Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

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July 21, 2017

The Shifting Priorities of Your Writing Career

College then work. It’s a right-of-passage most of us go through in one form or another. Some multiple times. And I realized recently that I was on wave two.

College Years = Aspiring Author

This is when everything is shiny and possible and fun. You take classes, hang out in coffee shops, meet new people. You put in long hours studying, sometimes longer hours partying. Each new class brings on a new level of excitement and the possibilities are endless.

I started college as an art history major. The first year, I changed majors twice. I changed two more times before finally settling on English Lit. I dabbled in set design and lighting, political science, experimental psych, drafting, and graphic design.

Looking back, the aspiring author years were very much like college. 

When I dipped my toe into the writing pond, it was with chick lit in mind. It was at the height of that genre bubble and a lot of what I was reading at the time. I wrote three picture books. I have a middle grade novel in progress. And I’ve written a couple of women’s fiction stories.

Over the years, I’ve taken every workshop I could fit into my schedule and afford. I joined writer’s groups (the equivalent of sororities/fraternities I suppose). I don’t frequent coffee shops much but I have a very solid relationship with the espresso machine in my kitchen.

I took on all sorts of extra-curricular activities, which in this case, included volunteering with various writer’s groups, joining blogs, and setting up on every social media platform that was listed as a must for writers.

Gap Year/Graduate School = Debut Author

I didn’t take a typical gap year. I worked for a year but only because I decided at the last minute that, on second thought, I had absolutely no interest in law school and then had to wait while my applications for journalism school went through.

But then came graduate school. Oh my god was that fun. I was finally where I belonged. I loaded up my class hours and took on as many internships as I could fit into my schedule.

Being a debut author felt wildly like being a grad student again. Working on revisions with my editor had shades (mostly red) of working on my thesis with my advisor. “Internships” became more writer’s groups, this time focused on connecting with readers and signing up for author events. Confession: I was far less nervous defending my thesis than the first time I had to talk about my book.

Working World = Published Author

I was lucky with my first job. With most of my jobs actually. I loved going to the office, enjoyed the work I was doing, had fun with my colleagues. I put in ridiculous amounts of hours and it was worth it.

But as I got busier with work, I also realized that not everything I’d been doing fit into my new life. I didn’t have as much free time or, more appropriately, flexible time. Priorities had to be established and choices made.

Now that my first book is out in the world and my second book is about to go into production, I’m realizing just how many parallels there are with that earlier stage in my life. There are limited hours and unlimited demands.  

Like the adjustment period after I joined the working world, I’ve had to evaluate a lot of what I’m spending my time on lately. And the sad truth is that once again, choices have to be made.

And with that, I’m stepping aside from my regular involvement with Writers in the Storm. I’ve learned so much from all of you – contributors and commenters – over the years and I’ve loved being part of this community. I’ll still be around, reading, commenting, and contributing. But for now, I’m packing up my pens and coffee mugs.

I'll see you in the comments and on social media!

About Orly

Orly Konig is an escapee from the corporate world, where she spent roughly sixteen (cough) years working in the space industry. Now she spends her days chatting up imaginary friends, drinking entirely too much coffee, and negotiating writing space around two over-fed cats. She is a co-founder and past president of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and a member of the Tall Poppy WritersShe is rep’d by Marlene Stringer, Stringer Literary Agency LLC.

Orly’s debut, The Distance Home (Forge), released on May 2, 2017.

You can find her on on FacebookInstagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, or on her website, www.orlykonig.com.

44 comments on “The Shifting Priorities of Your Writing Career”

  1. Orly...I will miss your posts. But I think we all understand there comes a time when we have to evaluate how and where we spend our time and energy. Will look forward to your next book and to your comments here and on social media.

  2. I'm so torn. On one hand, I want to fly and kick your a$$ for leaving! On the other, I totally understand, and since you're not getting away from me, I guess you don't have to worry about an angry Ukrainian on your doorstep.

    Love you, Orly, you weenie.

  3. Orly, I'm so sorry to see you leave WITS. I love your posts, but I completely understand and respect your decision. Congratulations on your success, and thank you for the pleasure of your beautiful posts.

  4. I am sorry to see you go, but I do understand. The deeper you get into any career, choices have to be made, but especially as an author, because the constant writing-production-marketing cycle means the job is never 9-5. Work is always there, at all times of the day and evening, 7 days a week. Add family and life responsibilities...it is not easy. So hugs! And congrats on your success! Thanks for all you have given to this site. ?

    1. Thank you, Angela!! I'm going to miss being inside this group but I'll still be part of it - just in a different way. 🙂

  5. Oh, Orly, I will miss you here. But I completely understand about having to make choices--we all must, and often we don't do them when we should. Good for you, recognizing the need to change your priorities. I'm proud of you and wish you every success.

    1. Thanks, Holly. Recognizing the need for change and acting on it are two totally different things. It's taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I just can't do everything I want to do. I had this discussion with another author friend not long ago. But, like with anything in life, we have to assess where we spend our energy and how we can ensure we're giving 100% to the things that matter most.

  6. I get it, Orly. I'm just happy I'll keep seeing ya here and there and everywhere. Plus, everyone (including me) can find you in your books!

  7. Best of lucky on your writing journey. It is difficult to make these choices and priorities. Your posts have been informative and helpful in my own journey. Congratulations on your books.

    1. I'm so glad to hear my posts helped. That means a lot!!
      Don't lose sight of the path you set for yourself with your writing!!!!! I'll be keeping an eye. 🙂

  8. I have learned so much from your posts and will miss that, nevertheless I am sure this is the best decision for you. Looking forward to reading your books and seeing your comments here.

  9. I have enjoyed reading your posts. It's always a good idea to look at how you spend your time and whether or not that's getting you toward your goals! I need to do that too.

  10. Thank you for everything you've given of yourself and contributed here at WITS. Now, Onward...! And we know where to find you <3

  11. Well, I'm not gonna call you a weenie (Laura already did that...geesh!), but I am sad to see you edging to the fringes of the WITS circle. We love our Orly. All I have to say, is you'd better comment a LOT. And guest post. And discuss. *sniffle*

    1. She's been calling me weenie a lot lately. Feeling the love! 🙂
      I'm not going far. You know that. <3

    1. Thanks, Barb. Yup, it's something we all face but don't always want to acknowledge. 🙂

  12. Like others I am sorry to see you go, but I thank you for the life lesson. Sometimes it is necessary to look at where we are and make decisions about where we want to go. A few years after I retired, I had the opportunity to take a job in my old industry. In my second interview, I realized I did not retire to go back and rededicate my self to a corporation. Your decision is different, and as much as we will miss you, we all hope for your happiness.

    Best wishes on your on-going journey.

    1. Thank you, Robert.
      I'm glad to hear you were able to see what was best for you during the interview process. It's hard to walk away from the familiar but sometimes necessary. Good for you!!

  13. Each new room you enter has the potential of making you happy. I hope that this new room will give you much happiness and satisfaction. We will know by the comments and responses you add to this site. Best wishes for your continued successes.

  14. Ha, Orly! Last month I went to a rubber stamp convention and bought more than I can use up in the next fifty years. The checkout person at each booth asked, "Did you find everything you needed?" I started joking, "I missed the display for an extra day in the week so I have time to use all this stuff." They laughed, but I was serious.

    I get where you are right now and hope that you get even more time-crunched with the wild successes of your debut book and the one soon to follow. Much love!

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