Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Breathing Time

I can't believe it's October. It doesn't feel like October. This year has gone by really quickly. I'm lost sometime in June or July. We still have some lingering summer, so it doesn't quite feel like fall, but that will come in a couple of weeks, and then it will be my favorite time of year.

Thinking this way got me started thinking about this time of year fifteen years ago. I went to a conference in Houston the first weekend of October, then when I went back to work, a former client who'd gone to work at a PR agency called me and asked me to lunch. It turned out that one of the companies I'd been doing PR for had consolidated their public relations at one agency, the one this person now worked for, and they wanted me to come work there to handle this client. I'd been intensely unhappy in my job for a while because of the way the agency where I worked was managed. The boss was a lot like Michael Scott on The Office, but more of a frat boy type. When I first went to work there, they seemed to judge everything based on your seniority at the company, so I had people supervising me who had a lot less experience than I did. But I stuck it out, and soon I had the seniority, but that didn't seem to count for much when a new person was suddenly promoted over my whole department, and she not only had less seniority, she had less experience, and she had zero people skills (to people below her -- she was great at sucking up to the boss). It didn't take much to make me want to leap. By the beginning of the next week, I'd accepted a job offer and handed in my resignation.

I'd learned from the last time I changed jobs that taking some time off in between jobs was a good idea, so I set my start date for the beginning of November, which gave me a week off plus my two-weeks notice. But because I was essentially working for The Firm, where leaving was considered a betrayal, I was supervised in packing up my office and then walked to the door when I resigned. That gave me most of October off, and it was sheer bliss.

I got a little taste of what it would be like to write full-time. I did do a lot of stuff around the house, as I'd moved in the previous summer and wasn't entirely done unpacking and settling in, but I got to set my own schedule. I took long walks to think and spent a lot of time reading and writing. I've recommended doing a trial run before making the leap to writing full-time, and this only made me want it more. The main thing for me wasn't so much the writing time as it was the time to breathe. Most of writing is thinking, and most of it happens away from the pen/keyboard. That's the time I was missing. Taking long walks and looking at the fall colors really is an important part of the writing process, and the time I spend writing is more productive if I've also had ample breathing time.

Little did I know that just a little more than three years later I'd be doing this full-time, for real. Since I'm not on a tight deadline this year, I need to remind myself of that year and how good it was for me to take the time to enjoy my favorite part of year.

Of course, that can't start until after FenCon. Then Fall Fest will begin!

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