What Comes First, Redux

I’ve been tired, slogging through the days. Zombie-shuffling down hallways. Walking into walls—literally. Forgetting things people tell me. Shocked I haven’t made more mistakes.

A big, monumental decision came last week. I’d really set myself up for a fall—I’d hung on to this dayjob that hasn’t laid me off yet while at the same time pursuing writing projects, just-in-case, plus freelance on top of that, and I crashed. I used to be able to work full-time, write work-for-hire novels, and do freelance proofreading and copyediting on the side, but, I don’t know, I guess I’ve just gotten older and there are things I can’t handle anymore. Or maybe it’s knowing all that I would be giving up if I took on so much on top of my full-time job. I wouldn’t be able to write my own new novel. Where would I find the time?

I knew all this, but I buried it. I kept on. I thought I was getting sick, like something serious. My stress had grabbed hold of me physically. The headaches, the heaviness, the blurs. But then, when I admitted the truth to myself (to my husband, to my mom), I felt so much better. I couldn’t do it, not everything I’d said I’d do. Something had to give.

So I took myself out of the running for one work-for-hire novel project. Postponed a meeting about another. And, on Friday, I turned down one more work-for-hire crash writing project that would have left me breathless through mid-April. Of course, after last night and seeing how much we owe in taxes this year, I am regretting the loss of those paychecks, but…

Fact is…

I want my life to have meaning. I don’t want all the regrets. I have these realizations over and over, and yet I keep making the same mistakes. But no one is going to give me the time to write this novel. I will not get a big fat check to make this possible. I can’t even apply to a writers colony right now because I don’t have enough vacation time at work. I will have to work harder than I ever have to do this, and I’m all on my own with it. But that doesn’t mean I should give up!

So I’m back. I turned in my last freelance project yesterday morning. All that lies ahead are the hundreds of pages I have to write. Daunting? Yes. Frightening? Yes. Buckets of doubt raining down on my head? Oh my, yes.

Still gonna try though. I can’t handle as much as I used to, so I have to be even more focused with my priorities: E, novel, dayjob. That’s it.

Something heartening happened this week that’s helping to keep me afloat. I showed my last novel, DANI, to a couple of people. The response! I am so happy by what was said! Thank you to those friends who read it! Sometimes a good word can keep you going for months. I’m taking this one and running with it…

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7 responses to “What Comes First, Redux”

  1. I am SO glad you turned down those jobs. I know the money would really help but I know how hard it is to balance multiple projects. I am only taking care of Sam and knitting (I’m not even trying to write) and this freelance copy edit is going soooooo slow. I don’t know how you do it.


  2. Nova, What a sane, sane thing for you to do. Three priorities: husband, writing, work. That sounds good to me. This novel you’re writing now? It’s going to be wonderful. xo


  3. GOOD FOR YOU–I am proud of you for carving out time to do achieve your goals and to take care of yourself. You are awesome.

    And maybe…enchanted June? 🙂


  4. I think you made the right move. Just reading how much you were doing and contemplating doing made my head spin. Over time you’ll see that despite the fewer paychecks, your life does have more meaning. I doubt you’ll regret making these decisions. And about your latest novel? That’s awesome.


  5. I am so moved by the way you write about your writing and your life. This list of priorities sounds just perfect to me. And I heartily applaud you for turning down work that doesn’t meet your needs right now (well, the needs that don’t have to do with paychecks–but I’m with Mari; I think life can have more meaning even with fewer paychecks.) I think it’s a brave and bold thing to do, and I think you will be rewarded. So glad a new novel is coming for you. I’ve got one stalking me, too…and after I read your posts, I always feel so inspired to write! Thank you! (And your cover is BEAUTIFUL!!)


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