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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

African Wine, Food, Music & Words--You're Invited!

New York Friends, come celebrate the 3rd Birthday of my firstborn book with a "Taste of Africa". On  April 6, 2013, I'm going to be reading and signing books at an intimate gathering in the West Village complete with tasty eats and wine, and a performance by Sierra Leone's own Azania. Please say you'll come -- all ticket sales will benefit Telem Camp 2013.  You can buy a ticket ($25) here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My New Writing Life

Forgive the silence! I've been adjusting to my life as a full-time writer.

Back in June, I resigned from my day job to focus on figuring out how to "just write". It's been a grind and a half.

I imagined myself flying through my third book (which I've started!) with all this new time devoted to my craft. Instead, it's been a balancing act of pitching editors to write articles, selling my copywriting skills to ad agencies; then writing the work I've been blessed to get, and chasing the resulting checks.

When I add up the time I spend pitching, writing articles/copy, and check-hunting, I have just a little more than I used to to work on my personal projects. But even that sliver has been precious. I feel myself becoming more observant and in tune with my creative self/voice, and more attentive to what's happening beyond my life. I'm also taking more time to keep up with the business of the book industry and how it affects writers (see my blog People Who Write), taking classes, and connecting with others writers (I recently became active in my church's writers group).  

Again, it's a major hustle. I do not want to sugarcoat this new life of mine. But the fact that it has been possible to pay my bills has been exciting. It has completely changed the way I think about money, work, and my time. Now that I'm paid per hour, everything I choose to do with my time "counts." Alas, my time has become money. It's helped me to get better-ish at prioritizing, more aggressive about pitching, and a little more fearless about "putting myself out there".

In the meantime, I've had to have many talks with myself about money. I used to be so bad with money -- a huge spender. Then, I started saving to move out of my parents' house, and became a Suzie Orman disciple, a constant "Can I Afford This?" refrain in my head. That mindset helped me cut a lot of the frivolity out of my life, but as I've gone through this new round of cuts, if you will, I've learned to allow myself more indulgences, and appreciate them without chiding myself.

Above all, I've learned how much I love writing. I've always known this, but I feel a new respect for the gift and the craft. I'll try to be better about keeping you posted.