I’ve had a lot of conversations about time lately: how it can pass both so quickly and so slowly. Scientifically it’s a measurement, but emotionally, it’s a pretty unreliable one.
When I was trying to think of a way to capture the past few months and explain why it’s been (way) too long since my last blog post, the lyrics of a song called “Time Is A Runaway” by The Alternate Routes, came to mind.
The past few months, time really has seemed to runaway, in mostly good ways. So here’s a bit about where my time has been running since my last post.
I WENT ON VACATION.
Every year for the last 17 years, I’ve gone on a cruise called The Rock Boat. From the outside, it’s hard to understand the magic of The Rock Boat, and from the inside, it’s hard to explain. But I’ll try.
In it’s most literal sense, The Rock Boat is a floating music festival started by Sister Hazel and Sixthman in 2001. A five-day cruise, it features somewhere around thirty bands. There is live music on five different stages and activities like Flip Cup, Battleshots and Headphone Disco that go from noon until 2 or 3am. There’s a reason it’s often called Spring Break for grownups.
But more than that, The Rock Boat is a family reunion. Whether someone has been on board all 17 years or only one, it’s a wonderful and welcoming community that has introduced me to some of my favorite bands and some of my very best friends.
It always takes a few days to recover from The Rock Boat. There’s even a phrase for the condition:
I LEFT ONE JOB AND STARTED ANOTHER (ISH).
While getting my land-legs back, I was also figuring out my new employment plan. After 15+ years of working full-time for advertising agencies, I made the leap to Freelance which was equally exciting and terrifying.
In theory, it’s the best of both worlds. I’ll be able to work for agencies around town with new people for different brands on a variety of projects. And during the off days, I’ll be able to spend time working on my personal projects, trying to get my first novel published and editing the second one.
At least that was the plan.
In reality, the days before I landed my first freelance job were spent sending emails, staring at my inbox waiting for a reply, getting to know the ins and outs of LinkedIn, sending more emails and staring at my inbox a little longer.
I SPENT A LOT OF TIME AT STARBUCKS.
After finishing what I called ‘Draft Zero’ of my NaNoWriMo novel back in December, I went back to make some revisions on my first novel. I ended up cutting about 30,000 words by starting the story later and making the manuscript tighter overall by eliminating some non-essential words. (More on that in a later post!)
Once that was done, I went back to my second work-in-progress novel. I printed out a hard copy of the manuscript and read it all the way through for the first time. Good news: I liked it! Bad news: Well, there wasn’t any real bad news—but I did catch a few typos and a couple of character inconsistencies, but nothing that I couldn’t fix.
I made it through all of my edits just in time to send it off to an online Women’s Fiction Critique Group that I’m a part of. At this moment there are 17 people I know only through this Facebook group reading the manuscript that my family and one of my best friends loved. But we all know that doesn’t really count (no offense!).
I GOT MY FIRST FREELANCE JOB.
If real estate is about location, location, location, then Freelance is all about networking, networking, networking.
During the second week of my Freelance search, I went to an industry happy hour and connected with a few old and new friends. The very next day, one of them was contacted about a job they couldn’t take and he kindly passed my name along.
The next week, I started Freelancing at a great agency, working with an awesome team on some fun projects. Two-ish months later, I’m still here and have been able to pay it forward and connect a few friends with Freelance opportunities.
When agencies need the help of Freelancers, it’s usually because they’re busy. Really busy. So it goes without saying there have been quite a few long days and some weekend work. But when you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t always feel like work.
I SAID GOODBYE TO MY GRANDMOTHER.
Losing someone is never easy, even when you know it’s coming.
The hardest part of the past few months was saying goodbye to my Grandmother, but I know how lucky I was to have her in my life for as long as I did.
I won’t get into it all here, but here’s a link to a post I wrote about her.
I CAUGHT UP WITH FRIENDS.
Somehow, I blinked and it’s been seven months since I’ve been back in Chicago. There are still people I haven’t had a chance to catch up with, but I’m working on it!
Living in a town where I am lucky to have so many great friends to happy hour and go to concerts and watch games and sing karaoke and brunch with has been fun, but exhausting!
Which leads me to the point and title of this post.
I’VE BEEN LIVING A LIFE WORTH WRITING ABOUT.
A few months ago, my mom gave me this dishtowel. I love the words on it and try to live by it every day. So while I’ve been living a life worth writing about the past few months, I’m working on getting back to writing about it all!
Thanks for bearing with the gaps, and I hope to get back to posting more regularly!
And if you’re looking for a freelance writer, keep me in mind! My portfolio is online at www.alisonhammer.com.