Life Update: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

THE GOOD:

So last time I gave you a full-ish update, I mentioned that Dan had gotten a part-time job and we were still looking. Yo, Pharmacy is not a joke right now. Anyone thinking about going into it should know that getting a job is REALLY DIFFICULT. And not just for an unfinished resident. I mean, IN GENERAL, it’s incredibly competitive.

But something kind of amazing has been happening to us lately…

The job that Dan landed is a PRN job which if you are not familiar with the medical field it basically means “as needed” or like “a substitute pharmacist pretty much”. He was told that it would probably only be one weekend a month. Like ten hours or something like that. So yeah. It was a PANIC. Ten hours a month ain’t a real job. So we were up to our necks trying to find something else.

BUT THEN. Once Dan got all trained up, he started getting a lot of shifts… and then a second site hired him… and then they started giving him remote shifts. Now all of the sudden he’s working full-time.

I kept watching our Google calendar fill up month by month before finally, I realized… this is the job. Dan loves it. It’s the EXACT company that he wanted to work for. And he gets to spend a TON of time with the family. Like… this is it, dude. Why mess with such a good thing?

There are other little details that need to be ironed out since PRN isn’t a traditional job, but I think we can make it work and I finally feel… settled. I spent the last however many months feeling on edge and overly anxious about “THE JOB” when… it was there all along. He had it within the first six weeks.

THE BAD

I always have to mention the writing so here it is.

I re-read my last “Life Update” from May and it made me freaking whimper. EVERYTHING IS STILL THE EXACT SAME. LIKE NOTHING HAS CHANGED ALL SUMMER. Isn’t that dumb!? I work on stuff every day with like so little to show for it. And I know, emotionally, I’ve had a lot on my plate… like honestly a bowling ball on my paper plate. But still! It really sucks. Because through all the hard days the ambition has not gone away. In fact, I would say that the ambition has only gotten bigger and meaner. Like a fat, feral, untamed ambition eating me from the inside out. And all I do now is sulk around the house complaining that I don’t have ten more novels finished since May.

I just want something to happen. Anything. A big gust of wind in my sails. I need to feel like I’m moving forward.

THE UGLY

It’s been a very difficult time for me personally.

Someone very close to me has been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer. I don’t want to say who it is, to respect their privacy, but just know that it is a relationship that is absolutely irreplaceable. Every day I have to wake up and imagine what my life would be like without that person. And I don’t know what’s going to happen.

If you are the praying sort… or you vibe with vibes… or you’re a really cynical person but you’re good at sending funny memes… just keep me in mind, I guess.

Other than that kids are doing great! They are so sweet. Getting bigger every day! Life overall has been good… which is weird because it’s been the absolute worst year of my life.

Also in retrospect, I should have started with the worst thing and ended with the best thing. Welp. That’s what I get for trying to do some cutsie title. SORRY. Tune in for, hopefully, some cheerier updates down the road.

Life Update: Partially Drowning

I may or may not have been in a pretty grouchy mood when I wrote this. But this is real. This is our life right now. Take it for what it is.

 

The Residency

Look. I’m going to be completely honest with you. But we are just miserable over here. If you don’t already know, Dan works 12hr+ shifts for twelve days straight through. Like sometimes his work days are longer than Jack is even awake. Which means they never get to see each other anymore. He is a zombie. And I am a single mom. And that’s how life is right now.

Okay. That’s not fair. Single moms have it worse because they are also sole-providers of their household. But zombies DO have it better because at least their hearts are dead.

I will say one thing though. My admiration for my husband has at least tripled since he became a resident. He does not feel the same way about himself. Which probably has to do with the way he is crapped on at his job.

“So is resident short for ‘resident toilet’?”

I do not know how he keeps it up. Honestly, if it had been me. I would have peaced out five years ago. Like the first week of Pharm school. What a man. What a man. What a mighty patient man. Say it again now!

 

The Babes

Casey is the happiest lil’ thing you ever did saw. He’s always smiling. In fact, he’s smiling at me right now. Wherever we go, people comment on how happy he is. He’s honestly the most cheerful baby I’ve ever met.

I found out I was pregnant a year ago and I was sure that the new little baby was going to be the most challenging part of the year. But you know what? He wasn’t even close to being the hardest. He is SO EASY. Like, I thought my eldest was easy. And he really is. But this kid is like a little pink smiley angel of some kind.

Jack is doing both stellar and not stellar at the same time. He is going through the terrible twos. Some days I just want to rip my hair out. He gets upset over EVERYTHING. He can’t eat fistfuls of powdered parmesan. DISASTER. He has to walk to the car. END OF THE WORLD. You put on the wrong YouTube video. GAME OVER. And most of the time it’s like you have no idea why he’s screaming and crying and you just kind of stare at him while he’s rolling around. He’s finally catching up on a speech delay but I think the still-present communication barrier is sending his frustrations through the roof.

 

The Writing

I feel like a freaking plastic bag caught in a tornado. Just whipping around from here to there and having no direction at all.

I started coming up with this new novel-plotting technique. Because 1) I’m desperately pragmatic when it comes to book writing and 2) developmental edits are like ten thousand splinters beneath my eyelid. So I came up with what I felt like was a good system and I started practicing it on the one book that I knew OH SO WELL. (The story that I had been working on for more than two years.) And as I was re-plotting, I came to the dreadful realization that… I am going to have to re-write this book A-FREAKING-AGAIN. I don’t even know what draft this is. Five? Six?

I stopped querying immediately. And ugh. It was a complete gut job. I wrote 20k new words, stitched it all together and zapped the monster with lightning in my mad scientist lab. And through all the sweat, tears and finger cramps I FINALLY had slapped together a sixth draft.

And you want to know what? When I stepped back to admire the work I had just done… I realized, wow… this is truly, truly, truly not good.

It still needs extensive work. Particularly the ending which is completely nonsensical. I shut my laptop and whispered, ‘I need a break from you’. It honestly was the same feeling as when your hair gets so hopelessly snarled and tangled that you bust out the kitchen scissors. I need a break. I need a torrent affair with another story. Or SOMETHING. Work on an entirely new thing, until I’m a better, smarter writer and then regroup.

I won’t lie. Giving up is really tempting right now. I could just take my little butchered story, thank it like Marie Kondo and then shove it into the bottom of a Goodwill box.

 

In four months so much will be better for us. Jack will likely be talking more. Residency will be over and I could have time to invest into these projects. But for today, we are just slogging along to the finish line.

OFFICIALLY Finished my Novel

Blech. I don’t even know if I want to write about all this.

So I finished my fourth draft, *cheer* now I’m hunkering down into the query trenches *whimper*.

cringe

For anyone who isn’t familiar with the process of traditional publishing, it goes like this…

A) You write a book (obviously) 

B) You pitch your book to a literary agent (the ‘pitch’ is also referred to as a query letter)

C) If the agent likes your pitch they’ll request to read your book

D) If the agent likes your BOOK they’ll offer you representation (or in other words they’ll take it to publishers)

E) Your agent pitches your book to publishers (also referred to as ‘your book being on submission’)

F) If the PUBLISHERS like your book they will offer you a publishing contract.

That’s how you get traditionally published. Although, even then G) PEOPLE have to like the book and buy it in order for it to be successful. 

Needless to say, this process has been INCREDIBLY intimating. You try to do your research like a good little author but, hey, it turns out that writing an attention-grabbing pitch is incredibly subjective. Who knew. It’s like every bit of information I came across was contradicting to the last. Personalize your query letter. Don’t waste your time personalizing. Start with your hook. Start with your personalization. Put your information at the top of the email. Definitely never put your information anywhere else except under your signature. But the one thing that they all agree on? THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN THIS ONE LETTER YOU ARE WRITING RIGHT NOW.

wtflol

Headache. Honestly. I haven’t even gotten any rejections yet and I feel super discouraged. I procrastinated and groaned and kicked the dust around until finally the other night I FORCED myself to proceed to step B. Yikes. I sent to a pretty small handful of agents just to get my feet wet. We’ll see.

So, now the question on your mind… Will I get to read this book?

Um. I don’t know. I hope so.

It’s a quirky little novel and unfortunately, just as the main character straddles between two versions of herself, the book also straddles between two potential audiences. Would fierce partiers and rockers really want to read about a piddly main character who is Mormon? And would a Mormon parent really buy a book for their kid that has swear words and drug references? I’m just not sure. This could be a marketing problem… (um, probably won’t include that in my query letter)

I could really foresee a kind of Freaks and Geeks cult following of those who would appreciate both sides (as I did growing up). But in a business/commercial sense it is quite risky, so if I can’t get agents and publishers to envision that kind of marketability then…. ???

lucy

So, that is it. My worries and insecurities all over the internet for everyone to see and think about. If you have any encouragement or good vibes please send ’em my way. Meanwhile, I’ll be burying my head into other projects and trying not to think about my inbox too much.