Sunday, August 5, 2012

Guest Post--Nikki Jefford--The lavender business is more calming than a newsroom.

Why I Gave Up Reporting to Work in a Shipping Department
…and other odd jobs

“While one is learning one’s craft, then practicing it and hunting for an agent, then waiting for mail with the agent’s return address, one must somehow make a living. Every writer hopes, like a medieval Christian, that after his period of honorable suffering, bliss will follow as a reward. So the writer takes some miserable part-time job, or lives off his parents or spouse, and writes and prays and waits. One day, the writer tells himself, the big break will come, and his money troubles will be over.”
-         -  On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner

In September of 2002 I landed what I thought was my dream job – editorial assistant at my local paper’s weekly entertainment magazine. One of the paper’s photographers snapped a portrait of me and it appeared every week inside the front cover of the magazine. I was on top of the world… for a week.

Like papers across the board, The Anchorage Daily News was crying the financial blues. Advertisers were going out of business or taking their business online. The news department worked on a skeleton crew, which meant there was no one to replace you if you got sick. The sound of typing, hacking, and ringing phones filled my days.

Each morning brought in a fresh avalanche of press releases, spilling out of my wall cubby and chocking my email inbox. The only phone calls I received were artists and event organizers complaining about my wording of their event or performance.

Then I was assigned my first story. Then another until I was writing for several sections of the paper. Don’t get me wrong, it was a thrill – at first – until I admitted to myself that I was burnt out with driving across town on icy roads late at night to cover a dart tournament in a seedy bar or spending my weekend at the bowling alley talking to kids about why they preferred neon bowling over every day bowling.

What really did it for me was when I realized I was losing the joy of writing. Always being on deadline for the paper sucked out any enthusiasm I had to work on my own stories. That’s when I knew I had to get out.

I remember my first writing professor, Richard Chiappone, author of the short story collection Water of an Undetermined Depth, express the importance of the dull day job in not hampering the creative spirit. He painted walls for a living.

Since Spring of 2003 I have worked as a buyer for my family’s seven retail souvenir shops in Anchorage, delivered foreclosure notices in Central Oregon (hideous, but I got to make my own schedule and it didn’t interfere with writing), pulled weeds and other chores for a self-made millionaire on Orcas Island, booked appointments and checked insurance policies as a receptionist for an eye doctor on Orcas and San Juan Island, and for the past year have worked with a local lavender company on San Juan where I spend a lot of time packing orders to be shipped.

Do I fantasize about writing full time? Every day! The next best thing is finding jobs that don’t block my creativity.

Nikki Jefford is the author of the Spellbound fantasy series. Entangled (book one) is a semifinalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012 YA category. Nikki is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada. She resides with a Frenchman named Sebastien and a Westie named Cosmo.

I'd like to thank Nikki for Being here today.  I'm in the middle of reading Entangled, and I'm loving it so far.  Look for a review later this week.

Here's the blurb:

A Resurrection Spell Gone Wrong

Two months after dying, Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene’s body. As a witch, can anyone blame her mother for attempting to bring her daughter back to life? Now Gray is stuck sharing her sister’s body in twenty-four-hour shifts.

Raj McKenna is rumored to meddle in the black arts, not to mention he’s after Gray’s invisibility spell, and worse—her heart. But Raj might be the only one powerful enough to save Gray from fading away forever.

The race is on for Gray to find a way back inside her own body before Charlene purges her from existence.

Want a copy for yourself?  Get Entangled from your favorite eretailer for $2.99. Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Smashwords

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