Crockpot writing…

Okay, if there’s anyone out there who actually follows this diary of a prepublished writer, do not pass out from shock. Yes, I am updating my diary today. And, yes, I know that it’s only been a month. But, I guess, when you have something to say, you have to say it.
I believe I am psychic.

All right, not really. However, my prediction of the demise of my employment within a few weeks of my last entry was absolutely true. Last Thursday, our department got the ax. Some of us even got the shaft (long story, but that would be me). We then met the recruiters from the outsourcing company that is taking over, were told we had jobs with them if we wanted, and then we all crept quietly out of the room.

I went to my car, cried, tried to call my hubby (not available), called an ex-coworker, cried with her, called hubby again, cried to him, and then set my mind to repairing my life.

By the next day, I took charge again, stating to my boss that if I was going to be treated like a 32 hour per week employee in regard to my severance package (the long story) after working 40 hours per week every week for the last 5-6 years, then I was going to be treated as a 32 hour a week employee in regard to my schedule. This gives me an extra day off every week and makes getting the shaft far easier to stomach. I also accepted the job with the outsourcing company and decided that having an extra writing day every week sounded fantastic (and less painful financially than complete unemployment), so I signed on for a four day work week. Yippee! Feeling much better now.

So, how does all this impact my writing, you ask? Again, some life experiences to draw upon in the future…what does it feel like to be a loyal employee for 14 years and then to be treated like crap? What does it feel like to listen to a company VP wax poetic about how “valued” you are, how much praise you have earned over the years, etc., all the while knowing that he’s adding up in his head how much of a bonus he’ll get for saving the company X number of dollars this year by closing your department? How does it feel to watch coworkers struggle with fear of the unknown? (Hell, how does it feel to struggle myself with fear of the unknown?) All this is fodder for future books.

That is, if I get to writing again. Stress is not a good motivator. (Coworkers admonishing you to hurry up and write your bestseller so you can support them in their unemployment is not a good motivator either.) So, needless to say, the book’s behind schedule, the muse is taking a siesta, and I have too much crap to do in the next 22 days. (Ever tried to fit an entire year’s worth of doctor’s appointments into one month?!)

I e-mailed my agent today and told her I felt she had been speaking to me from “beyond.” Last night I listened to a borrowed CD of last year’s RWA Conference workshops (which I didn’t attend), and my agent was on a panel. Her parting words (the last words to fall upon my ears prior to going to bed last night–as if from my “writing angel”) were that if she could tell her clients one thing, it would be this: slow down. There is no sense hurrying in the ever-so-sloth-like world of publishing. The market will still be there tomorrow. And your rushing will only prevent you from writing the best book you can. I sighed with relief.

I feel like I’ve been given permission: To savor the last few weeks at a job that has served me well for the last fourteen years. To dream up the perfect plotline and character arc for the next chapter of my life…the story of someone creeping up on her dream of writing full time. To drop the guilt that my book isn’t done yet, and to know that it’s not going anywhere if I slow down and allow it to just simmer on the back burner for a bit.

Oh, and it’s a bit late for New Year’s resolutions, but I have finally made one for 2005 – I will never, ever, EVER, again (at least until writing is my only occupation) tell anyone I can write a book in three months. Six months, maybe…and if it gets done in three, it’ll just be a bonus. Or a miracle.

I am now subscribing to the Crockpot slow-cooker method of writing. And my agent said it was okay.