My Year of Quitting Dangerously

I haven’t written any NaNoWriMo words for over a week. I thought surely by now, I could’ve finished all of my other assignments and gotten back on track.

But as I wrote on just Day 3, I’ve been in NaNoWriMo crisis. These articles of advice didn’t help that much because I didn’t have time to read them. Then I finally found this article helpful and realized that perhaps I needed to call it quits for this year.

It’s not that I don’t like my story or that I don’t know what to write. It’s that this year, far different from years of the past, I just can’t find the time to devote to writing…at least not for Nanowrimo.

You see, after all these years I’m actually getting paid to write for someone else. And, it just goes without saying that the paying jobs have to take priority. In fact, I’m taking a little too much time on this blog post.

I don’t like to quit, but as I was pondering this year during my semi-regular (when I can) lunchtime walk along the Richmond Canal Walk, I realized that I’ve quit a lot of things this year.

For the past two seasons, I’ve spent my summer weekends managing a gift shop at Kings Dominion. I was prepared to do so again this season. But I thought back to last year when I basically worked seven days a week for seven months, and I came to the realization that I’m too old for this. The other consideration was lack of family time and whether or not it really was a financial benefit. It wasn’t.

On the political side, I’ve done far less here at The Write Side and spent most of the last two years blogging and editing for Bearing Drift. I helped launch the magazine, editing the first eleven issues. Finally this summer I had to give it up. It was a labor of love and I’m very proud of the work I did there. While it was difficult to leave, I had to come to the conclusion that if I’m going to be a freelance writer and editor, I need to be in a position of building up a base of clients.

Every year since 1998, my family has been intimately involved with Glorious Christmas Nights at West End Assembly of God. My wife and I, as well as our two boys have been regulars in the cast. But after a summer of unfortunately unemployment, my wife is back to work, with a promotion and a very busy travel schedule. The older son is off at school, and the younger 6th grader is in all honors classes and doing math that is over my head. Still I need to be around to help. So, regrettably, my wife and I dropped out of the cast. The son will still sing with the youth choir, but even his participation is limited.

So, you’d think with all of that quitting, I’d have plenty of free time. But did I mention that we’ve also been doing some remodeling at the house? Outside that house, we also have eleven very productive oak trees, and one dead one.

But the amazing thing is that the writing assignments have been piling up. After more than ten years of blogging and writing on line, I’m developing a client base. It seems as though weekly I’m getting more assignments.

I guess I really haven’t been quitting. I’ve been adjusting my priorities. I work my day job. Then I take care of family things and writing in the evenings. On good days, I’m up early enough to go swim for the sake of my arthritis.

I have dreams that one day I’ll be able to quit (or at least retire from) the day job. And it seems like things may be falling into place for that to happen.

And that, as they say, is a dream coming true.

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