preparing to go

I've been working all week. On what?
1. Administrivia. Confirmation letters, email, phone meetings, W9s, faxing, airfare reimbursement, car rentals, dinner plans, scheduling changes, equipment needs, teacher goals, coordinators' needs and expectations, PowerPoint presentations, workshop flow, questions answered, lessons learned. 
 2.  This book. In researching the sixties, I came across Fire and Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story of 1970. I spent two hours reading it in the bathtub last night. I'm still a prune. And I'm loving this story. I may have to do a whole blog entry on it at some point. It's due back at the library today, and I hate to return it, but I will, and I'll get right back on the hold list.
3.  This manuscript. It's not for the sixties trilogy, but it is. It started out as research, six years ago, and has morphed into a story of its own. I think it's going to end up an opinionated biography in book two, that's what I think. We'll see.

4. This food. Simple and homespun. I know I'm going to miss it, on the road.

Fall travel is about to begin in earnest. I leave Sunday for Alexandria, Louisiana, where, on Monday, I'll work with students in schools served by the Rapides Parish Library system.

Then I'm home again, and then -- boom! -- I'm on the road more than I'm home, until Thanksgiving.

Working writers make their livings in a myriad of interesting ways. Some have full- or part-time jobs that have nothing to do with writing. Some are supported by spouses, or parents or other benefactors. Some -- a few, really -- make a living entirely from their writing.

Once, my good friend and fellow writer Tana Fletcher told me that there were three secrets to viable self-employment:

-- have one or two permanent paying gigs.
-- diversify.
-- create passive income.

She was right. As long as I have remembered these three guidelines and have worked toward them steadily, I have done just fine on my own. I let go of a permanent paying gig when I moved to Atlanta and left my Towson teaching job, and when I decided not to teach in low-res MFA programs anymore. I haven't figured out what to do to replace that "one or two permanent paying gigs" part of the self-employment equation, but I'm diversified to Kingdom Come.

Part of my diversification is teaching and speaking. To speak and teach, I travel.

Fall travel is always like this -- a grind and a blessing. I try to prepare as best I can by being very, very quiet in the weeks leading up to fall (and spring) travels. I get still. I eat well, sleep well, read, write, soak up home, and try to make progress on the next book.

I try to make sure all my administrative ducks are in rows before I set out, because I know, once I'm on the road, it is too hard to do much else but be on the road then home again, on the road then home again, repeat.

Home is for catching my breath in these next couple of months. But this week! This week is for working steadily away on feeling at home and in my most-beloved element, working away and working well. I love these early fall days.

What are you working on this week?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Howdy. Moderating comments to prevent spam. I'm sure you're not that. Thanks for your thoughts! Write on, warrior on. Make art.