Calm Before the Storm
By Dave Fox
I work with a delightful career coach named Christine who gives me advice on how to remain self-employed without having to live out of a dumpster. Normally,when we meet, she rattles off lists of stuff I should be doing to be more productive, gain a bigger following as a writer, and ultimately be able to afford luxury items such as bread. But last week, she gave me advice that was radically different from her usual suggestions:
“Do not take on any more new creative projects for the rest of 2011.”
And it’s January.
Christine’s point was that I have a totally insane year ahead of me. In the next eight months, I plan to sell my condo, sell my car, sell roughly two-thirds of my other possessions, temporarily relocate to another part of Seattle, publish a new book, create a big new online humor writing workshop, give a bunch of talks around Washington State, guide tours in Scandinavia, guide tours in Seattle, get married, and move overseas to a currently unknown destination.
“That’s enough,” Christine said.
I have done the math, and if I get all of this done, book a few more presentations, and sell a few of my books, I will still be able to afford bread.
“There’s just one thing you need to be doing,” Christine added. “You haven’t been blogging lately, have you?”
I used to blog four or five times a week. Before that, I was writing more polished columns for my humor website on a regular basis. I had a respectable online following. That all unraveled with the invention of social networking. I’ve made several attempts at a comeback, which all began with my first real humor article in a long time, and a promise to stop snorting catnip so I could write more. Alas, my time has been limited.
So here we go again. I’m making a pledge to blog at least twice weekly. I have exciting topics, after all: The freakish behavior exhibited by others when a wedding looms on the horizon; the anxiety-addled anticipation of wondering where we’ll land in August. (Kattina, my fiancé, is a teacher, seeking work with international schools. If all goes well, we’ll know in a month where we’re moving. In the meantime, we have nightly debates on potential scenarios, such as, “If job offers come simultaneously from Singapore, Botswana, Cyprus, and Curaçao, and we have 24 hours to decide, which one of us will be the first to have a brain implosion?”
This is all blog-worthy stuff. But is there time to write any of it?
Not if I continue my self-destructive habit of taking pride in my writing.
Good writing takes time. It takes more time than I have. So I’m trying something new. To hell with quality; I’m going for quantity. Just get the stories out there, so that in eight months, when I suddenly announce I have relocated to Curaçao, readers will understand what the hell is going on. So stand by for lots of bloggage in the coming months with minimal proof-reading. A minimum of two posts per week. A maximum of 20 minutes per day. If I do not keep to my twice-a-week commitment, please send me scathing hate mail. Just don’t demand correct spelling.
My very next event, starting Wednesday, is a completely frivolous trip back to northern Wales… to be an aging alternative rock groupie. It’s one final micro-vacation before I nose-dive into months of insanity. Kattina was supposed to talk me out of this. Instead, she said, “Go. It might be your last chance for a long time.”
Rumor has it Internet access is sketchy where I’ll be. Rumor also has it I might be too jetlagged and beer-soaked to write anything coherent. But hopefully there is bloggage ahead about why a 42-year-old, former-wannabe-hipster will cross eight time zones and endure six days of sleep deprivation to see two of his favorite 80s bands.