So, as some of you may be aware now, I recently was given the great opportunity to become a full-time author/journalist. Ok, I say it that way to cover up for the fact that what this really means is I was laid off from my current form of employment. While that in itself is deserving of its own full post at some point in the (near) future, suffice it to say for now that yes it was unexpected and no I'm not worried. Does that answer your questions? :-)
I can't say much more for legal and other reasons, and won't be able to say much publicly about it for a long time, if not ever. But once the dust settles I should have more to say about some aspects of the situation, including our lovely system of "at will" employment here in Minnesota and why it's important for workers to have some advocacy when this type of thing happens. What is inescapable about the ordeal is that for the first time in seven years I no longer had a place to attend to at 8:00 AM in the morning on Monday, and the next four days after that. In some ways that was the most liberating thing I could possibly imagine.
I really didn't like working there. Most people who know me have probably known that for years. I also maintain an irritating personal defect in which I personally can't see when the need for change is urgent until some other external factor detaches the scales from my eyes. In the case of my first novel, this was my wife Mary, telling me to finish the book while I was wiling my days posting nonsense about international affairs online in the stupid hopes that somebody would read it. In the current case, it was being laid off.
My wife Mary tells me she detects a certain lightening of my mood, and I daresay I notice it as well. For the first time in my adult life, I've been given a chance to put my writing career first and let everything else become secondary. This had been the state of affairs for some time beginning with the release of my first novel last year, but I don't think I became aware of how true it ought to be until this all happened. I now realize that I have been given a gift (of time, opportunity, or whatever) through this, and despite the rather immediate need of financial security and all the grown-up fun that entails, I also get the time to spend working on my actual craft.
So I can now spend days like I did today, writing in the morning and then working on the proofs for my second novel (shameless plug: Last Man on Campus releases September from North Star Press), and then doing some blogging about the experience in the afternoon and attempting some marketing at night. Suddenly I find myself with 8 hours of normally wasted time working at a job I detested being used toward the production of my art. While I do worry about entering the rat race to find some form of steady employment, what I really want to do with this opportunity is become the author I know I am.
So this is why the somewhat-shuttering of my local journalism and the tumblr for a while, and my focusing on this blog at my actual website to tell the story of my writing career for those of you who like my work and are interested in it (you are out there, right?). I'll be sure to post updates about my upcoming book, post some excerpts, notate my upcoming signings/events in September, and basically talk shop about how I got to now for anyone who has interest in trying this on their own. I also hope to condense some of this stuff down into a talk that I could give to English classes at colleges or elsewhere for those who don't know where to get started.
So, to that end - I hope to give out some tidbits from my current project which I began today, stuff like how to keep up the pace of your routine and how to continue on even in the face of discouragement and/or reading your work and going: "this is crap." I will also post on other topics of interest, as that tends to lead everywhere these days from jazz music to the Greek bailout scheme to the sheer comedic brilliance of Tim & Eric (ok, so I've been watching some Adult Swim on my unemployment break, so what. Williams Street knew comedy from day one of their programming. LOL)
For those of you who would like to check this but don't want to bother with the hassle of going to my website, etc I will be posting this to facebook and Twitter, and also will (finally) be trying out an email newsletter, which I have been avoiding setting up like the plague for some reason, but have no excuse now that I have nowhere to be.
Regarding my work, the current iteration can be found at my friend Aaron Shaffer's awesome local news and entertainment website, MinnyApple. While I am not writing anything there for the time being, I hope to do a follow-up article on the city's Multi-Modal Traffic Study in our neighborhood area by the end of the year. Previously I reported on traffic/safety and light rail issues.
Signing off for this expressive installment, and hope to see you 'round these parts again soon. Stay tuned for more wild exhortations from the beyond by the (now, suddenly) full-time Author Man...!
And as always, thanks for reading.
John Abraham-Watne is an author and freelance journalist located in the Twin Cities, where he lives with his wife Mary and their two cats. This blog is his attempt to catalog all the events that culminate a local writer's life.