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What I do in the back seat of a Subaru for 12 hours

If you’re wondering why the click of your mouse echoed off the walls of Cuaderno Inedito for the past week, it’s because Francisco, Mariel, and I drove from New York to South Carolina to visit my mom, whose Internet connection or my laptop (or, more likely, a combination of the two) prevented productive pops of work.

I hyperventilated about that for a few minutes and then just sighed and shoved the laptop between a lounger and a cedar chest and decided not to worry about it.

There were more important things to do… like play with bunny ears:

I used to do this drive alone and would just keep the pedal to the metal all the way, 10-12 hours straight, depending on traffic in DC and how many cops seemed to be patrolling on the mostly flat two lane run through Virginia and North Carolina where it’s all too easy to creep up and over 80. I wouldn’t stop to stretch or sleep; I’d just roll down all the windows, crank the music up, and spend that time alone with my own thoughts.

Now, with husband and child in tow, I take it easy. We stop every two hours to change the baby, walk around, grab a coffee, and switch drivers.

When it’s my turn to rest, I jump in the back with Mariel and dig into my bag, spreading magazines, a couple weeks’ worth of unread newspapers, and books all over the empty seat. I catch up on reading, reply to email on the Blackberry, plot out pitches, and make to-do lists while Mariel naps.

I’ve got a busy few weeks coming up–in addition to all the usual stuff, my pitch for a travel feature about Puerto Rico was accepted by a magazine and has a pretty tight deadline; a newly commissioned piece for Singapore Airlines’ in-flight magazine has an insane turn-around time (my favorite kind); I’m brainstorming about an iPhone app about Puerto Rico I might be writing; and we’ll be heading back to South Carolina for some on-the-ground research for a few different projects we’re working on that I’ll pitch eventually– but I’ve also got lots of pieces planned for Cuaderno Inedito.

I’ll be interviewing writers Alexis Grant and Elizabeth Eslami about their writing processes and their experiences with pitching, publishing, and marketing their respective books. I admire both of these writers and I’m sure that their experiences will contain lots of lessons that will be useful to you. I’m still working on getting a financial advisor or accountant to drop some wisdom on all of us regarding our finances as freelance writers (by the way, if you’re in the US, JoAnna Haugen alerted us to a $400 tax credit for freelancers– just fill out a Schedule M form for the “Making Work Pay” credit. And check out THIS article–did you know you could deduct PayPal fees? I’m doing a happy tax dance as I write this.) I’ll be sharing some more resources for writers who plan to be in New York for TBEX, and will be posting the occasional blurts of thought about editing and writing, as per my M.O.

Stick around… and bring your bunny ears.


12 responses »

  1. What a beautiful photo of you two! So jealous that you can actually read in the car. If I read anything other than a road sign I immediately get a pounding headache.

    Thanks for the tip on the PayPal fees, will definitely keep that in mind for next year’s taxes!

  2. Lovely picture of you two. When travelling I tend to get stuck to the window, watching heaven alone knows what. Nice to know you can get reading done.

  3. That picture is so adorable. I don’t know how you do it all, but you’re an inspiration.

    Moseying road trips are so much better than the blast through to the end kind.

  4. 1. I LOVE the bunny ears.
    2. You really are superwoman.

  5. I’m glad I am not the only one who hyperventilates about lack of internet access. I can do without it a decent amount when I am abroad, but it’s harder for me to deal with it when it’s unexpected. But it’s all good when you have good company 🙂

  6. Pingback: Overlooked Places in Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian’s Anacostia Museum » Collazo Projects

  7. So happy you’ll be interviewing Alexis Grant! I really admire her, she’s super helpful to writers, and she just seems like such a genuine, kind person.

    And awesome news re: writing work. Really curious to see what the iPhone app will involve. Good luck with it all!

  8. Beautiful photo of you two. Mariel is way too adorable.

    I envy your ability to read in the car. If I as so much look at a map I get queasy.

    I don’t know how you do it all. You’re such an inspiration.


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