Sunday, August 02, 2009

More Time to Do What I Love

This Sunday morning I lay in bed until 6. Things I needed to accomplish whirred through my head before I pulled myself out of bed, fed the cats, started some laundry, made some coffee.
When I got to the computer, I began working on query letters for my completed novel Trail Mix. It's about two suburban women who, with no previous camping experience, come up with the perfect way to shed excess pounds and family responsibilities – hike the Appalachian Trail. It's a 2100-mile odyssey from Georgia to Maine, a grueling experience. But friends Andi and Jess figure life on the trail can't possibly be worse than dealing with disgruntled husbands, sullen teens and a general malaise that has crept up in their daily lives. Plus, they're bound to return thin. That's the summary of my novel that I insert in the letters asking agents to read my manuscript. You can see an excerpt here:
When I send query letters to agents, I research them, find out what kinds of books they represent and try to find a specific book that may be similar to the one I want them to sell. Sometimes I click around from link to link searching, other times I go to book stores and peruse each one for the name of an agent. I sent two email queries then came to an agent who wanted a snail mail query. I printed it out, tried to write the address neatly on the front of the envelope, then went to my purse to grab the stamps. When I opened my purse, I saw a lotto ticket for last night's drawing.
"Better check that," I thought. I could be a millionaire already.
And then the thought ran through my head, what would I be doing if I was a millionaire. Would I still be sending out query letters? The answer was yes. Money makes no difference in trying to find an agent. I would still be writing and trying to sell my fiction. It's what I love to do.
Would I be teaching at two colleges if I won the lottery? No. Although I enjoy interacting with the students, writing is my passion, not teaching.
That's my reminder from the universe. Don't get caught up in the day-to-day salary earning, remember to do what you love.
It's timely, that reminder, since my five-week courses are ending this week. I'm going to feel like I'm on a vacation teaching only an online course and another four-hour course at my new university employer. I need to use that time for the thing I love doing -- writing.
I need to focus on my goal to write and sell fiction as my primary salary. I should resist being distracted by the opportunities to make a little extra money teaching when what I want to do is write.
What things in your life would you give up if money wasn't an issue?


Stephanie said...

The coolest thing about your love of writing is that there are alot of us out here who love what you write. We are direct beneficiaries of what YOU love to do.

It's only a matter of time before you are published and your audience grows and discovers what we've know all along.

I think if money weren't an issue, I would ADD things, like traveling. Oh, I WOULD give up graduate school.

Linda said...

Have you ever done that hike? I just wonder where you got the info on doing it. I think the idea is just wonderful. I wouldn't do much differently if I won the lotto, probably because I don't work any more. Maybe buy my children homes, pay off this one. I'm lucky to be happy in my life.

Paulita said...

Linda, you are lucky, and if you complained we'd all point out that you live in Provence. I guess it isn't about winning the lottery but figuring out what we love to do with the hopes that we could live comfortably while enjoying our lives. It sounds like you've figured out how to do that.

Paulita said...

Oops. I forgot to tell you that I've hiked two sections of the trail but only as research, not because it's a passion. The first time was lots of fun. The second time felt like lots of work. I'd do it again if I had a sherpa.

Just me said...

I love the summary. Really pulls me in; My soul instantly relates; And it sounds fun (maybe that comes from the names of the characters ?

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