Monthly Archives: December 2010

The best Christmas gift for a writer?

My 10-year-old daughter has asked me the same question every day for the past two weeks: “How many days until Christmas?”

(Whereupon I remind her that she’s in fifth grade and should be able to add and subtract by now. But that’s another story.)

Funny thing is, I thought I was way past the point of counting these days myself.  But clearly I’m wrong, because I’ve been doing the same thing since Sunday. Why?

Not because I’m looking forward to presents (though I am), egg nog (ditto) or even the hordes of people I’ll be cooking for on the Big Day (bah humbug, but I’ll deal with it).

It’s just dawned on me that I’m counting the days because it’s really a countdown to some much-needed time off. I love writing and never seem to tire of it, but God do I need a break.

It’s a gift all by itself — too much work. I’ve been swamped in recent weeks, barely holding on for the weekends when I can get some decent sleep, and I’m thrilled at the momentum I’ve gained and the likelihood that this will hold through the coming year.

In the past week I’ve gained another client, a smaller website that wants me to write about a dozen articles on a certain health theme, and have promised to deliver all of them by Jan. 10. It’s a “one-off” client — something that, strangely enough, I’ve never had. I’ll have to write a separate post about it, as it’s an interesting situation I’ve had to handle in an entirely new way.

But truthfully, I’m too zonked to even go there. I just need the rest that’s going to come before all that.

Many of you may be feeling the same way, hopefully also flush with ongoing gigs for the year ahead. It’s my dual Christmas gift: enough work, and enough time off to recover from it. Didn’t know Santa could carry all of that!

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Half a brain

I know my blog has only existed for the past month, but already I have some steady readers out there. You know who you are — thank you!

You may notice that I’ve posted a blogroll of some of the blogs and websites I visit regularly. It’s a pretty eclectic mix — there are other writers’ blogs, but also some mom blogs and one dedicated to interior decorating, which is — as my husband likes to say — my expensive hobby.

Everyone on it has greatly impressed me over the months or years I’ve been reading them, and I’ve been taking mental notes about what it is that sets each apart from the other. It’s hard to build a readership when your blog simply blends in with all the rest, and with only a few weeks of blogging experience under my belt, I am still figuring out how to make mine one that offers some je ne sais quoi that keeps readers coming back.

I’m coming off a couple of great writing weeks, weeks where I’ve actually had to turn down work because I’m so booked. It’s a luxury, and I hate it. The memory of all my clients disappearing a couple of years back remains strong, and I worry that editors will pass me over for future assignments if I’m unavailable for even one. That’s not what usually happens, of course, and it may even benefit me that they understand I’m in demand.

It doesn’t help that I’ve felt like such a dork while setting up this blog. A month to figure out how to add the blogroll? Really? Takes me down a few tabs to realize that I’m really not all that bright. My tech abilities lag far behind my language skills, and it’s painful to notice.

But it’s virtually impossible for writers to effectively promote their writing these days without being able to navigate all of the technology that gets our names out there. It’s simply not an option to decide not to learn it (unless you can pay someone . . . which a writer’s salary often can’t support) — so I’ll keep at it.

Meanwhile, take a gander at some of the sites on my blogroll. These writers clearly have both sides of their brain in gear, and I hope to follow in their esteemed paths.