"A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings but a cat does not." -Ernest Hemingway

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How My Sabbatical Paid Off

There comes a time in every one’s life where they must make the difficult decision between staying safe inside their comfort zone or stepping outside its boundaries and crossing into unfamiliar territory. As a writer, these decisions should inspire you to rise to the challenge and push yourself to the limit. Otherwise, you may never know what you are capable of.

Recently, I was faced with making this same choice. In fact, the timing was perfect. I had just written my post, Break Free from Archaic Fear, when one such challenge approached me, forcing me to put my words into action.

Let’s explore:

After the inception of this blog a year ago September 27th, I became comfortable in my writing life of balancing between two middle-grade novels, an adult mystery, maintaining a weekly blog and keeping pace with my household duties. Not to mention the occasional story of the century idea that sits neatly tucked away inside my computer . . . never getting past the premise stage.

Since then, I’ve added social networking to my writer’s schedule with Twitter, Facebook, Book Blogs, She Writes, LinkedIn and a second blog,The Cat Vamp Diaries: All Things Scary, where I contribute a flash fiction short to Vamplit Publishing's Friday Flash Fiction. So every day when I sat down to work, I delighted in my ability to work on my novels, which I knew one of them would be my first published story, and communicate with fellow authors. Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Then it happened. A trigger was written into my life and I found myself having to decide between staying comfortable or creating what I thought at the time, chaos. 

What was the trigger? An announcement in July from Angelic Knight Press for submissions for their first Halloween Anthology, Satan's Toybox: Demonic Dolls. The deadline for submissions was August 31, 2011 and I hummed and hawed before making my decision to go for it on August fifth.

Once I made my decision, I knew I had choices to make. Some things were going to have to be my sacrificial lamb. So I finished my Break Free From Archaic Fear post and took inventory of my writing projects. 

At first, everything seemed important, but once I analyzed each one I was able to determine where my energy and concentration would best be utilized and that meant I would have to take a sabbatical. So I put blogging, writing flash fiction, my WIP’s and social networking on hold; with the exception of an occasional tweet or shout out on Facebook. After all, I didn’t want to disappear completely.

What did I learn from my sabbatical? Firstly, that the writer’s world is filled with encouraging and supportive authors who know and understand, because they too walk in your shoes. Secondly, epiphanies do happen outside of fiction. I took a step outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to the limit and discovered what I was capable of.  How about you, have you ever discovered something about yourself by taking a sabbatical?

And how did my sabbatical pay off? I’m honored to announce that my short story, Mr. Jingle, will be published in the upcoming anthology, Satan’s Toybox: Demonic Dolls in October 2011. Stay tuned for more information on its release, and I can’t wait to add another fish to my publication tank!

Next time, we'll be exploring what it took to develop, write, edit and submit a short story, approximately 6,500 words, in less than 17 days!

Until then,

Keep on thriving, keep on striving and keep on writing!

T.K. Millin
The Unknown Author    

1 comment:

  1. Go girl go!

    You have done so well with your great story. Needless to say, more great stuff should be forthcoming from you.

    Blaze demands it!