Taking Stock

It’s been just over a year since I left the day job for the freedom of freelance editing and writing. Although I’m no longer officially involved in the academic world, September still feels like the start of a new year to me—much more than January, and I suspect it always will. As I re-start the blog after its long summer vacation, it feels like a good time to take stock of the past year, of what I’ve done and where I’m going, and of what I want to do here in this space with the blog.

The Thinker, sculpture by Auguste Rodin Picture taken in Musee Rodin in Paris, France by wikipedian Pufacz

The Thinker, sculpture by Auguste Rodin Picture taken in Musee Rodin in Paris, France by wikipedian Pufacz

What have I learned?

  • Leaving the day job isn’t a magic bullet. I still struggle with insomnia, waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get my mind to shut down; I still have days when I don’t feel my best; I still have moments of doubt and depression. Yet, overall I am much happier with my day-to-day existence than I was before.
  • I need to remind myself to be grateful that I am able to work from home, set my own schedule, and do the things that are most important to me. I got used to the new routine very quickly! It feels so natural now that I have to stop and tell myself that I am truly privileged.
  • There are still only 24 hours in a day. I’m still learning to manage my time: when to wake up; setting my morning routine; when to exercise; how to balance taking care of myself (time to prepare healthy meals and take daily walks) with accomplishing the writing and other tasks that are important to me. The one cardinal rule that I established back when I was working full time still holds: first things first. For me, that means once the morning routine is done I go immediately to the book I’m working on, 5 days a week.
  • The importance of the online community. My critique partners and my wonderful developmental editor are all people whom I have yet to meet face to face, yet they provide so much support for me as a writer that I truly can’t imagine trying to finish and polish a book without their moral support and critical input. I also love the connections that I’ve made with fellow bloggers who write about subjects that are close to my heart: green living things; writing and books; deeper questions of life and spirituality.

What have I accomplished?

  • I finished polishing and tweaking my genre-bending novel CHIMERA, which deals with a Jesuit priest on sabbatical in Paris who runs into a talking gargoyle on Notre Dame.
  • I began a completely new novel for middle-grade/tween kids, about a 13-year-old witch who must cope with her family’s mysterious move to the “mortal” world. Thanks to my wonderful critique partner, Gigi Pandian, who read through the first draft, and my equally wonderful editor, Ramona Defelice Long, who critiqued the first 50 pages, I’m now close to finishing a polished revision that will be ready for my other “critters” and Ramona’s eagle eye this fall.
  • I completed a short story, “The Black Cat,” and drafted another, “Saint Nick and the Easter Rabbit,” which I intend to finish polishing once the middle-grade novel is done.
  • All in all, a very productive year for me, and I feel pleased with the results.

What’s ahead for the blog?

  • I have a number of interviews scheduled with authors of historical fiction, and I’m quite excited to have these folks as my guests:

Sept. 18  Jeri Westerson, The Crispin Guest series

In these “medieval noir” books, disgraced former knight Crispin Guest turns his talents to private investigation in 14th-century London.

Oct. 9  Liz ZelvinVoyage of Strangers

Young marrano sailor Diego returns from a voyage of discovery to find that his sister Rachel is in danger from the Inquisition as a secret Jew. After failing to find safety in Spain, they sail with Admiral Columbus on the second voyage to Hispaniola, where they must struggle with divided loyalties as the Spaniards’ greed for gold and conquest clashes with the local Taino people’s way of life.

Oct. 16  Judith Starkston, Hand of Fire

Hand of Fire, a tale of resilience and hope, blends history and legend in the untold story of Achilles’s famous captive, Briseis.

Oct. 23  Judith Rock, The Charles du Luc series

Mystery series featuring a Jesuit priest in 17th-century Paris

  • I’ll also continue to write posts on nature, my personal “saints,” poetry and books, and whatever else happens to take my fancy.
  • End of speech. Wishing everyone a Happy New Fall!


  1. September 4, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    I tried doing freelance writing and editing. Couldn’t do it. I’m way too much of an introvert to network and market myself successfully. I do get to work from home, though, which is nice. Anyway, best of luck on your venture.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      September 4, 2014 at 6:01 pm

      Thanks, Jeff. I’m an introvert, too, and I LOVE working from home. I find that online networking is much easier than getting out and trying to do it face to face.

  2. September 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Found you through Gigi Pandian’s tweet. Congrats on all you’ve accomplished so far. I left my day job in 2003 to freelance write/edit and I’ve never regretted a single day.

    Now I’m trying to figure out how to just write my books & short stories fulltime. The goal is July 2015. We’ll see!

    • Nancy Adams said,

      September 5, 2014 at 7:45 pm

      Yes, no regrets here, either.

      Good luck in meeting your 2015 goal, Judy! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Elouise said,

    September 11, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Hi, Nancy.
    Your self-reflective report is wonderful, as are your plans for the coming months. Congratulations on your achievements this past year! I’ve always admired your quiet, persistent, focused work ethic on interests you had beyond the day job. I know the other ‘stuff’ of life is there, too. Yet it’s the patient persistence that impresses me most.

    • Nancy Adams said,

      September 12, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Thanks, Elouise. I really appreciate your support! The new book goes to my freelance editor (Ramona) in November, and then I plan to start querying agents after the New Year. Fingers crossed!

  4. September 25, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    […] Taking stock of the last year made me especially aware of this blessing, and I had already decided to write a blog post on the subject when lo and behold, the latest issue of SinC’s member newsletter announced a Sisters in Crime blog hop for the month of September. Talk about synchronicity! […]

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