Thursday, April 6, 2017

Two Lives

Sometimes I feel as if I am living two lives. My primary life is still wife, mother, and full time medical secretary. It's how I earn my living. It's the job I put down when asked about employment. It's the job I've held for the past ten years. And I would say I'm good at what I do based on a phone call I received yesterday from an oxygen supplier. The sales rep called because she had put a note on a patient's chart that read- "I love Sue!" and she wanted to tell me that. Why does she love me? She said it was because the prescriptions I send have all the info the insurance is looking for on them and the chart notes I send have everything they need in them (I give my practitioners explicit instructions about what HAS to be in their notes prior to the appointment with the patient.) She said she wished all medical secretaries were as thorough as I was because I make her job easier and the patient's get their DME. That made me feel good. I don't get a lot of positive feedback in what I do- patients just expect to get what they want and don't realize the work involved in fighting their insurance for their needs.

Then there is my other life. I have been writing fr over forty years, but did not do anything with that except volunteer as the Massachusetts State Button Society Bulletin editor for ten years, putting out a 42-page magazine annually. I usually wrote one or two articles on antique and vintage buttons or a related topic for the bulletin. My fiction writing was purely a hobby. I wrote for my daughter, my family and friends, and often just to entertain myself.

Then, in May of 2015 with an offer of two free copies of my NANO novel, I self-published my first novel, a YA book. It was easy- but then again, I had no real clue what I was doing. I began organizing the mountain of material around my house and putting together story collections, and novels and self publishing them. They were pretty novice level.

It's been nearly two years since I started self publishing and I have grown in leaps and bounds as an author. I've made public appearances, something very against the grain for very private me. I walk into the local bookstore and am greeted by name. My books are on the local author bookshelf there.
I know a dozen other local authors and am friends with several of them. We give one another advice and support.

I'm nearing the end now of a major interior overhaul and some cover updates of all the books I've self-published since May of 2015. I've entered contests and done well- been praised for the storylines, but given advice on cover art/design. I do not want to include my pictre on my books and don't feel I have to if it does not sit well with me as a person. My picture is on facebook and my blog and Amazon if people need to see what I look like.

I feel happy and blessed that Black King Takes White Queen was shortlisted for the OZMA Award. I am, after all, still a new and emerging author since I just started putting what I've written out there for readers to enjoy.

After my 8-5 job, I come home and spend 5 additional hours working at my "hobby" as an author. I also spend most of my weekends writing and working on my books. I invest my free time in doing the one thing I really love best, which is writing. My head is always full of stories and ideas.

But when I'm at my primary job, I am focused on helping patients get what they need.

It's like living a double life. I wish I had the time and energy to devote eight hours to both my gainful employment and my hobby job...but for now, I need to work a real job. It's just trying to find time to manage them both that is the challenge! (And trying to keep them separate!)

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