On This Day…

Ever look at your calendar and remember what you were doing on this day, one or two or three years ago?

Three years ago (well, April 25), I found myself in church. In western Ireland.

With only about 10 regular attendees, there were more people buried in the churchyard than alive inside the service. It was rather quiet. 

Aftewards, some friends and I went horseback riding! I hadn’t been on a horse since I was eight years old (when veterinarian topped my list of career choices).

This horse was named Rua (Gaelic for “red”). As we neared the hilltop, she bolted. Bouncing around, as in control as a sack of flour, I clutched the English saddle, watching my life flash before my eyes…and arrived at this incredible vista of clear sea and sky (with the Blasket Islands visible across the bay).

Having survived our adventure, we limped off, saddle-sore, to reward ourselves with…

…the world’s most amazing chocolate cake! Murphy’s is an Irish ice cream/sweets shop that makes absolutely the best chocolate cake in the world. If you’re ever in Ireland, find some. It’s an especially good way to forget about being saddle-sore. 
I still miss Ireland some days. Especially when I think about what I was doing on this day two years ago: editing my senior project in college. 
With scissors. Helps rustle up the necessary ruthlessness. No better way to visualize transposals or deletions. I also think I killed an entire rainforest’s worth of post-it notes. But I graduated!
One year ago, I was…

…at my desk, finishing the second draft of my novel. I’m now partway through the fourth draft, which (I hope) will be the last. Maybe this novel will see the light of day before I start getting a senior discount on my office supplies. 
And today, I am here, typing up this blog post:
Freelance life may not often take me across the world on exciting adventures. I don’t often find myself bolting up hills on a runaway horse or violently editing a story with scissors. It’s not every day I get to celebrate the accomplishment of a completed novel draft. But my imagination doesn’t starve. And that is a blessing.
What do you see when you look back at this day in past years?

Confessions from a Home Office

After almost 9 months of chugging away as a freelance writer, editor, and English tutor, I feel that it’s time to share my perspective on working from a home/office…er, home office. It’s often glorified as the ultimate work situation, but it’s certainly not free from challenges. 
After college, I moved back into the room of my childhood. The challenge was converting it into an office as well. Organizing the same amount of space to serve two purposes was a challenge. At first I just kind of put my work in a blender and watched it explode all over the floor. 
I eventually got a bit more organized, at least space-wise. But organizing time can be harder. I am my own boss, which leaves me accountable only to myself for time management. Sometimes I’m distractable and not productive enough. More often, though, I’m doing five things so efficiently that I multitask myself clean out of productivity. Trying to do too many things can actually keep my thinking so shallow that I’m not productive at anything, especially writing. 
Working from home can be hard to explain to others. Sometimes people think that because I stay at home, I don’t actually work. I promise–I do. But getting respect for that isn’t always easy. It can also be tough to guard my work time. Because I’m within earshot of the phone, the dishwasher, the oven timer, the front door, it’s the easiest thing in the world to get interrupted and distracted. Or to use home chores as procrastination stations. 
My job can be lonely. Sometimes I get to the end of the day overflowing with words because I simply haven’t opened my mouth to talk to a human being all day. My brain gets tired from juggling e-mails, flashback scenes, and semicolon placement, but there are no co-workers to socialize with around the water cooler. I’m learning I have to be proactive and intentional about spending time with people.   

But there are also some undeniable perks to the job. I love that my mornings aren’t dictated by a rush to beat traffic or catch a train. I really enjoy the quiet and calm of my own home atmosphere. It’s pretty nice to be able to grade papers while watching blue jays perch in the backyard birches or redline a manuscript while wearing my fuzzy slippers. And it’s been a special blessing to be available to help care for my grandma these past five months. 

A few days ago I wrote an e-mail to a friend who asked me what it was like to be a freelancer. My response was long. It’s a lot of work, and trust is a constant challenge as I have to keep surrendering my question-mark future into God’s hands. But I also realized that I love my work. I sure don’t feel like that every single morning. But overall, I’m so grateful to have this chance to pursue my God-given passions from a base of nurture and support.  I look back over the last nine months and realize that this time has not been wasted. In spite of the logistical snags, the isolation, the multitasking, the procrastination–I’m moving in the direction of what I was made to do. And that is a great feeling.


One of my goals this summer is getting my children’s novel ready to start the publication process! In the interest of productivity on that, I’m going to be cutting back to blogging once a week for the summer. Don’t let me slack off! The race is on!