Tag: job

I love my job but I hate this part

I love my job. Writing stories and articles and study books delights and excites me.

    But…

Don’t you hate when people say something good and then ruin it with a but?

I like your hair, but…it looks like you’re stuck in the 80s
Your dog is so pretty, but…he has no manners at all.

You know what I’m talking about. People do this all the time. WE do this several times during any conversation.
Because the truth of the matter is ugly hard to swallow unimaginable depressing.

Nothing in life is without its flaws and drawbacks.

(Sorry, honey. I know I tell you and everyone else that you’re perfect, but that’s just not the case. You’re perfect in my eyes only…and when you don’t leave the toilet seat up.)

I’m a full-time, professional author. To earn a paycheck, I substitute teach at the local middle and high schools.
I enjoy teaching. I believe it’s one of my secondary strengths (which is why I write Bible study books and teach women and teenagers at my church).

But writing is my soul food.

When I’m in the groove, churning words directly from my heart and mind onto paper (or a computer screen), it’s Heaven-on-Earth.
Why? Because I believe I was created to do this “writing thing.”

What I Love

I love when I get a new idea. It sparkles and gleams. Every cast of light reveals another dimension.

I enjoy sketching out the plot. I do this with a ton of “what if” questions. And I only hammer in the major plot points before I begin to write. I like to give my characters just enough rope to jerk them into an uncomfortable position.

I adore setting up the scenes in Scrivener, color coding them so I can keep track of things like narrator or timeline.

I don’t even fear the blank page.

I crank out the first scene. I don’t sweat it too much. It will get rewritten more than any other scene in the novel. I accept this and pound out the words.


I bite my lip as I write the last scene. Where do I think my characters will end up? How do I end this?
Believe me, I come up with some incredible last lines.

Then they get edited out of the final manuscript.

I write. There’s no fear of blank screens and blinking cursors.

If I’m not “feeling” a scene, I skip to where my characters are begging to go. I can fill in the blanks later. In fact, those blanks might be better scenes if I don’t force them when I’m not emotionally engaged in writing them.

The whole fast draft and first draft process makes me feel euphoric.

Not that I Hate This

Okay, actually, I pretty much despise everything that comes after writing the first draft of a novel.

As for shorter projects, I don’t mind making several editing passes and polishing the manuscript to a shine. I can do it in relatively the same amount of hours I invested in creating the original draft.

Novels? Not so much.

There’s no way to comb through 70,000 plus words in three weeks (the average time it takes me to write that at the rate of 1,000 words per hour).

And every manuscript needs multiple “passes” before it’s ready to be seen by someone I want to buy it.

I think I’ve written about my process before here and here, so I’m not going to bore you with those details again.

The problem is that the words start to all sound the same after my sixth pass through a manuscript. I can’t discern what works and what doesn’t.

I’m done. I hate this stupid thing. Can I throw it away now?

Some writers talk about coming to love their stories the more they work on it. I get there after the publisher’s editor takes a fine tooth comb to it, pointing out all the weak points and helping me strengthen them.

But while I’m working on the pre-published manuscript? I come to despise it.

Sometimes, when I pick it up months later (on a break from my most recent revision nightmare), I decide it’s not such a bad story. That character is pretty witty. That fight scene gives me palpitations.

But when I’m in the middle of trying to polish it, hoping to convince a publisher to take a risk on me?

I get to the point where I can’t stand the sight of it.

Why would anyone want this if you hate it so much?

Who cares? I just want to get it out of my sight.

What things do you love about your job? What makes you groan with dread?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.
Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.

Dear Teenager: Your Dress Code isn’t about Sexism

Dear Teenage Girl

The dress code at your school isn’t about sexism. Enforcing those rules isn’t a form of discrimination.

Click here to read my personal rebuttal to this piece of propaganda. Today, I’m going to address the girl whose school day was interrupted by a trip to the office.

Dear Teenage Girl-

I’m sorry you won’t be able to wear your Jennifer Aniston slip dress at school today. I know that seems so unfair.

Let me direct your attention to the Student Handbook, page 8, section IX. It clearly states that undergarments can’t be showing.

I understand that you aren’t wearing any (yes, this actually occurs at middle school), and because of that you’re violating the next bit. Let me point out the phrase about “skin-tight clothing” that reveals too much of the anatomy.

Is this really about treating girls like sex objects?
Is this really about treating girls like sex objects?

I hope a boy wouldn’t show up wearing that dress, but just yesterday, Jim Smith had to change into pants that wouldn’t drop below his hips because his underwear were showing. This isn’t a discrimination issue.

It’s about a dress code.

School is your job. Jobs have dress codes. If you don’t follow those dress codes, you get written up. You might even get fired.

This meeting has nothing to do with your choice of clothing. It has to do with the fact that you chose to disregard the rules of this school.

I see you have gym this quarter. I’m happy to escort you to the locker room so you can change into your gym clothes.

Oh? You have jeans and a t-shirt in your locker? That’s interesting.

Let’s get those clothes and see if they meet the requirements.

Sincerely,

Your School Administrator

******

The chances this principal will get a call from an irate parent are high. Which underscores the problem with posters (such as the one above) that claim enforcing a dress code is sexist.

What would you say to this girl? Or maybe you’d like to address the administrator.

Next week, I’ll finish this series off with a letter to a teenage boy about this matter.

Graduation Day

High school graduation - 2009
High school graduation – 2009

June 15 at 10:00 am, the commencement ceremony begins at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls. The stadium teems with parents, grandparents and friends.

I have a tissue (or four) ready.

My oldest son sits on the field below us. Since I didn’t attend my graduation ceremony (traveling to New Hampshire wasn’t as important as going to Germany), I’m living vicariously through him once more.

Even while the speaker gives motivational and inspirational advice, I know Tanner is thinking ahead. The younger we are, the less we live in the moment.

After an interminable amount of time and a seemingly endless list of names, he shakes the President’s hand and grasps his diploma (not really; they pick those up later, but symbolically he got that certificate). His four-year journey through higher education is ending.

Now real life begins.

Job versus Career

I’d rather be a failure at something I love than a success at something I hate. – George Burns

Image from afterspm.com

I spent five years after my youngest son was born at home, my career was raising the two precious souls I had borne into this world. Before that, I had several jobs, but none of them were as essential to the well-being of another person as motherhood.

Now as I stand at the crossroads of another season in my life, I’m wondering if I will quit my job in order to get another one. Or is it time in my life for a new career, since my sons are adults?

What’s the difference between a job and a career? Is there one?

Merriam-Webster defines a job as “a piece of work; especially: a small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate.”

According to this definition, if I wrote an article for a website and they paid me $20, that would be a job. Is what I’m doing at the school a job? I am working for a specified rate of pay, doing the tasks outlined in a job description.

The dictionary says a career is “a profession for which one trains and which is undertaken as a permanent calling.” If I felt my work as an instructional assistant was my “calling” then it would be a career.

In my mind, something temporary is a job and something permanent is a career. The dictionary seems to endorse this perspective.

In that case, I’m quitting my job at the school to pursue a career in writing.

That sounds so grand and glorious.

I might undertake some freelance writing jobs to further my overall career, but I’ll be seeking a career as a novelist. If I never publish, does that mean I never had a writing career?

Do you see why I’m often confused by this topic? I’m finding it difficult to explain to my coworkers what I’ll be doing once I quit my “regular employment.” If I’m not reaping a steady income, most people don’t see writing as a career move.

The dictionary says a career is a “profession” but it says nothing about monetary compensation; on the other hand, money is specifically mentioned in the description of a job. What do my readers think of this topic? Can I have a writing career if no one is paying me?