Some stages of life can be summarized by a single word. Other stages (middle school, mostly) should be outlawed from all future conversations. Still others are so confounding or glorious that there really aren’t proper descriptions for them.
I find myself in the the first category. Katie and I are two months into our return from Switzerland. We would tell you that transition has been pretty smooth, but “pretty smooth” doesn’t stop me from waking up sometimes, walking out our front door, and expecting the 33 bus to take me to Hardbrucke.
Another transition happening right now is teacher to writer. You would think ten months would be a big enough window for me to grow accustomed to that change, but remember that I started that transition thinking my time as a full-time writer would be completely temporary. Honestly, my real goal was to get an agent while I was abroad. Anything else felt like wishful thinking. Well, in the immortal words of Brick Tamland, “That escalated quickly.” Now we’re back, and I have a publishing deal, and I’m trying to sort through all the unpredictability of how to make a career out of my imagination.
We’re also making a big transition from “first townhome/apartment” to “first house house.” Katie and I are searching for a place to live in this absurd Triangle market and wondering why every property has one really strange quirk (I’m confused… why is there a window there?).
Finally, I’m transitioning between projects as well. I’ve completed a new YA about horse racing… and I’ve completed my edits for the first book in the Babel series. With each completed work there’s a profound sense of accomplishment. Trust me. I sit back for exactly twenty seconds, smile at my computer, and eat anything that resembles chocolate in the house. But that’s always followed by the inevitable: What’s next?
And here’s where I want to do some honest digging. I struggle so, so much with this question. I’ve spent the past week doing what I always do between projects. I’ve shoved small tasks to the forefront of everything. Write this email. Check that box. Do some research (aka watching Bloodline on Netflix). I know I have other projects on tap. There are three different stories I could finish. There are two others I could begin. But I know all of those require heavy lifting. They require my energy. They require more than quick one-offs. I’ll have to plot and plan and dig deep.
I’m not advocating for constant work. Trust me. I take weekends. I take breaks. I work hard and I dog it whenever I’m mid-project, but there’s always time with my wife, or time with family, or any number of solid, restful distractions. There’s something, though, about this in-between that doesn’t feel like rest. It feels like taking the easy road. It feels like… this:
And as nice as this looks, I kind of promised myself I’d work tirelessly so that I can keep doing the job I always dreamed I would get to do. So there’s no quick take from this particular blog post, but there’s definitely a psych-myself-up encouragement.
Tomorrow I’m going to wake up, pick a project, and dig my feet all the way into it.
Here we go.