Monday, June 20, 2005

And So It Begins ...

As you can see, I've decided to join the blogging craze and record some of my thoughts on writing and various other subjects. I am a full-time professional writer -- I write things and people (mostly NASA) pay me to do it. Mostly what I write are educational activities that teach various aspects of science, particularly those related to the exploration of Mars (since, of course, NASA pays the bills).

Writing is, sadly, not the only thing in my job description. Also included in my job for one low price are:

- Interminable trips to strange and exotic places (Chicago, for example) to give teacher-education workshops.

- Manage personnel and logistics issues for the education/public outreach staff at the Mars Space Flight Facility here at Arizona State University (something for which I've been given the responsibility, but not the authority, to do -- which makes for an interesting day)

- Deal with a multitude of day-to-day forest fires, most of which were induced by the poor planning and inefficiency inherent in the NASA bureaucratic mindset.

- Try to not let myself get caught up in the prevailing negative atmosphere among my co-workers that inevitably results from the above-mentioned forest fires.

- "Other duties as assigned" (if you ever see this phrase in your employment contract, run -- don't walk -- as far away as you can).


In truth, this could be most people's dream job, but like every job, it has its down sides, as perhaps you have begun to guess. My general rule of thumb is that when you get the "Sunday night dreads" (dread of going to work Monday morning), it's probably time to start thinking about doing something else. In my case, I get paid really well (mostly) to write, a paying gig that most writers only dream about, so I'm willing to tolerate a certain level of the Sunday night dreads that I wouldn't otherwise put up with.

On the other hand, my wife now has a full-time college teaching job that she loves, and she makes almost as much in nine months as I make in a year, plus I draw a not-too-shabby retirement pay from the military. This means that I have a lot more options to further my writing career than most aspiring writers. I have not yet firmly decided to jump ship and strike out on my own, but when you are presented with a wide menu of choices, it's foolish to take the worst choice presented to you. We Shall See.

In the meantime, I've decided to use this time period between now and the fall to further my "writerly education," so this blog will serve as a place to record my thoughts and observations, mostly about writing, but also about anything else that strikes my fancy at the moment. After all, inspiration comes from the damndest places...

Welcome and enjoy the ride!

3 comments:

Dani said...

Sounds like an interesting job, Keith.

Word of advice on the blog...
don't try to update everyday.

I did and my brain almost exploded, I lost all my friends, and what was left of my sanity.

Good luck!

waltzing matilda said...

well writing for NASA...! me, just doing the little stuff, writing when I can on odd magazines and newspapers and hoping to get somewhere..so pass on any good advice!

marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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