Writing Life in Transition
Written by
Christina Brandon
December 2010
Written by
Christina Brandon
December 2010

I returned to the U.S. from China six months ago and still I feel as if my life is in this odd state of flux. A puff of wind will easily blow me in another direction.

Most recently, it's blown me back to Chicago, (from my parents' home in Minnesota) the beloved city I left over two years ago to go teach English in a dirty, crowded Chinese town. I'm back, wiser, but still full of hope like I was that first I showed up only months out of college. I was jobless then, too, dreams of becoming a writer fermenting in my brain. I got lucky, found a great writing group, and learned a boat load.

Now, I'm kinda back where I started. Not writing much and hoping to find a regular, paying gig doing. . . whatever. At this point, I'm not so picky and am damn close to contacting one of those entry level marketing firms that always seems to be hiring. But I don't want to freeze my butt off outside on Michigan Avenue promoting brands that everyone has already heard of by handing out Gatorade or Nature Valley granola bars to people in stylish outfits going to cozy offices I used to work in.

A successful interview (only my second in three months of cobbling together cover letters and sending out resumes) shot me up with a much needed dose of optimism that I might just become employed once again (at a pretty cool place, too) and get back to a schedule instead of this aimless existence. Every morning, I will my computer to magically conjure up some job I'd be qualified for before ranting at all these dumb employers who have the gall to demand three or five or six years of background in [everything], and finally cursing my really dumb decision to leave a comfortable job (for China?!) with only two plus years in that field.

By lunchtime, I'm sapped from all this emotional rollercostering and my day stretches on and on. I know I should be writing, not complaining about a free day. But I've learned a funny thing about time. If you (me) suddenly find yourself with a lot of it, it somehow, cruelly, seems more difficult to accomplish anything. I am unmoored without a consistent schedule. I stare dumbly in Time's face, waiting for it to order me in some direction, any direction.

And sure, there are those writing projects, those collaborations, that get the juices flowing. But caught between projects, caught trying to adjust to a new house, new surroundings, a new dog, it's amazing the things that can distract you away from writing time. Sometimes they're justifiable, sometimes not: pursuing CareerBuilder, running around the snow dunes in the backyard with the dog, feeling tired, hanging out with friends, watching Holiday specials on TV, and the Internet. Oh, the Internet.

A job, any non-writing job, steals time away from writing. But without it, it's difficult to make time to write.

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