Living life without a safety net

First, thanks to everyone for your wonderful and supportive comments about the stories/scenes I recently posted! I’m so glad I put them out there, even though I was hesitant because they’re so rough. I have a tendency to blog about writing in general, as opposed to my writing specifically, but reading Kiersten and Natalie’s blogs made me realize that I should probably open up a bit. Because it’s fun to share (like secrets at a slumber party!) and your responses are so encouraging.

To that end, I have a confession to make: I’ve started a new book. I’m excited about it, so if you think it sounds stupid, please don’t tell me.

In a nutshell:

A twenty-something couple seeking adventure in order to revive their stale relationship gets more than they bargained for when they are whisked away to a strange and possibly dangerous other world.

Think Alice in Wonderland meets Princess Bride meets Spirited Away meets real life. Or something like that. I’m only 2,200 words in right now, but I’ve hit my word goal every day this week, so I’m feeling pretty good. I’m also going to employ alpha readers on this project, and it’s the first time I’ve ever had alphas (well, besides my thesis adviser Hilary Masters) so I’ll talk more about that next week.

In other news, my friend Julia has started blogging flash fiction once a week at 52 Tales. Julia is awesome, and a very talented writer! (We met at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.) Most of her current tales are about Austen Clark, a California lawyer who ran away to Micronesia for some mysterious reason involving a sawed off shotgun. There’s humor and adventure and even (I’m anticipating) a little romance. It’s like LOST, but without plane wrecks or polar bears or time travel or crazy conspiracies! In other words, not very much like LOST at all, except that it’s set on a cool island and is fabulous. Check it out.

Another friend, Mandy, recently blogged about how everyone’s pressuring her to get a backup plan. See, she recently quit her job to do freelance writing full-time, and apparently a lot of people think she’s going to fall on her @$$. What I love about Mandy is that she’s bold, so her response to those people was a big fat SO WHAT?

I don’t want to make a back up plan. I don’t want it to become THE plan as soon as things get tough and I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.

I want to struggle (a little). I want there to be times where I realize I need to hunker down and crank out some work if I want to pay my student loan. I want to make myself nauseous from the procrastination I’m doing to myself, and I want there to be days when I’m up until 4am finishing up work because I sat around all day reading blogs.

If I have complete security and comfort, which so many of us see as a level of “achievement,” like we’ve all suddenly reached our goals and can sit and be there and stay there, what am I going to get out of it besides the cash? What’s going to teach me, tempt me, freak me out, or make me squirm in discomfort? I know in the end we all want that feeling, but thinking of the day where I sit back and say “yep, this is it. This is where I’m at and how it’s going to be for the rest of like, ever…” makes me realize how I’m not ready to be there.

See? Bold. And brilliant. And totally going to rock the freelance thing.

Me, on the other hand… I compromised. I quit my job to write, but I got a safety net (a part-time job). Granted, it lets me spend a lot more time writing without making me a charity case, but sometimes I wish I were as fearless as Mandy.

(And sometimes I think I still will be… If 2010 isn’t the year, I think I’m going to have some tough decisions to make.)

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23 Comments

  1. oooh thank you so much for linking my story on here! and for the nice words :) you’re awesome. i am still thinking i want to get a part-time job, but it’s to keep me from going stir crazy working at home all the time. i’ve been thinking of getting one at a non profit just to have something fun and fulfilling to do. kick the boredom.

    and i have a feeling you’re going to have some big changes this year as well. it seems like 2009 was sorta crap to everyone, and 2010 is going to be a year of huge changes and big life decisions for many of us 20somethings. at least i sure hope so. i can’t wait to hear more about your new book too! i need to get on that train still. :p
    .-= • Recent post by GingerMandy: Content does not the perfect life make. =-.

  2. I don’t think you need to make any hard decisions until you’ve got other lives to worry about. I don’t plan on being secure in any way until I’ve got kids. Unless it involves writing or easy money. Don’t let convention pressure you into thinking you need to live a certain way at a certain age.

  3. Mandy-
    Yeah, the going stir crazy thing was one of my concerns too, especially since I don’t have any friends in Cincy except Andy. So it’s nice to have coworkers I like and hang out with. The nonprofit thing could be really cool!

    Eric-
    Well, I guess I feel obligated to Andy (and Riley) at this point. (And I hate mooching off my parents, but I’ve gotten less concerned with that possibility, lol.) But you’re right, I shouldn’t let society pressure me, and I’m working on that. :)

  4. How much fantasy is part of your new book? Or would you say it’s more science fiction? Sounds interesting. I didn’t know that you diverged that much from reality.
    .-= • Recent post by Sonja: Quinn’s moral compass =-.

  5. Haha, I’m not sure I usually do? I don’t think it’s scifi; more fantasy, or “fairytale” really. I haven’t worked out all the details yet.

  6. Jon

    This new book sounds so cool–exciting as well. Good that you were able to share details of the book, too. I am always so afraid to do that because then someone will go, “Oh no, that sounds TERRIBLE!” and I’ll stop writing. So, yay for having confidence!

    Jon
    .-= • Recent post by Jon: Quickie Review: Arise and Sing! =-.

  7. good catching up over here miss. I like your new story idea a lot.
    .-= • Recent post by Pseudo: Let the donations do the traveling… =-.

  8. I really like your story idea. It’s got a great pitch line…so hurry up and finish it so you can query!
    .-= • Recent post by Mike Chen: Holy Fakkin’ Shite =-.

  9. Jon-
    Lol well I did ask people not to tell me if they think it’s crap. (Mostly that note was for my mom and boyfriend…) I’m glad you think it sounds cool/exciting, though! :D

    Pseudo-
    Thanks!! I miss you!

    Mike-
    Thanks! Lol yeah that’s the goal. I honestly think I’m going to stock up on Cherry Coke Zero this weekend… I sense some long nights ahead.

  10. Your new story sounds great! Very different and very interesting. Good luck!

    Also, I wish I could quit my job to write. Well, I guess I could, but I kind of like eating a little more…at least for now. : ) It’s kind of exciting to think about, though. Quiting your job to write…sigh. Maybe one day.

    One more thing. I’m getting a Macbook. YAY! You have a Mac, don’t you? Well, if you do, I’m curious to know what writing software you use?

    Have a great weekend!

  11. Thanks, Kimberly! And yes, I do have a MacBook. I just use Microsoft Word, though, because it’s the industry standard (a .doc file). Some people use Scrivener and swear by it, but I found it overly complicated for my needs/work-style.

  12. Kind of off topic but do you ever hang out with Nini?

  13. LOL! Not in over a year. I tried msg-ing her but she didn’t respond.

  14. Trisha

    Life is not an all or none proposition. Many writers have worked full time, raised a family and written their ways into huge commercial success. If not this year, next. If not this decade, next. If not before a family, with. It isn’t black or white. There is no one magic formula.

  15. Oh that’s definitely true, and I greatly admire those writers. But next decade? Oy. I’m having trouble waiting for next month! Patience is not my greatest virtue. :P

  16. I like your new book idea! And I don’t think there’s a right answer to freelancing vs. working full time or part time while writing. Some people are more creative when they don’t have to worry about money, and others would rather have more free time. You’re both writing, and that’s all that matters!

  17. Thanks, Meghan!

    And you’re absolutely right! Plus, haha, I just read a post about how life after making the switch (from writing “on the side” to writing full time) doesn’t change as much as we aspiring writers sometimes think/wish: http://magicdistrict.wordpress.com/2010/01/15/the-writerly-life/

  18. “…whisked away to a strange and possibly dangerous other world.” – I’m interested!

    Haha @ patience not being your greatest virtue. Mine either. I’m working on it. | I work from home right now as a tutor/editor. I still have time to write, but sometimes I feel as if having the job drains my creativity. But like Kimberly said, I like to eat. In fact, I love food. & also gadgets, earrings, paper products and other unnecessary items on which I spend money. This is why instead of looking for a ton of freelance/work-from-home gigs at this point, I’m looking for a full-time+put-on-real-clothes job (in my field–I don’t have a plan B behind writing/editing).
    .-= • Recent post by Torie Michelle: Makeunder Your Life =-.

  19. Thanks, Torie!

    Good luck with the job hunt! I’m sure you’ll land something good. I have to admit, having a stable part-time job has its benefits (like putting food on the table, roof over my head, etc.).

  20. I like your book idea–it sounds interesting. Especially with the combination of Spirited Away/Alice in Wonderland.

    I have a part time job too, but the only reason I’m able to is because I’m blessed to have a husband who works full time. If I didn’t, I’d be working full time.

    Thankfully my job is only part-time; I think I’d go nuts if I had to spend 40 hours a week here at the real estate office :P
    .-= • Recent post by Dara: 2010 Debut Author Challenge: Magic Under Glass =-.

  21. Thanks! And yeah, I think part-time is a really good compromise for aspiring writers. As is having a supportive sig other, lol. Congrats on having both!

  22. RTW

    I love secrets. And slumber parties. And your stories! Yay for a new book idea, sounds fab. I hope 2010 works out in all the ways you want it to!
    .-= • Recent post by RTW: It’s still boot season =-.

  23. Thanks! Same to you!

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