Hello! It’s me! I’m here! I’m four weeks into my new job at the University of Chicago. Life really has changed. My routine is completely different and I’m in one of those times of life where it simultaneously feels like I just started working here and also that I’ve been working here forever. Was it just a month ago I was living a life of setting my own schedule and spending most of my time at home? Part of me can barely remember.
BUT, what I really want to say is that I have been so touched at how many of you have reached out and asked me how it is going.... and particularly what my new writing life is like.
So, the number one question I get asked is: have you been able to write? And thankfully, the answer is YES!
First, I am still posting #WritersQuick5 every Monday. If you haven’t seen them over the past few weeks, they are worth checking out. I have featured some really great folks and have the next few weeks all lined up. You’d think that it’d get old, but it doesn’t. If you know of any writers (of any kind) that might want to take part, please let me know!
Second, I am still posting chapters every two weeks to my book series, Amache’s America on channillo.com. Chapter 10 will post on Tuesday!
Third, I am still sending out query letters for The Cube. I try and do one or two a week. They are more time consuming than you’d think, researching the agent and the agency and tailoring each submission to the specific submission requirements. I, of course, have a spreadsheet tracking all my submissions and I try not to obsessively check my writing email account to see if anyone has answered back yet. (They haven’t, but they will… claiming it!)
Fourth, I am still engaged in writing activities. A couple weeks ago I went to a fellow Chicago Writers Association (CWA) member’s book launch party at the Book Cellar and the CWA also held an event on May 13th that I, unfortunately, was not able to attend, but I was able to help out in the event organizing process and they even gave me a nice little shout out in this thank you video.
I’m also excited because and I’m signed up for a Writers Workshop in June where I will get to attend sessions and learn a lot and pitch a few agents 1:1. So, I’m looking forward to that and I’m actively prepping for that too.
Finally, I’m also started in on my next book, The Samurai Prophecy. I started sending story notes around for feedback and have realized that the world building I need to do for this book is so much bigger than the world building I needed to do for The Cube. So, I have a notebook I take with me wherever I go and write down ideas as they come to me. I’m doing a lot of background work now too. It’s interesting, if not intimidating, but in a good way. Mostly though, I’m just enjoying these beginning days of writing… where I just sit down and let the words flow and jump from idea to idea, building them out, knowing I’ll be able to pull it all together later (and if I don’t use it, it will still contribute to my own understanding of the world I’m creating). This is the fun part for sure.
One may ask, given that I now have two hours of commuting a day, a full-time job, a family, etc. etc. when does all this writing take place? Well folks, it largely takes place on the weekends, but I have also found that it’s good to squeeze it in whenever I can. If I’m feeling lethargic at work, or maybe uninspired, I pull out my notebook and spend ten minutes world building and my entire attitude picks up. If my daughter is in the other room playing, I’ll put in some work on the next #WritersQuick5. If there’s a spare hour on any given day, I’ll tackle some of Amache’s America. I create a new writing to-do list every Sunday with all of my writing my goals for the upcoming week. I’m pleased to say for four weeks running I’ve reached all of them. Next up I need to start setting some more aggressive word count goals for The Samurai Prophecy, but like I said, I’m having fun with that at the moment so it’s much more like a treat than work.
I think that I’ve been able to keep things up in large part because I have discovered that, while writing has always been a part of my DNA, the eight months I took off made it a part of my day-to-day life in a whole new way. I can no longer live without the habits and projects that I’ve started. They are as much a part of me as anything else is, and many times, the thing I still want to do the most over everything else.
So, while I’m sure that as work continues to get busier and busier I might be a little more tired or might have weeks where it is hard, for now, I’m really happy with the way things have gone so far. Am I devoting as much time as I was when I was pursuing it full-time, working from home? No, of course not. But, is it still a sizable part of my life? Absolutely. And, it is a part that brings me incredible joy. It is still feeding my soul and pushing me forward every day.
Conclusion: My dreams have not changed. I still want to be a published author and I am doggedly pursuing that goal. If, for some reason, I don’t get published (traditionally or self) it won’t be for lack of trying. I’m leaving it all out on the field and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Stay tuned!