First things first, I have been horrible about blogging. Second, that first sentence has probably been typed by 99% of bloggers in the history of ever, so I’m not exactly treading new territory with that opening line. Sorry about that.
A big reason for the lack of blogging has been because I got a job exactly one month ago at Wipf and Stock Publishers here in Oregon. What this meant at first was adjusting to a regular 40-hour-a-week job AND taking myself out of the freelance writing game almost entirely, while still finishing up the assignments I had on my plate. Busy times. I also was finishing the first edit of the first draft of my novel before sending it out to my test readers. But I have been so jazzed about this new (and random and sudden!) development that updating the blog has obviously fallen off the radar while I’ve been restructuring my life the last month.
Why am I talking about all this? Apart from the fact that getting a job in publishing has been a bucket list kind of dream for me since I graduated from college 15 years ago, the big point I want to make here is this: you never know. I emailed this publisher cold at the start of last month on a lark because my wife had suggested I try adding a new wrinkle to my job search strategy instead of just applying for whatever jobs I knew were available. I received an email of thanks stating that there was nothing available at the time but that they would keep me in mind for future openings. I didn’t think anything of it at the time because dozens of businesses have told me similar things over the years and never once has it led to anything.
Fast-forward two weeks however, and I suddenly get an email from Wipf and Stock asking me to come in for an interview. That was on a Tuesday. I interviewed Thursday, accepted the job on Friday and began work there the following Tuesday. All because I stepped outside the box and tried something different. What’s that old adage about insanity and doing the same thing over and over? Well, sometimes when you try something different you actually do get a different (and sometimes better) result.
There are chances to be taken everywhere, especially with your writing; take them. 10,000 Words is a very different book for me because I have approached it in a variety of ways that are new for me, and that’s why I think it resonates with me on such a deeply personal, profound level (and why I hope readers will respond in a similar fashion). I’ve laughed, cried, questioned, waited, and a host of other things with these characters and this story line because it isn’t safe. It’s challenging, it’s thought-provoking, and while it is fiction, there is a part of me that feels like this is the realest, most genuine story I’ve ever written. And all because I wanted to do things differently this time and stretch myself emotionally and creatively.
Your writing has the potential to flourish if you feed it something different every now and then. You owe it to your writing to abandon your comfort zone at least every once in a while. You should do this today. You never know what the results might be.