What a Difference a Year Makes

Cleaning out my email Inbox this past weekend, I had occasion to think about where I was one year ago versus where I am now. Specifically, I came upon various San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC) newsletters, and I realized that one year ago I was back in my home territory as an attendee at this conference. I was:

1. Anxious because I was in the midst of a mysteriously debilitating shoulder and neck ailment. MRIs, X-rays, EMGs, orthopedic surgeons, a neurologist, eight months of physical therapy — all with no answer. You could have called me Lisa the Robot because I was ordered not to slouch or bend my head forward at all for six weeks. I wasn’t writing.

2. Anxious about my job because I’d received a writing grant but couldn’t quit until my mysterious ailment corrected itself (July!). I was underperforming because I was too ready to begin my grant time-off. I was secretive with my boss, which made me very uncomfortable.

3. Anxious because I was about to officially begin the onerous task called agent-hunting. Among my writer friends, I know exactly ZERO people who enjoy this necessary but fraught task. I was set to pitch my latest novelistic effort to three participating literary agents. I spent most of my time in a hotel room littered with scribbled-upon index cards trying to perfect my pitch. (Not to mention performing a strict regimen of physical therapy exercises).

Was I anxious at this time last year? Hah!

(I did manage to have some fun. I went dancing at the Starlight Room with writer-buddies Bonnie and Christopher. I caught up with another writer-buddy, Eldon, who had graduated from conference attendee to speaker. Rode the cable car up Nob Hill to the hotel; ate Chinese in Chinatown; browsed inestimable City Lights Books in North Beach. Sigh. I love San Francisco.)

A year later: what do I have to say for myself? I’m not so anxious these days, not even about what will happen to the novel that eventually found its best, talented agent. I’m just writing; this makes me a happy camper compared to last year.