My schedule as a newly, fully self-employed writer has been roughly that of a school day. Work from 8am-12noon on freelance writing and Lost Crossings related work. Sometimes this is business-y work and other times it is newly creative. Take a short lunch break. Return to the desk and work until 3:30. Depending on the day, I will either apply for and search for jobs/grants/fellowships/residencies or I will work on new creative work. At 3:30 I stop and start my workout for the day, which usually takes me to suppertime or karate class.
In the evenings, I do not let myself return to the business-y stuff. I tried that before and it only resulted in a flurry of anxiety about the fact that I do not know what I am doing next or how I am going to support myself. Instead, I’ve been doing some spiritual and literature reading, or watching a Netflix movie, or spending time with friends.
They say that the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, uncertainties about your home (where you live or are going to live), and a loss of routine can cause cortisol levels to rise in the body. This means high stress, which means mood swings, zits, cravings, and irregular sleep. I have experienced all of this the past three weeks and refuse to let it suffocate my writing.
The routine I have now has held strong for a week and a half and it feels incredibly balanced. I can still have an off day from a rejection letter or a former employer email or grumpiness, but it’s just one day. And I always know there is the next day and another shot at making the most of my new routine.
I sent out two submissions yesterday that feel like the most hopeful and solid submissions I have sent in a while. One went to Flash Fiction Online*, a paying market. The other went to The Southeast Review, which I learned about at AWP and studied up on when I got home. I think some of my more traditional nonfiction might find a home there, and I’m aiming high in the nonfiction contest.
Here’s to moving on, eh?
*(Felicity, you should submit here!)