migrated from Blogger – original post dated July 7, 2008

I awoke rather abruptly at 3:30 this morning. It wasn’t a bad dream or noise, it was just time to get up. I fought it for nearly an hour, then succumbed to the inevitable, took a shower and had some breakfast.

It will be a double-cup coffee day.

My latest reading assignment lasted for about one page before I was seized with the need to blog. It’s been a while, and so much has happened, I barely know where to begin.

In mid-April I attended a class on how to write, publish and market your first book. It was straight-forward, no-nonsense advice. The convener, Bobbie Christensen, laid it out in a well-organized format. Her biggest piece of advice was to treat writing as you would any business. Approach it as your business, be aware of the bottom line, and throw all that doe-eyed, dreamy artsy fartsy “writing is an art, a calling” out the back door with the trash. A few years back I would have run screaming from the room. But after nearly three years of entrepreneurship, it was more than appealing.

Don’t get me wrong. I am in love with the written word. I have been and can be as doe-eyed and artsy fartsy as they come. I can lose myself for hours in bookstores, just running my hands down the spines of books and imagining the person who wrote it. Occasionally I look back on my past writings, read them as if for the first time and think, “Holy cow, I wrote that!” And more than a few people who have read my various pieces had said, “Christine, you need to write more. You could be published, you’re that good.” And through it all, I have written because I loved it—the craft of it, the muse of it and the joy I felt as I created stories, poems or wrote essays.

I drove home from the class that night in April, my mind just spinning with ideas. I jotted down several book ideas when I arrived home and realized that I would be better off starting with some of the non-fiction topics I had been interested in and been threatening to write for years. The list grew, was re-arranged and evaluated. About a week later I sat down and began to write the first book, “Get Organized, Stay Organized.” Using Bobbie’s advice I will be selling my first book through an existing ‘sales vehicle’ – my organizing classes.

It took six weeks to complete the first draft and then four weeks for me to edit it. I was nervous, so there was a good deal of stopping and starting on the editing process. The second and third edits were complete in less than a week and the book is now waiting for the finishing touches (ISBN number and a photo for ‘About the Author’) before it will be shipped off to the printer.

I will be self-publishing this book. The numbers make sense (it’s far more profitable to self-publish if you can get the sales) and the risks are acceptable.

As soon as I finished the edits I began planning my next book. I plan on starting on that project next Monday, July 14. My goal is to complete three books this year and I think it is do-able, if I stick to a reasonable schedule of writing.

In the middle of all of this writing and editing a monkey wrench was thrown into the mix. Well, actually a couple of monkey wrenches.

First, I decided I had really had enough of employing staff and dealing with all of their issues (emotional, financial, etc.) and decided I could do a limited number of cleanings myself and make far better money than paying someone else to do it and only getting 40% of the cleaning fees. That was monkey wrench #1 – suddenly I was far busier than I had really planned on being. Not only was I cleaning homes, but I had several new organizing clients, was still writing the book and still a breastfeeding mom.

Monkey wrench #2 came on the heels of a phone call from my husband in the third week of May. I was just completing a cleaning when he called to inform me he had been fired. After working for the company for nearly five years, and being miserable in it for around four of them, I was actually quite relieved to hear the news. A week later he announced that he wanted to start a brewery. It seems that the entrepreneurial bug had bitten him as well.

We are still working on the details, on the basic research. What beer recipes to use, whether to be distribution-based or a brewpub, etc. I figure it will be at least a year before we are ready to open for business, but who knows, it might be sooner than that.

In the past three years I have learned to be flexible and keep my mind open to change. At any one time I have at least two main plans in action, and several more waiting in the wings to be activated if the tide swings in that direction. Life coaching is a good example. My studies and plans for opening a business as a life coach are on hold in one sense and very active in another. While I’m not planning on taking on any clients right now, my husband could well be considered my very first and most important client. I have committed myself to helping him in any way I can towards starting and running this brewery. This means that not only will I be handling the business side of it, crunching the numbers, researching the necessary permits and licensing and guiding the business towards success–I will also be working with him daily to motivate him, reassure and center my husband as he starts his very first business.

I hope that I will also be able to continue to write and publish and teach my classes. I have no doubt that life will also intercede at regular intervals to remind us both that we are parents first, life partners second and business owners third.

So what is the point to my telling you all of this?

Change, drastic change, is right around the corner. When you least expect it, perhaps when you are least ready for it, that’s when it appears. I spent too many years of my life fretting over the future, constantly questioning where I was going and how I was going to get there. Nowadays I just live. I dance when the beat changes, I walk barefoot in the rain and I adapt. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring and I have found that I like it that way. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll find myself on Oprah (just like my neighbor Christie suggested) and be able to spread the following message to millions of people struggling to find their way:

Be yourself
Don’t be afraid of change
Believe in yourself
Learn something new every day
Enjoy every possible moment
Speak to your strengths

Life your life, on your terms, in a way that makes you happy — the rest will follow naturally.

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