Back to School

As is the case every year, Ann asked me what I wanted for my birthday (which is today as most friends inside and outside of Facebook know). And as usual I had a blank stare and the equally vague reply of “Nothing.”

But after thinking about it, I decided that I’m not getting any younger and that spending the rest of my days as a proofreader is most definitely not what I want.

That’s why, instead of asking for something physical, I opted for a gift that might benefit me in the long run: a course at our local university.

The CSULB College of Continuing and Professional Education offers a reasonably large course listing that includes Certificate, Degree and Online programs. While the first two are definitely out of the question due to cost and time constraints, I’m all in for the online courses as they are 6 weeks and I can do them at home.

Of course, the question remains: what should I take?

As already mentioned, I’m burned out in my current “career” choice and would like to expand my horizons by taking something completely out of the ordinary or my comfort zone. This is what learning is about and while I could probably gain some useful insight from another writing course, the fact of the matter is that  I simply don’t want to take another one. Creative Writing, English 101, Screenwriting, Technical Writing…I’ve done them all before. While there is a Business Writing course available, I’m really wondering if that would be any advantage to me.

I’m continuing to look at the courses and have still yet to decide which I will take. Knowing how I am, the Spring session will be over by the time I choose.

Too bad they don’t offer one in Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving.

The Payoff

As you all know, I’ve had way too much time on my hands since being unemployed. So much time, in fact, that I had to find something else to do in addition to my daily rituals of exercising, eating right, etc.

Don’t get me wrong–I love blogging and all of the creativity it affords me. But for the sake of keeping my sanity I decided I needed to branch out a bit more and expand my creative horizons just a bit (which is no knock on you, peeps).

And that’s exactly what I did.

Tirelessly, I sat in front of the monitor and feverishly struck keys into the wee hours of the morning in order to create a cohesive, credible story that someone other than myself would enjoy. It may have taken a year but I’m proud to say that the hard work has finally paid off.

But as any writer worth his salt will tell you, writing was only a portion of the work: it took much editing, proofreading and at one point, starting all over in the hopes that the next draft I produced would catch the eye of a publisher. At least that’s what my literary agent told me.

Woah, wait. Literary agent? Publisher? Back up the truck, Mabel! WTF is going on here?

As if I need to explain any further, I’m taking my writing more seriously than ever before since the economy sucks and I was starting to feel like a bona fide loser sitting at home watching The Steve Wilkos Show all the time. Put simply, I threw myself into my work and did some online research regarding publishers, literary agents, etc.

The payoff has arrived.

After submitting several drafts for review, my agent gleefully informed me today that my story has been sold to a publisher. Of course they’re happy–they get a cut of what was offered to me, which will keep us in the curry for a while. And you know, of course, I won’t be the only published author in the family. My Uncle Lou just has his second book published not too long ago.

Imagine that: unemployed to published author in just one year. It’s just…odd.

I’m not quite sure how to take this since it seems a bit surreal for the moment. And I have to admit that it will be really, really strange to see my name on the dust cover of a book in the Barnes and Nobel New Releases section. I don’t think any of this has quite sunk in just yet.

And before you go asking what the story’s about, well, I’m contractually bound not to release any of the information just yet. Maybe tomorrow I will get the word from my agent on when I can spill the beans on this momentous life event. Should that happen, you’ll hear of it.

Before I go, I have one last thing to say about how the writing process can affect authors. Hours and patience pay, yet a person risks inevitable loneliness, feeling outcast, or like some, daring and youthful.

Believe me when I say I experienced all of those things in the process. But either way, it’s finally happened. And I’m excited 🙂

UPDATE 2010/4/1: Hey peeps, here’s an update on what I posted above, and it’s my first video posted here on the blog! Note that the audio and video start to lose their sync about halfway through so…now you know. Enjoy!

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