My son has been in child care full time for about 3 weeks now, and I’ve been more productive in those three weeks than I have in three years. I’ve picked up another freelance journalism client, and when combined with my main client, I will have filed 18 different feature stories for the two of them in the month of March alone. I’ll be filing the last two stories on Monday morning, which means I’ll have completed all 18 March article assignments with a week to spare!
I’ll be dedicating that week to catching up on some other things I’ve been neglecting, like some website development and fiction writing, and some other miscellanous administrative tasks (like preparing and filing my quarterly taxes, a must now that I’m a full-time freelancer). I’ve been working on my current novel for about a year now, and I’m really hoping it will be my “breakout” book that launches me mainstream into a wider audience. Of course, I’ve been hoping for a breakout novel for a while now, but I’ve really been working on this one with that explicit goal in mind. If I can finally finish the draft by early April and get it off to my agent, I’ll feel really good about my fiction-writing career this year. I have another completed manuscript that’s been percolating at my agent’s office for a while now (she’s finally going to pitch it to editors at a conference next week; the main editor my agent thinks will be interested has been on maternity leave, and she wanted to wait until that editor returned to work before shopping the book.) Plus I’ve got another book sitting in front of an editor at a major NYC publishing house that’s been there a while now, and I’m hoping they’ll make a decision soon.
I’ve decided once I’m done with my “breakout” manuscript that will be the end of my fiction writing for the year. I’ll need to focus more on being a journalist for a while, since that’s by far the most stable income-producing line of writing in my life right now. I’ve put playwriting on the back burner entirely (no money, total pain in the ass, though I do still get productions of my published plays).
I also have decided I want to dedicate some time to looking for a “real” journalism staff job, instead of just being a freelancer. I’d like a salary and benefits, and everyone knows the staff writers get the best assignments, anyway. The recent events in Japan have really reminded me of just how important journalism and journalists are, and having traveled to Japan myself (it’s a beautiful country and an ancient culture, and I follow Zen Buddhism, which is part of that culture), I am very saddened by the state of things there. Journalists can and do make a difference in the world, and I’d like to be part of that—-at least more so than I already am.