definitely know that writing blogs serve a purpose. I still don't hate them, and I understand narrowness of focus. At the same time, as other parts of my life have become more important than my writing, I find it more difficult to get worked up about some of the "big" issues in writing.

    I'm glad you're both more relaxed and enjoying your writing! I'm feeling a little more relaxed, but more importantly hopeful that I will find time to put pen to paper again in the upcoming week.

    The writing news I have won't be news to you, but I think you'll like how I present it.

  9. :-( I'm sorry Love. I wish I could lend you my eye-strength, energy, and brain-power. :-P But I can't. Hopefully this summer we can both get a break though and get back on track in the fall.


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