Although my moleskin notebook is full of advice from a random person I met at a wedding who also recently graduated from graduate school and is trying to break into the writing field, and a friend's father in the publishing business, I am not writing for anything or anyone.
Does that sound strange? Usually people say that one should write for oneself, and not compromise in some way by writing for someone or something else. Write what you want, what you feel, blah blah blah. All of that is true. Compromise when writing, when plumbing the depths of truth or reality or life's deepest memories and rolling it up into digestible, fun, inspirational, exciting bits of words and phrases, is entirely unacceptable. Honest intellectual endeavor and true passionate vomit onto paper is essential for developing an interested audience and, indeed, feeling good about oneself. Yet still, writing for magazines, events, people, newspapers, journals, etc., is the key to starting out in this career path.
Regardless, I am taking an entire year to not publish anything. Granted, if a friend or something takes something I've written and suggests that I publish it, then I might do so. At the end of the year of time off, so to speak, then I will look earnestly for a job at a magazine or journal to get paid for my essay-writing and do all other writing on the side. In the meantime, I am resting, consuming, and writing for myself, exactly what I should not be doing.
Most of why I'm doing what I am, however, goes back to my poetry professor, John Engels. Before he passed away unexpectedly, the last thing he said to me will stay with me forever. But that's too personal to share. One of the other last things that he ever said to me was that I should not work too hard (check) but that I should get a small job to pay for the writing lifestyle that I want to live (that will be a check), and in the meantime just write and wait until there's plenty of things that I want to publish (check, sort of). I can't possibly disregard his advice entirely. This year, then, is intended to write as much as possible so that I can not only get a job at the end of the year but also to publish as much as possible when I start wholly jumping in.
And that's why I'm wasting most of my time on this blog... and writing about my bike trip last year when I cycled across the country to raise awareness and funds for the fight against human trafficking. Be impressed. And since I want to make the book as interesting as possible for the ordinary person, let me know if you want input as I'm writing. After all, the millions of slaves in the world need our help!