Friday, January 23, 2015

Scenes from My Freelance Life

When I started freelancing full time, I had grand plans to document the whole process, including my income, because there's nothing I like more than over-sharing. But then I realized how much ghost-writing I was doing, which I can't exactly share. And money is strange and complicated and different for everyone, and my rates seem like an Ace best kept in the hole. 

I am, however, freelancing full time, paying my rent every month, and not starving, which sort of makes me feel like a rock star. (I'm also not paying off my debts in any noticeable way, but that piece will fall into place one day. I hope.) And I have to say: this is the best job I've ever had. I work a lot, but my hours are flexible, I'm almost always wearing slippers, and I can take breaks whenever I want to walk the dogs, make a snack, or go to yoga. The dream, my friends: I am living it. 

To show you just how dreamy things are, here are a  few scenes from my life as a freelance writer, editor, and teacher. 

My Giant Dry Erase Board


This was pretty much the only thing I wanted for Christmas, and Santa delivered. Because I have multiple clients with rotating deadlines, being able to see everything in one place has been a game changer. I list all my projects, put a line through them when they're in progress, and then erase them completely once they're submitted. It is seriously the greatest thing ever. 

My First Cover Story 


I started cold-calling the editors of all the local area magazines over the summer, and it's finally starting to pay off! I recently wrote a profile of a local business woman for one magazine, and scored my first cover story with another - see photo above! The print magazines pay slightly better than the online writing I've been doing, and I like that they're focused on local stuff, so I get to interview people in person, see free theater, and stay involved with Wilmington community. 

Divide and Conquer 

Photo Credit (and first Google image result for "empire.")

Remember that beer and wine tech startup I was blogging for? The app is doing well, but they're cutting the blog (for now? forever? who knows!) which was sad for two reasons. The first was that I enjoyed writing that blog, as it was fun and easy and all about booze. The second was that the gig provided roughly half my monthly income, so losing it was a substantial hit. I'm bouncing back already, but it was a good reminder to diversify. A proper freelance empire can't lean too heavily on one client, no matter how tempting that may be/how much free wine they give you. 

Freelance Teacher 


I started teaching again last week! Just like last semester, I'm teaching one section of First Year Seminar, AKA Welcome to College, AKA How to be a Person. The class is required for all students in their first semester at the university, which means nobody actually wants to be there. I, however, really enjoy teaching it and plan to win most of them over. (My evals from last semester were unanimous in that all my students loved me despite the fact that I was teaching a "boring, pointless, useless class," which I consider a major success.) Also, while I love working from home, it is good to go out into the world twice a week, to put on pants, and to interact with other humans. I am learning how to be a person, too. 

The Best Office Ever 


One of the greatest things about our new-to-us house is that I have my very own office. This makes working from home feasible, and - despite the very causal dress code - helps me feel like I am actually Going To Work. Speaking of which, it's Friday and I have miles to go before the weekend. Better get started! 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Half Marathon Training in 2015

After a few weeks of hemming and hawing, I finally decided to sign up for the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon. 



The main reason I wasn't going to sign up was the same reason that stops me from doing pretty much everything - money. We are serious about paying off some debt this year, and skipping this race would have been an extra credit card payment or a week's worth of groceries. But then I thought about how much I love this race, and how much fun I had running it in 2013 and then again in 2014. It's pretty much the only race I run these days, and it's local so I don't have to spend any money on travel. Plus training for a race is a great way to stay motivated and keep my feet moving. Or, as Kate so eloquently put it, create "the feeling that all my miles are adding up to something." And so: I'm registered. I'm relieved. And I can't wait to race!

As far as training goes, I'm planning to run three times a week. One long run, one day of speedwork, and then a short, fast run, tempo-style. I even splurged on a new pair of running shoes. (And by "splurged" I mean "replaced my old shoes that had holes in them." Also I saved $20 by purchasing the ugliest color in my size. Shame: I do not have any.) 

Actually, the purple/pink/neon green combo is growing on me.

As far as goals go, I'm setting a lofty one - at least for me. In 2013, my time was 1:59:31. In 2014, I finished in 2:00:20. This year, I would love to run a 1:55. (My personal record for the half is 1:58:21, which I set way back in 2009, so 1:55 will be a new PR by a lot. Go big or go home, right?)

Will I achieve this goal? I have no idea. Will I eat a giant brunch at the Dixie Grill immediately following the race? You better believe it.

Is anyone else training for a race this spring and/or hoping to set any PRs? It's been a while since I've written or really thought much about running, and I'm excited to get back into it. 

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Required Writing, Required Reading

Required Writing


I'm hard at work on the first draft of a new book, and by "hard at work" I mean it doesn't yet have a title or a middle or an ending. It does, however, contain over 12,000 words, thanks to a certain productivity trick. It's called "Don't Break the Chain" and the Internet credits Jerry Seinfeld with its creation, though I'm sure he can't be the first person to ever do this. Basically, you begin by setting a goal - for example, my current goal is "write 1,000 words a day." Each day your goal is achieved, you get to cross that day off on a calendar. This adds to your "chain," which you want to make as long as possible. If you miss a day you have to start over, at which point you will inevitably try to beat your previous record, because goals and numbers are the greatest thing in the world. (You can see why this method works well for me.) 

A behind the scenes look at my writing process. Fancy!

This system is great for first drafts, at least the way I write. It encourages me to get the words down and worry about the story later. Right now, I'm still trying to figure out what the story is, and each day a bit more emerges. When it comes time to revise, I'll probably have to find a new method (wine? despair? hiding under my bed?) but for now I'm feeling pretty good about my progress. 

And if a paper calendar is too antiquated for you, there's also a handy website where you can cross off your accomplishments virtually.

Required Reading


In addition to writing every day, I've also been reading a lot. I suspect this is partly why I've been able to write so much - the two activities are inextricably linked. It's only the second week of January, and I've already finished two novels. I've also been enjoying some amazing writing on the 'net, which I am happy to share with you. 

Here are some things I've read recently and loved, written by my friends: 

And here are some things I read and really enjoyed, even though I don't know the people who wrote them: 

And finally, I have no words of my own yet for this latest tragedy, only my condolences, sadness, and horror. I don't want to politicize a terrible event (though that is inevitable), but I hope it shows that reading and writing are still and always will be important, revolutionary, and life-changing tools. 

Monday, January 05, 2015

Year in Review: 2014

Perhaps you thought (hoped?) I was done talking about 2014, that I had finally moved on to the greener grass of the present year. Almost, but not quite. I was reminded by the illustrious Kate that I forgot to post my favorite "Year in Review" survey. And since I've done this survey for the last three years, it didn't seem right to suddenly skip it. I promise, after this, I will let 2014 rest. For now, here's one last look back. 



1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? 
I finished my novel, defended my thesis, and earned my MFA. I also visited Seattle for the first time for the AWP conference, and became self-employed without going broke. Kind of a big year, I guess. 

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

Remember how I was going to make 12 monthly challenges? Yeah, me neither. This year I have some goals, all of which currently feel attainable. Check in with me again in May. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 

My MFA friend had a very cute baby named Graham, which I think is a lovely name. Otherwise it was a slow year for babies. 

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, and for that I'm grateful. I did lose two of my chickens, but those were minor tragedies, all things considered. 

5. What places did you visit? 
Not too many travels in 2014, thanks to ongoing attempts to live within our means, pay off debt, and finally create a savings account. I did make it to Seattle for AWP, to Long Island to see my parents, and to Rhode Island to visit dear friends. Otherwise we were all Wilmington, all the way. 

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? 
Once again, I would like more money and a semblance of financial stability.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched in your memory, and why? 
May 10th:
MFA graduation day. So bittersweet! 
December 1st: Personal reasons (good). 
December 30th: Personal reasons (not so good). 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Earning my MFA, finishing my first novel, and launching my freelance career - a list that looks a whole lot like my answer to question number one. Still, I was and remain proud of all those things. 

9. What was your biggest failure? 

I was not very social in 2014, especially in the latter half. I would like to be less of a hermit in 2015. 

10: Did you suffer illness or injury?
I actually made it through all of 2014 without so much as a head cold! (Hangovers are self-inflicted and don't count.) I also stayed pretty active. While I took a step back from running, yoga and weight lifting filled in the gaps nicely. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
A new laptop! God, I love my MacBook Pro. And even though we didn't actually buy it, choosing to rent a different house was a game-changer. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My dear friend Amy from Nacogdoches. Over the summer she set a goal to spend the month of December studying yoga in India, and is just now returning from that adventure. Following her journey was really inspiring, and I'm so proud of her for making it happen. 

13. Where did most of your money go?
Debt. Those student loans are serious business, kids! Proceed with caution. 

14. What did you get really excited about?

Writing and reading. I don't know how people who don't enjoy books get through life.  

15. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Probably "Shake It Off" by the one and only T. Swift. It came out right as my sisters visited Wilmington and we rocked out to it about 3,000 times over the course of four days. 

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? Sadder. I miss all my friends who moved away.  
b. thinner or fatter? About the same. 
c. richer or poorer? Hard to say. We have a tiny savings account now, but did not make as much progress on our debt as I'd hoped. So I guess about the same, which, thanks to interest, is just a nice way of saying poorer. 

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Spent more time with friends. Paid off more debt. Visited our families. 

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Looking at my iPhone. 

19. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, alone, while Nathan worked. In the evening I went to my favorite bar and had a few drinks with my friend W. and the owner of the bar, who is also a good friend. (Nathan and I celebrated Christmas the day before, and drank mimosas and opened presents and drove all over town in the pouring rain to take care of various animals. It was not a banner Christmas.) 

20. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Again, as always: I fell more in love with the same person. (Aw...)  

21. What was your favorite TV program?

I really like New Girl, which I watch on Netflix. I also started rewatching Gilmore Girls, a series I never actually finished, and it's fine. Oh, and House of Cards! I really like that show. Basically whatever is cool on Netflix, I watch. 

22. What was the best book you read?

I devoted a whole post to this, but it was a tie between Roxane Gay's An Untamed State and George Saunders Tenth of December

23. What music did you get excited about?
Last year I wrote: "This question is terrible for me, because I'm so bad about music. I mostly listen to Pandora, and mostly to the Avant Garde Jazz station. It's my favorite writing music." I am still listening to that same Pandora station, though now I alternate between it and the Explosions in the Sky station. I rest my case.  

24. What did you want and get? 
A literary agent. (Wait, what? Yes, it's true, and I'm burying that news in the middle of this very long survey because I'm afraid I might jinx it so shhhhhh.) 

25. What did you want and not get?
Honestly, I want for very little and all of my needs are met. I really can't complain. 

26. What was your favorite film of this year? 
I have no idea.

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 
I turned 32 and wrote a time capsule. Nathan and I hosted a combination birthday/housewarming party, because we had just moved into our new place. It was a big, fun party, and almost everyone who came brought me a bottle of wine as a gift, because I am a wino and that's okay. 

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? 
Skinny jeans, cardigans, and bright colors. I have worked hard to simplify my wardrobe and now stick to classic, simple outfits. I like the way I look most day, which feels like a true victory. 

29. What kept you sane? 
Yoga. Wine. Seamus and Calvin. (Dog snuggles make everything better.) 

30. What political issue stirred you the most? 

Racism and police brutality. It was unavoidable, but in a good way. These issues are too important to be avoided, and even though they were sad and tragic and uncomfortable, I'm glad the discussion and the fight for equality continues.  

31. Whom did you miss? 
Every single MFA friend who moved away after graduation. Come back! 

32. Who was the best new person you met? 
I didn't really meet anyone knew in 2014. Hopefully 2015 will be different! 

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014. 

Nothing is certain and everything is temporary, so you might as well enjoy yourself. 

(Survey results from years past: 2013, 2012, and 2011.) 

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Auld Lang Salad


A brief and unofficial survey of my Facebook feed reveals that pretty much no one is sad about saying goodbye to 2014. I can relate. While a few good things happened it was, overall, an underwhelming year. Outside of my small circle, the world at large didn't appear to have that great a time, either. I haven't written much about everything going on in America these last few months, but I've been deeply affected by the violence, brutality, and racism in this country, even though I'm grateful to see tough conversations taking place. Someone referred to 2014 as a building year, a time not for celebration or accomplishment but growth, the kind of year that is necessary for solid foundations and actual change. I hope this proves true and that, looking back, 2014 will be remembered as necessary, if not particularly fun. 

And even though nothing has really changed this morning, except for the fact that I will have to learn to write "2015" on my rent check instead of "2014" (good thing I just ordered more checks) the symbolism of a new year makes me feel hopeful that better things are on the way. So: Happy New Year. Let's make it a good one. 

And that is a really awkward segue into a recent revelation that I would like to share with you, which is perhaps the best thing that happened in 2014. I finally discovered mason jar salads. 


Now, I'm not the first to make a salad and put it in a mason jar. I'm sure I won't be the last. If you've visited Pinterest at any point in the last five years, you're likely well acquainted with this phenomenon and you're probably rolling your eyes at my "discovery." I get it. I used to roll my eyes, too. 

Then I realized I was a vegetarian who hardly ever ate vegetables, and if I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of telling people I had scurvy, something had to change. So I made salads, put them in mason jars, and my life was instantly improved. 


As far as I can tell, there are three main benefits to putting your salad in a mason jar. 1. You have single serving salads ready to eat at a moments notice. 2. You layer the salads in the mason jars so the dressing is at the bottom, and the most delicate things are at the top, which means nothing gets soggy. 3. You can finally rationalize all those mason jars you've been hoarding in your hipster closet. 

I like to layer mine with a homemade dressing, followed by cut up veggies (cucumbers, red bell peppers, onion), then chickpeas, then quinoa, and finally some greens. They last about a week in the refrigerator and each one has been delicious, crisp, and fresh. If you've never made a mason jar salad before, I hope 2015 is the year it happens. 

Here's to a new beginnings, fresh starts, and all the salad you can eat. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Goals for 2015

For the last few years, I've been choosing a word to serve as my guide in the New Year, which I have found to a be a surprisingly helpful exercise. It makes me conscious of my actions and sets a tone for how I want my life to feel, which seems like a holistic way to approach existence. Last year, the word I chose was Risk. It was a good word for a tumultuous year, and I thought about the concept of risk often, mostly related to my career. I became a full time freelancer. I cold-called companies and sent pitches to slush piles everywhere. I took on assignments, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I sent my book out into the world with crossed fingers. While there were some failures in there (risk is always, well, a risk) overall I'm happy with the chances I took. I'm ending 2014 in a good place, personally and professionally, despite periods of loneliness and depression (mostly related to my bank account). 2014 was not an easy year, but I'm grateful for all it taught me. 

This year I'd like to continue the path I'm on, but now that I've got some stability beneath me, I want to work hard, push myself, and take root. Thus my word for 2015 is Dig.

photo credit

How will I use this word to guide me through 2015? Well, for starters: 
  • I want to dig into my fiction: writing another book, submit my work to magazines and contests, read more literary journals and books, and stay connected to a community artists.
  • I want to dig in to this strange new career: hustling for freelance assignments, expanding my skills, paying down debt, and reaching for dream publications. 
  • I want to dig into Wilmington: we're staying here for a few more years, at least, and I want to take advantage of all this small city has to offer. Go to events, make friends, host parties, etc.
  • I want to dig, literally: we had no garden to speak of in 2014 and this year I want to grow food and herbs and flowers, get my hands dirty, and eat from my own backyard. 

As for other assorted goals and resolutions: 
  • Write book #2 (or at least finish a promising draft.) 
  • Blog twice a week (aiming for Mondays and Thursdays.) 
  • Practice yoga twice a week, preferably three (headstand in 2015? Maybe!) 
  • Travel and go on more adventures (camping, kayaking, and visiting family count.) 
  • Read 35 books (and log them in my spreadsheet.) 

Mostly though, I want to be productive, kind, thoughtful, industrious, connected to the people around me, and in touch with those far away. I want 2015 to be a good year, part of the journey that leads to a good life. I don't know what the next twelve months will hold, but I'm going to do my best to make them count. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Home for the Holidays


This year, we stayed home for the holidays. While I'm grateful for the opportunity to avoid the crush of holiday traffic and nightmare of December flights, I'm also a bit bummed that we won't be getting out of town or seeing our families for Christmas - including my very own husband. Due to scheduling and the fact that people needs ambulances every day of the year, Nathan is working today. (For the record, I'm not complaining about this! I'm proud of my husband and glad he can be there for anyone who needs him, especially during the holidays. Also: time and a half.)

Because he couldn't do Christmas today, we celebrated yesterday. It was extremely low-key - presents and a mimosa in the morning, an afternoon spent darting all over town to feed the various animals I am watching, wine and a Twin Peaks marathon in the afternoon, fancy dinner for two, and FaceTime with my family to open a few more gifts. We both received some incredibly generous presents from our families, including a soup pot I've spent the last two years lusting for and a GoPro (which means 2015 will be the year of the high definition video - I hope you're ready!) While it was a very nice celebration, it turns out I am a selfish person, because despite the pleasant day and the awesome gifts, I can't help but be a little sad about missing the big family celebrations.

But that's what happens when you grow up and get jobs and acquire a zillion dollars in debt and wait too long to look at plane tickets. I just sent Nathan off to work, and so far my plans for Official Christmas include darting all over town to feed the various animals I am watching, reading a good book, working on some writing of my own, and eating all the delicious leftovers from yesterday's feast. (And by that, I mean PIE.) So really, it's going to be a pretty nice day.

I hope that wherever you are and whoever you're with, you spend today happy, satisfied, and filled to the brim. Happy holidays and merry everything!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Best Books I Read in 2014

Photo Credit

For the last two years, I've been keeping a spreadsheet of all the books I have read. (The title of the spreadsheet is, you will be shocked to learn, "Books I Have Read.") This is perhaps the best thing I've ever done for my reading life. Not only do I keep track of title, author, and genre, but I also rate each book on a scale from 1-5, record in which month I read the book, and include a one sentence review to help jog my memory (I am really bad about remembering the majority of the books I read).

In the past 12 months, I have started (and finished) 24 books. (Two of those books were unpublished drafts written by dear friends for critique purposes, but I'm still counting them.) As always I wish I'd read more and, in 2015, plan to do just that. 

As for 2014, 2/3 of the books I read were written by women, and 3/4 of what I read was fiction (mostly novels, with a few short story collections thrown in for good measure). I was most surprised by the genre breakdown, but looking back it makes sense. I was so entrenched in writing my own novel in 2014 that I was curious/desperate to see how others had done it. A few of the books I read were for grad school or for teaching, but as I generally chose those books myself, there weren't too many duds. I was also in a monthly book club, which forced me to read things I might not have otherwise picked up, which is probably the single best reason to join a book club. (That, and an excuse to drink a lot of wine during meetings - very important.) 

Here are more details about some of the books I read and how I felt about them:

Gender Breakdown:
Books written by women: 17
Books written by men: 7

Genre Breakdown:
Novels: 16 (+1 unpublished draft)
Short story collections: 3
Nonfiction: 1 (+ 1 unpublished draft)
Poetry: 1
Graphic novel: 1

Most fun I had while reading in 2014: 
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline
The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

Most horrifying books of 2014: 
An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
The Dinner, by Herman Koch

Most interesting book of 2014: 
Life on Mars, by Tracy K. Smith

Most disappointing books of 2014: 
The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes
Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

Best books of 2014: 
An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood
(a re-read, because I was teaching it)
The Tenth of December, by George Saunders

Now it's your turn: 
What's the best book you read in 2014? What was the worst? What are you most looking forward to reading in 2015? What should I add to my to-read list? Do you have any reading goals for the New Year? I'm going to shoot for 35 books, which will ensure that reading is a priority, but not force me to devour books at such a speed that I don't have time to appreciate them.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Last Three Weeks

Hello! I certainly didn't mean to stay away from this space for three weeks, and yet my last post was published on November 19th. Here's what you missed.


Thanksgiving 


A bit of a bust. While my best friend from grad school, Erica, was in town for a week, my parents' flight from New York was canceled at the last minute due to mechanical issues and bad weather, and they weren't able to make it. I was very upset, as my parents never, ever, ever visit me (I'm always schlepping to New York) and also I miss my mom constantly, but I was able to drown my sorrows in tofurky and pie, so all was not lost. Plus we hosted a small group of lovely people, drank wine, and played a thousand rounds of Scattergories. Overall, I was thankful.

NaNoWriMo


If you recall, I was aiming to write one flash piece a day during the month of November. I was doing well for the first half of the month, and then I stopped. I wouldn't call it "giving up," or "failing," exactly. I was just sort of... done. I got a few good pieces out of the experiment, and a few horrible ones. And about half of the flashes I wrote were actually tiny scenes from the book I've been thinking about writing next, which was perhaps the greatest gift of all. At any rate, I felt like a winner.

The Next Book 


After compiling a few false starts, some fits and bursts, and all that flash into a document, my new book is already 5,000 words and counting. I'm at the stage where I hate every single word (naturally) but I do like the characters and the loose plot already, so I feel like I'm beginning in a good place. That's all I'll say about the book for a long time - I learned my lesson after the last one. (The lesson being: everything will change at least six times.) 

Freelance 


This is the real reason I've been away from this space. I've been writing a lot for other places, and making some decent money in the process. I'm thrilled to report that we're ending 2014 on a slightly higher note as far as our financial life goes. (Though, to be fair, there was nowhere to go but up.) Here are some of the things I've written lately that I like best: 


Looking Ahead 


As 2014 winds down, life is getting a tiny bit slower - at least for a few weeks. The semester is over, so I'm not teaching again until early January (I got a Freshman Seminar section for the spring!), freelance is quiet, since most my clients are going on vacation, and we're not traveling anywhere for Christmas this year due to financial restraints. I'm looking forward to blogging more often and also to reflecting on last year and planning for the next one. In other words: more soon, for real this time. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Currently: Autumn Edition



First, I apologize for the silence on this blog these last few months. I hardly ever apologize for that sort of thing - this blog is, after all, a labor of love; I've always posted whatever, whenever, and it's worked out just fine - but I seem to be averaging once a week lately, which is an all time low for posting frequency. I don't see that changing any time soon, whether it's because I'm blogging so much for other people (the cobbler's children, etc) or because life is not exactly blog-worthy right now. Once a week will continue, at least until something really exciting happens and/or the powers that be add another hour to each day. 

In the meantime, here's what's currently keeping me busy. 

Watching: Thanks to Netflix, we just finished burning through season four of The Walking Dead, a show that never fails to raise my heart rate. (Literally. I make Nathan take my pulse during the especially scary scenes and it is pounding.) I generally hate scary things, but for some reason The Walking Dead is my one exception. I also really liked season 4. It reminded me of Lost, but in a good way. 

Planning: A Thanksgiving feast! Erica is visiting for Thanksgiving and so are my parents. This will be the first time I've ever hosted my mom and dad for a holiday. I've outsourced the turkey (obviously) and I'm really looking forward to visiting with friends and family, and eating all the Tofurky and pie I can stomach. It's a holiday tradition, after all. 

Running: I haven't run regularly since, oh, spring. It was a rough summer, and I was starting a new career, and I just didn't feel like it, to be honest. In fact, exercise has been a very low priority for months now, but I'm finally making a comeback. I'm up to five miles again, and I've been going to kettlebell and doing lots of yoga, thanks to my new membership at a great studio in town. And just in time - regular exercise is best way I know to combat Seasonal Affective Disorder, which has already reared its ugly head. 

Reading: Erica's novel-in-progress, so we can workshop it while she's here. Wolf in White Van, for book club. The Sense of an Ending, which I didn't really like, thanks to the ending (how ironic). 

Meeting: New friends! About two weeks ago, I got an email from someone who's been reading my blog since 2008. She happened to be passing through Wilmington and contacted me to see if Nathan and I were available for dinner - she and her husband wanted to treat us. We were indeed free, and it ended up being a really fun and memorable evening. I often feel like I write this blog for a a handful of friends, but I can tell via my stats that there are a lot of invisible folks who read along silently. Meeting one of those people was so fun and so rewarding, and now I imagine everyone who reads my blog is just as kind, generous, and sweet as our new friends. 

Eating: Oatmeal, made with almond milk and a spoonful of peanut butter. Best breakfast ever. 

Working: Freelancing is still going well, despite the lack of monthly updates, which I have clearly abandoned. I would like to write more about being a full time freelancer (especially when it comes to budgeting, scheduling, finding gigs, etc) and I will. If there's anything you'd like to know or are curious about, ask away and I'll do my best to answer. 

Writing: My bastardized version of NaNoWriMo is still going strong. I missed two days, but I'm sure I can make them up at some point. Otherwise, I've been writing all sorts of weird, tiny, experimental things (including a bunch of scenes from the next novel I'm tentatively planning to write!) so I'm very pleased with the experience so far. Only 11 more days to go! 

So that's most of what's been going on with me. As you can see, you haven't been missing much. Now I want to know what's been going on with you. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? What's the best thing you've read recently? What should I watch on Netflix next? Tell me everything!