Working For Yourself: Month Three (Letting Go)

I’ve been talking a lot about entrepreneurship and APW the last week, so I’m going to keep this month’s Working For Myself brief. But first, can I just say, Month THREE? When I went to write this post, I was sure I was supposed to title it Month Four, at least. Time has been flying by, and it’s been wonderful (if maybe a tiny bit stressful and crazed). So, what happened to me this month?

I finished writing the APW book, just about.

I’m saving writing the last chapter as my final act before I finish the book, but other than that, the words are on paper. I’m not done, mind you, I have some heavy editing and some serious deadlines ahead of me (May 1 for the first half, and June 1 for the second half), but hey, words on paper! For those of you keeping track, that means I wrote a 60,000 word book in 12 weeks. I’m not sure what I have to say about that, other than, you write a book by just showing up and doing the work… at least every other day.

David gave me a funny backhanded compliment the other day. We were talking about the editing process, and about how, unlike 99% of the known universe, my husband included, I actually kind of like when people edit my work (I actually hired a local friend to help me edit my book as I was writing it, so yes, I actually paid cash for extra editing). So David said, “Well, for some really strange reason, you don’t think of yourself as a wonderful writer, so you’re really enthusiastic about people helping to make your work better.” And I said, “Of course I don’t think of myself as a wonderful writer, why would I think of myself as a wonderful writer?” And he looked at me like I was the dullest person in the world, and said, “You write for a living. And not technical writing either.” Of course I started grinning, because my husband had just back-handedly called me a wonderful writer.

But he nailed it. That’s exactly what I think. I never thought writing was an option for me, even though I’ve written a thousand words a day since I was 14 years old. But I’m dyslexic, I can’t spell, I can’t edit for punctuation, and I’m generally a little word blind. So it literally never occurred to me that writing was an option, or even really something I did (if you write without spelling things properly, do you really write?). So when it came to self-expression, I went into acting (even though I ended up doing the kind of performance that involves writing, but… details). And then I started a blog. And now I’m writing a book.

But somewhere along the way, I failed to self-identify as a writer, which has made writing the book… easier? Because I just sit down and write what I think, and try not to spend too much of my energy worrying about the fact that I’m not Judith Martin.

I let go (at least a little).

I worry less now about if I’m working during the time period of 9-5. I worry less about replicating the same schedule every week. I worry (a little) less when I have a not-so-productive day. I worry (a little) less about not being able to keep up with every comment, my blog reader, and my email.

And this weekend I unplugged for a whole weekend, and read a novel. It was amazing how much more ready I was to get back to work on Monday.

And with that…

I’m off to New Orleans tomorrow for the Mom 2.0 blogging conference. I keep thinking that this would be a hilarious way to announce to the internet that I’m pregnant, but I’m totally not pregnant (I mean, thank god. I’ve got some Abita’s and mint juleps to drink in NOLA.) I’m just off to talk about the business of blogging, and hang out with a whole lot of smart women that I love a whole lot. As a non-mom.

I’ll report back. Probably tipsy.

Oh, and New Orleans ladies? Anyone who wants to consider meeting me for an early Magazine Street breakfast on Saturday, meet me in the comments. If we have a quorum, we’ll consider it. (It’s a quick trip, so, sorry about that being the only time I’ve got.)

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