Recently, my husband and I moved from our Pittsburgh home, after 20+ years in the same location. In choosing to relocate out of the area, I had to give up my longtime job as a staff writer for the Penn-Franklin News Publishing Company, which covered stories in the city's eastern suburbs. Although I will continue to write my "A Little Bit of Life" personal essay column, from afar, I no longer cover local news.
I struggled with this decision, but realized leaving my job was just part of the lifestyle changes our family wished to implement after my girls went off to college.
As a news reporter, my daily schedule was dictated by what meeting or interviews I needed to attend or accomplish on any given day. I had very set deadlines for submitting my work, but my writing was done at all hours and in various degrees of urgency. Although stressful at times, the job kept my heart pumping, my mind active, and my writing muscles always in use, so to speak. During this transition, I've been distracted by home-related projects. I've gone days, even weeks, without writing.
That is unacceptable. It is time to get back to the matter at hand. Writing. Right now.
My goal is to take on more freelance public relations/marketing work with businesses and non-profits and to also spend a significant amount of time working on my personal essays and fiction writing. Currently, I have several young adult novels in the works and new picture book texts I'd like to begin submitting to agents and editors. The submission process takes time ... something which, I must admit, hasn't been high enough on my priority list in the past. To be a writer, one must treat writing like a business. For me, this is not a hobby. I must put my butt in the chair and "take care of business" every day - whether that includes researching editors or writing a press release for a start-up company or submitting a magazine article about the day I accidentally left my car keys in the refrigerator next to the butter. Taking care of business may include blogging what I'm currently reading or fleshing out what a character likes to eat on a date or editing that final chapter for the umpteenth time. Taking care of business can simply include a trip to the post office for stamps.
It's a business.
My new home "office," a sun room with a view of Lake Erie, is where I will find inspiration to write again, regularly, and settle into my new normal. There may be long periods of staring at the screen without anything to say ... nothing relevant traveling down to my fingertips.
And that's okay. There WILL also be moments of using my writing muscles and seeing success. To write again, one must write now.
So, let's take care of business. Writers? Who's with me?
NOTE: Moving forward, I will be blogging regularly about the craft of writing, writing submission process and/or book reviews.