29 Diapers, eco-friendly living, freelance editing, freelance writing, green parenting, how to become a novelist, Inhabitat, Laura K. Cowan, literary fiction, nature, shifting priorities, spirituality, Transportation Editor, work balance, work-life balance
“Are you able to handle shifting priorities?”
I think of this common interview question often these days. My answer used to be some mixture of examples from previous work experience and B.S. HR managers want to hear. These days my answer would be more like, “Are you kidding me?” In the last 4 months I have taken a new job, lost my daughter’s morning nap, twice shifted which of my three jobs/projects gets most of my available time, and dealt with sleep deprivation due to baby girl’s molars coming in and working with 3 1/2 hours less time per day to work than 4 months ago. It’s not so much shifting priorities as it is a constant sliding scale these days. But that’s okay.
This morning I had a great time at the lake near our house, talking with some mommy friends of mine about work and balancing career with kids. From our conversations I gathered we all deal with this, and the more kids you have the more often you shift priorities or shift plans on how to balance it all. Because I’m a nerd, I wrote down (again) everything I’m dealing with and some possible solutions to the current unsustainable schedule. I’m happy to say I’m heading back into a phase of focusing my efforts on fewer things as well as starting new phases of current projects. I’m excited about it, and for those of you who follow my posts about my journey to becoming a full-time writer/editor, here is a break-down of the new phase that is taking me one step closer to becoming a full-time novelist.
This hasn’t turned out as planned, with less pay coming in for more work than I had planned. But, I’m working on ways to offer Inhabitat more value for the limited time I can offer them, so I can hopefully keep bumping the income up while getting that “Transportation Editor” credit on my resume. I’m working on doing more car review features and interviews, plus I’m thinking up other ways I could lend more of my expertise to the blog, rather than running on the treadmill of regurgitating press releases for the morning news feed.
I was feeling stuck on where to take 29 Diapers for a bit, mostly due to exhaustion. Now I’m planning a new phase of the blog in which I will test homemade natural personal care and cleaning product recipes and not only post them on the blog for my readers but also compile them into a new book. Publishing a new book is just the sort of thing to give me more energy to keep this project going until I know I have exhausted every avenue I want to explore for monetizing my little micro start-up.
I wrote 22,000 words in July, woohoo! All it took was shifting 5 hours of work per week from Inhabitat and 29 Diapers to my novel, and I quickly wrote the rough draft to part 3 of my novel. Now I need to polish up the whole thing, adding atmosphere and polishing characterization and plot in part 3 and sprucing up the whole manuscript. Then, I’m off to one Christian fiction writers conference and one mainstream fiction writers conference to meet agents. This WILL happen. Everything else is a hobby compared to my goal of transitioning to literary/spiritual fiction writing as soon as it is workable. And my husband and I have recently defined what workable means in terms of the income I need to bring in. I love boundaries. Thanks, Punkins.
… And Another Project
Okay, so this probably doesn’t sound focused, but I decided to contact a church that has been very formative in my spiritual growth and propose they launch a new online magazine and social media outreach to replace a print magazine they use to publish that I loved and miss since they stopped publishing it two years ago. Turns out they were planning just such a project and may hire me to write some articles and interviews, as well as do some editorial work for them in the future, if the project takes off after launch. I would have to shift some work hours from another project to this, as I literally have no extra time left to give (unless I worked from 2 am-4 am, hmm) but spiritual writing and editing work would fill out my current theme of heading towards work that focuses on eco-friendly living and spirituality. I would love love love it if I could use the green living and spirituality genres of non-fiction to finance my transition into writing fiction about nature and spirituality. How perfect would that be? And just like that, things are coming into focus for the next few years down the road.