(Since I've been so busy with my US Census Bureau work these past five months and haven't had much time to write, and the group is on Holiday Hiatus so members aren't contributing blogs for November and December, I decided to reread the blogs on my personal website: http://sharibroyerbooks.weebly.com
and update one of them, quite belatedly, for the November 2015 post. Working on this old blog has served to remind me of the gifts I have been given in my writing life, and in the Thanksgiving spirit, I extend my deepest gratitude.)
Every writer wants time alone. Being alone, for most of us, is, in fact, a necessity. We can't think, can't write, can't be creative if we're not alone.
In the years just prior to 2010--when the school I worked at in California downsized due to state budget cuts, and I was one of the casualties--I was so distraught and overwhelmed I began inwardly screaming, "Just. Leave. Me. Alone!!!" Before my position was axed, my workload steadily increased every year while my benefits and the value of my hard-earned dollars decreased. I was swamped at work and had to take on outside jobs to make ends meet, as well. Worse than all that was the shadow of doom that came to hover menacingly above the school starting in about 2004. Every year from then on, that shadow loomed ever larger and darker over all our heads as we watched others around us get swallowed up by it. It was terribly depressing, never knowing from one school year to the next who would and wouldn't be there any longer, who would or wouldn't have a job.
When the axe finally fell for me, I was almost relieved. I had to slow down and re-evaluate, and what seemed at first a terrible misfortune turned out to be an unexpected gift that allowed me to give myself permission to pursue my lifelong passion for writing. These days, however, I'm alone so much that I sometimes get bored, or antsy, or even bluesy. I tell myself, "Well, you got what you asked for, to be left alone." But then...
Then, I open up my email boxes, or go on Facebook, and I see all the friends I truly have, friends I may not see in person very often, if at all, but they are there for me, nonetheless. Like the members of Writers Roundtable (now Writers, Ink.), the group I founded in 2011--the year after I moved here to Arizona--and facilitate at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. We only meet once a month, but I am in touch more often than that with some of the members, and all of us regular members have become true friends; indeed, I call them my family.
And while I've had to drop out of Desert Rose, the local chapter of Romance Writers of America, and also the Scottsdale Society of Women Writers, and I no longer attend Arizona Dreamin', a readers-meet-writers convention that began in 2011, I still see some of the writers occasionally and remember fondly the good times I had when still a member or attendee of these groups. I had a blast at the first Arizona Dreamin', and I remain friends with hunky romance cover models Jimmy Thomas and Ryan Diaz, and local authors like Amber Scott, Deena Remiel, and Tamala Vinson. They're the best!
I still belong to CWOW--Christian Writers of the West--the Phoenix area chapter of ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers, where I enjoy lunch and the inspiring speakers that they have bi-monthly. And I do still attend the free day-long Desert Rose Workshop held every year in November at the Scottsdale Civic Center Library. There, I reconnect with writer friends, and I always take away new nuggets of information about the writing world and craft, as I just did on November 14th of this month.
I've had, alas, to cut back on a lot of writing activities over the last year or two--first due to lack of finances when my business faltered a bit while still finding its feet and then due to having to seek employment of the usual sort--but I'm grateful to have work that allows me to set my own hours and basically remain independent, work that provides a steady income to supplement my writing/editing/publishing self-employment. The jobs I've had thus far with the Census Bureau have been short-term, part-time, and intermittent, but I've just been offered a permanent part-time position that will be less demanding than the ones I've taken on before, so my little detour back into the workaday world will ultimately be of great benefit. I'll continue to have steady income and more hours to get back to what really matters--my world of writing.
I've also met some great friends while working for the Census Bureau; good people who work hard and conscientiously, like I do, but who love to laugh and have fun when the opportunity arises. And the public has been, by and large, a joy to work with, as well. The surveys and special censuses have gotten me out and about, I've learned more of the lay of the land, and a bit about the people of the area, too. (Of course, I can't divulge particulars, but I've discovered that there are a lot of great folks living here in the Phoenix area--both regulars and "snowbirds".)
Yes, I've been "back-burnering" much of my own writing again, juggling editing clients and the Census work, but "back-burnering isn't always such a bad thing. Throughout the years of "back-burnering" I still met a lot of other authors, aspiring writers, agents and editors that I've kept in touch with, people who've helped me and people who've been helped by me. It's a win-win situation, and I'm grateful to have made--and to still be making--these connections. They remind me that the writing world will still be waiting when I can get back to it, that there is a supportive net beneath me.
Nor could I possibly forget to mention my editing/publishing clients. The people whose works I edit (and now also publish) have brought so much more into my life than cash flow! I've never even met some of them in person, but through our working relationships, I've come to know them personally and to consider them beloved friends.
(Whew! This list is growing longer by the minute, and I'm not done yet!) I haven't included those authors and others in the "biz" who've simply shared their expertise with me at conferences or in books or online. Perhaps I should rephrase: "simply shared" doesn't begin to cover the wealth of wisdom I've gleaned from them, all the ways they've helped me, too, even though we've never had one-on-one contact.
When I think about things from this perspective, I can see how densely populated my writing world is. There's no way I could ever be alone!
So, the next time I start to feel alone and lonely, I'm going to pull up this blog to remind me that a writer's profession is never the solitary thing it so often seems. None of us creates or promotes or sells our writing in a vacuum. There are multitudes working alongside us, with us and for us, even if we rarely, or never, see them, and we are not alone.
Copyright © Shari Broyer, April 24, 2012, November 25, 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be used or produced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org