It just hit me this morning that it’s been exactly one year since I moved to San Francisco from New York. I guess it’s been too long now for me to say I “recently” moved here, but it actually still feels recent. At the same time, a lot has happened.
I was jobless for the first time in a very long time. Excluding my freshman year in college, I’ve worked every summer and school year since I was 18, at least part-time. Basically 20 years of working. Then suddenly I had all this free time. It was kind of like kids’ summer vacations, a combination of luxury, boredom, and loneliness.
I lived in a new city for the first time in over 10 years. Last time was Beijing in 1998, and before that Boston. SF is more like New York than Boston is, but it’s still very different. The lack of sidewalk traffic, the hills, the hobos. The sucky mass transit, a fewer variety of restaurants, the better weather. Speaking of which. . .
No winter, no summer. This was the first winter – well, ever – that I did not experience snow. New Jersey, Boston, Beijing, and New York all have snow. To tell the truth, I didn’t miss it. Snow is pretty at first, but it gets disgusting really fast, between the dirt and those menacingly deceptive slush puddles at curbside (you know: you think it’s a frozen sheet of ice when actually it goes up to your hip).
While there were some pretty cold days they weren’t unbearably cold, not like those days on the Lower East Side that MB and I couldn’t even walk the 10 minutes to the subway but had to take a cab there.
We did have several days of summery, almost 100 degree temperatures, but at least it wasn’t east coast humid. I took just two showers a day instead of four.
A big Thanksgiving dinner. Excluding stressful Thanksgivings with my in-laws, it was my first ever. Usually it was just my parents, brother, and me, and then just my parents and me since my bro lives in L.A. This year it was my parents, brother, me, MB, my aunt, my grandmother, my cousin, her husband, and their child. It was great fun.
But I don’t really want to do it again, at least not this year.
Christmas away from home. My first since Beijing, and it affected me more than I expected.
Getting published. All my writing and hustling the months I didn’t have an office job paid off! I entered contests like crazy, did National Novel Writing Month, and started writing for the wonderful literary site, The Nervous Breakdown. Earlier this year I pitched my first idea to The Frisky.
I didn’t realize how much of it difference it makes to write and pitch basically 24/7. When I was working full-time, I wrote continuously but rather slowly, and didn’t spend as much time pitching and hustling. That’s a different kind of energy, and it’s easy to get discouraged.
I feel like now I’ve done it so much, the rejection doesn’t get me down (at least not for very long). A new goal now is to pitch an idea to a magazine about every other week, and to submit more stories to other places to diversify my clips.
Getting vertigo. That really sucked. But at least it pushed me and I –
Got a writing job. That was another one of my goals this year – to be able to put a writing or editorial position on my resume that would lead to more writing/editorial gigs. I applied for tons of positions, some of them not even paying. I had an interview for one marketing writing job during which I said, “I got my MLS because I realized marketing wasn’t for me.” When I decided to branch out beyond SF, I finally lucked out.
Plus I decided to have fun and be honest. Fed up with getting rejected, I wrote more of an essay than a cover letter for my application. They asked lots of interesting questions, and I thought why bother repeating what they could see on my LinkedIn?
It has worked out wonderfully. The job itself, my co-workers, the part-time schedule – all of it. Plus my health insurance just got approved. Yay!
Yesterday I “published” my book on Lulu and sent myself a copy. I want to see it in book format before I start editing it one last time (fingers crossed). I made a very simple cover, and am excited to see how it turned out.