The Highs and Lows

The Highs and Lows

Some days, I feel that being a writer is the greatest thing in the world; other days, I don’t feel that way at all.

For me, it truly is a thin line between the two: a good day as a writer and a not-so-good day as a writer. And it doesn’t take much to tip the scale. For instance, I have experienced both the dizzying highs and lows of being a writer, not just in the same day, but in the same hour. One moment, I am sitting at my desk thinking, This is the best life ever. It’s perfect. I wouldn’t change it for the world. The next thing I know something happens and I find myself asking, What the heck am I doing?

I like to think I’ve finally gotten past the point where I tell myself I could be working far fewer hours and earning far greater financial rewards, but sometimes that old line of thought rears its head. I suppose that’s why I am keeping my PMP (Project Management Professional) certification up to date—just in case.

After all, I worked very hard to achieve that coveted acronym. I remember crying when I successfully completed the exam on my first pass. I never want to undergo such a rigorous preparation and testing endeavor again. I need only complete sixty PDUs (Professional Development Units) every three years and pay a hefty fee to retain my certification, which is easy enough.


But here’s the thing; returning to the corporate life is not something I enjoy contemplating. On the other hand, there is always options trading, which has always been a favorite passion of mine. The stock market is experiencing record highs. However, what goes up must come down, or so the saying goes. Not that I would ever wish to see a market decline, but therein lies the beauty of well-timed puts and calls option trading strategies designed to benefit from the market’s highs and lows.

If I had to do something other than writing, given a choice between a job and trading options, I’d choose the latter. It affords me many of the same freedoms I enjoy as a full-time writer, although I am a bit out of practice and a lot has changed since I actively traded options. For now, I’m merely speculating (pun intended).

Today, as I write this post, I feel that being a writer is the greatest thing ever. So long as the good days continue far outweighing the not-so-good days, I’m all in.

What about you? Do you ever find yourself suffering such varying emotions in your chosen profession or in the pursuit of your favorite passion? During those lows lasting more than a day or two, I bolster my spirits with a technique I learned in graduate school. It’s BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement.) It’s an established negotiating theory that I’ve re-fashioned for my own purposes and subsequently adhered to when navigating both my professional career and my personal life.

I am a writer who takes comfort in knowing that, should the lows of my chosen profession ever prove too heavy to bear, my best alternative is options trading. What’s your BATNA?



Have your share in the conversation by commenting below for a chance to win either a signed paperback edition of Lady Elizabeth: Everything Will Change Book One or So Far Away: Everything Will Change Book Two. One winner will be selected on Friday, June 12, 2015. A US mailing address is required to receive a signed paperback edition; otherwise, the winning prize is an eBook edition.


59 Responses to The Highs and Lows

  1. You mean you don’t write full time? It amazes me to see so many writer like yourself have a professional career and still manage to provide P&P fans the pleasure of reading P&P variations, continuations, sequels, modernization, etc… I appreciate your creative imagination in being able to provide P&P fans like myself the ability to continue our favorite couple’s journey. Anytime you have one of those low moments, please remember we are rooting and cheering you on in the background!

    As a Financial Advisor, I do have my up and down moments as well. Sometimes you work so hard but don’t see the results until much later, but when you have a moment where someone really appreciates your assistance your you’ve made a difference in their life or their family it all makes it worth it…

  2. There can be ups and downs to any job. Being in healthcare, I definitely know it can change moment to moment. Love what you do. It helps get me through. As a reader, I selfishly hope you stick with it! Thank you for the giveaway.

    • I know what you mean, Regina. I seem to get a new story idea every week of late. When that happens, I feel compelled to get the outline in Scrivener. This strategy certainly has its share of pluses and minuses.

  3. I will just love to be able to write. I can understand you rhighs and lows but you can say “I am a writer” and that has to be awesome. How your mind works to create your book (I have read around 80% of them) is impressive, I suppose.
    I am now starting to do reviews and I am a doing a bit of beta editor to one author and I just simply love it, but what I would love above all is to write, to have the ability to write my own stories. It is true that because of other factors, I have not had enough time but my mind always goes to details that I have read about, the only original starting points that I have are not good enough.
    Just carry on and remember that we are lots of readers waiting for something that you have written!!

    • Thanks for your kind words! I suspect you have a great story just waiting to be told once you’re ready. Here’s to pursuing your passions! 🙂

  4. I don’t have the option of returning to anything. I stayed home with my family and I still mange the red light/green light that is our home. Writing for me isn’t an option. I’ve tried giving it up but I’m an addict that will never recover.

  5. I’m glad you’re sticking with writing for now, Pam. You’re such a talented storyteller. I hope your highs always outweigh your lows. 🙂

    Thanks for another great giveaway!

  6. I would love to be able to write but unfortunately I only see a good idea for a story when I read books. However I have always loved reading so I am grateful to the authors who go to such lengths to write them! I have never worked in a high pressure job but enjoy the accounts work that I do. Since I reached retirement age I just work 2 days a week to supplement my pension so have more time for reading 🙂 I also have more time to skype my gorgeous 2 year old grandson who unfortunately lives half way round the world in Australia. Thanks also for the chance to win an ebook!

  7. I have loved all of your books that I have had a chance to read so far. I would LOVE to win one I haven’t read, which are both of the ones offered here!

  8. I have been in Healthcare for 35+ years now. All along, I wanted to be a writer. As a very young nurse in 1975, I was under the whip of several dictatorial ward sisters, (as they used to be called). I had no redress for the bullying, but i once remember muttering, stinging from a particularly bad tongue-lashing – ‘I’ll get her for this someday – she’ll see herself in a book!’ I laugh at that now; as if I could sit down and pen a best-seller with some very recognisable nasty nurses, and they hanging their heads for shame going about the ward after it hit the bookshelves. I didn’t write for 20 years and when i began I wrote a stupid novel based on my experiences but I found myself not wanting to revisit the bitchiness. But that was long ago.
    Working in Healthcare brings you face to face with the tragedies and desperation that people suffer. So I retreat to a very different world for my own health, that of witty Austen and drawing rooms and a slower pace of life; muslin ribbons and quadrilles and pleasure gardens and pretty walks and happy young couples…writing Austenesque is just what I need to get away from the sadness of life I meet in the hospital.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Mary. I am enjoying learning about everyone’s professional and personal experiences. I especially enjoyed reading about how much JAFF means to you. 🙂

  9. I hear you. Somewhere, there should be an in-between option that combines the rigid boundaries of a job and the total anarchy -oops, freedom – of being a writer. The job is like a life jacket or parachute, in case the plot bunnies go bye-bye.

    • “the total anarchy -oops, freedom – of being a writer” … LOL 😀 Sometimes, in my quest to cover all the bases, I set targets for myself to the point of being overwhelmed. I guess that’s what comes with so much freedom. Thanks, June!

  10. I have to go to my “happy place” on occasion. It is either contemplating something coming up soon, listening to whatever music fits my mood, talking to my boyfriend (yeah, the old girl has one) to vent and allowing him to vent (sometimes my stuff is worse, sometimes his is, it all evens out), or just taking a deep breath and telling myself “it is what it is”. My job is very much deadline driven and even though the students I deal with (I write professional education coursework.) are college-educated adults, the whining can make me want to beat my head on my desk. Sometimes, a glass of Moscato at the end of the day while sitting on the deck helps change my perspective. But then there are the days when I get student thank yous, or students have that light go off in their heads and it was because I explained it to them just right. Or there are days when the writing goes beautifully, seamlessly and I am surprised when the day ends. Then, it is a good day. And fortunately for me, there are many more good days than not-so-good ones.

    • “It is what it is” … I like that. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Here’s to the number of good days always exceeding the number of not-so-good days!

  11. Being a RN and having to deal with staff, patients and their families, administration and last but not least doctors, you always have to think positive, hold your tongue and smile.
    By the time you get off work you want to kick the dog, drink if you drink or yell. I think every profession has its ups and downs and you learn to cope or else you have to get off the merry-go-round. I loved being a nurse and went everyday or every shift with how I would make someone feel good by just smiling, holding their hand or just listening. Sometimes it was hard when they were taking their last breath and you had to have faith that somehow you helped them in some small way. I was a RN for 35 years and don’t regret one day of it! Just keep you head held high and say, “I can do this!”

    • Thanks for sharing some of your experiences, MaryAnn. It’s wonderful knowing how much you enjoyed your career. I appreciate your good advice. 🙂

  12. When I was working I had to deal with a lot of people. Some were nice and polite,but others were fresh and rude,even when they were wrong. I always tried to be objective and stay calm and not get into a shouting match. Some even later called and apoligized to me for being nasty. I figure they might have problems on their mind and are upset and scared or frustrated.

    • I applaud your approach to dealing with others in that regard, Joan. You’re right. One never knows what the other person may be going through.

  13. When things are not going too well, I try to keep positive. I like to think that there is a reason for everything, good or bad!

  14. I’m a Financial/Accounts rep so there are days when I’m staring at piles of statements and then going home to work on that advanced degree so I can make more taking on more financial responsibility that I wonder why I didn’t try to find a job that let me read for a living or organize (the other two things I do obsessively) but most days I enjoy what the numbers are telling me and they can’t lie. I guess my fall back would be to become an admin assistant again as that is where I started.

  15. Can I be honest? I’m a lawyer and I hate what I do. I am a do gooder lawyer, but all the lies and trickery of the profession makes me ill. Politicians are mostly lawyers after all. I told my son, he can do anything he wants, except become a lawyer. How many lawyers do you know who like being lawyers? All my friends are miserable for the same reason and the pressure. My son wants to be a computer scientist so I’m happy, happy, happy.

    • I was intrigued to read your comments, Susan. When I was an undergrad, so many of my peers were opting for Law School. Interestingly enough, most of the ones I have kept in touch with have chosen other paths: some law-related and some not. Now, I have an idea why. Thank goodness there’s JAFF. 🙂

  16. I’ve been a pharmacist for 38 years. The last 22 have been working as a locum, standing in for others due to illness or holidays or days off. My only alternative would be to go back to being a pharmacy manager and having to answer to a line manager who wasn’t necessarily a pharmacist themselves. From what I can gather, they’re always on your back to meet targets, maximise income whilst minimising the number of staff hours used to do this. No thanks!

    So, when I’m having a bad day, when the person on the other side of the counter is blaming me because they’ve run out of their medication because THEY’VE not ordered their prescription from the doctor soon enough, I can console myself with the fact that I’ve helped another person correct their technique for using their asthma inhaler or organised delivery of medication for an elderly housebound person.

    I have a lot of driving to do, to and from various pharmacies (67 mile round trip today), so that’s when I listen to a lot of my audiobooks, yours included Pam, so I am in awe of the talent that you and many other JAFF authors display for us. Please keep up the good work and remember, during the bad times, what it means to us who have different talents.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Anji! I truly admire your stamina, and I’m glad to know that my audiobooks, as well as so many other delightful JAFF audiobooks, are available to entertain you on your long commutes.

  17. Yes, there are ups and downs within the same day. I’m proud of the work I do which is helping people to solve their IT problems but other times I feel I’ve let them down when I couldn’t find a solution or when I don’t feel appreciated by my company. I think my BATNA is to look for a job in another company.

    I would like to win So Far Away in e-book as I’m international. Thanks for offering your book, Pam.

  18. i miss working, i was an oncology nurse, but now i stay at home and babysit my granddaughter, love this babysitting, but i still miss my job!

    • I can appreciate what you must be feeling, Charlene. I was at home with my daughter when she was an infant / toddler. I loved it, but I sometimes missed the career I had put on the shelf. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  19. I am retired. But only because the agency for which I worked closed and I had the choice of bumping workers with less seniority or retiring. I did not want to bump a younger worker. My “job” now is reading, babysitting one or the other of my 4 grandchildren and writing reviews on all the JAFF books (and some others) that I read. Just trying to keep up with all the blogs seems like a job at times, I must say. And then there are those WIPs, which are recommended to me by others. (As I don’t search for those actively.) I would love a signed paperback as I have read the latest two on my kindle.

    • Thanks for reading and enjoying my latest books, Sheila. I love your job! I rarely have time to read for pleasure. I’ve started penciling-in reading time on my calendar. Still, I keep adding to my collection of eBooks and audiobooks with the intention of ‘catching up’ when I retire. 🙂

  20. I’m not sure what my Best Alternative would be if I lost my job. I already work from home (what could be better), so my question is always: What would I do for an income so I don’t have to drive 40 miles one way to the nearest town? I would dearly love to be be able to write books, but my skill is proofreading, not creativity.

    • I worked from home for a long time, Linda! I loved it. Proofreading is a wonderful skill and one that requires lots of patience and attention to detail. These are admirable traits to possess in this increasingly internet savvy world. 🙂

  21. How can we not relate?! Same as yourself, ‘returning to corporate life is something I don’t enjoy contemplating’. As a matter of fact, even contemplating it sends a shiver down my spine when I remember bossy line managers, ridiculously long hours and unreasonable deadlines. At least I make my own deadlines these days and if the hours are still ridiculously long, they feel like a treat rather than a chore. A few nights ago I stayed up till 4 am to finish something I just couldn’t put down (to the point that my husband grumbled that I’m working city-bankers’ hours). If the income was a mere 10% of a city-banker’s, life would be perfect 😀 It never is, of course, yet even so there’s no greater joy than relishing what you do. So enjoy the good days, Pam, and grin and bear through the bad ones, they can’t last forever!

    • Thanks, Joana. You’re right. It’s so different when long hours and tight deadlines are self-imposed rather than forced upon you. As for me, any day that finds me ‘working’ at 4 am is definitely the makings of a very good day. 🙂 It’s a sign that my muse is on fire.

  22. Well, I’m in music so I have been doing what I love for as long as I can remember. It may not pay all that well, but that’s okay. I love helping people whether it’s improving their musical skills or inspiring them through the words of a song that I happen to be singing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. As for writing…. I’m in awe of so many authors who have put their heart and soul into their work and are willing to share their inspiration with us. You are the BEST! Though I’ve yet to complete a long story, having written over 20 shorts for D&L I’ve gained a tremendous appreciation for all of the effort and dedication authors put into their work. Thanks so much & keep writing! Jen Red

    • It’s truly my pleasure, Jen. Thanks for sharing your love of music with everyone. I am as much in awe of musicians as you are in awe of writers. Here’s to doing what we love to do!

  23. I completely understand! There are days when I wonder why I ever went into teaching. I’m not getting through to that child and it seems hopeless. Then I remember the kids I finally was able to help and that is so rewarding and reminds me why I went into teaching. (Just now that I’m in a daycare setting working 50 hours a week I keep telling myself, when I’m ready to fall on my face, 3 more years….3 more years).

    • Thanks for sharing your professional highs and lows as well, Debbie. Just reading about your joy in helping kids brings a warm smile to my face. 🙂

  24. It must be a writing thing. Just the thought of trying to write a review puts me in a tail spin. I get all wet noodle-ish. But I have to say Pam I’m so glad your a writer and I’m a reader, it just works out perrrrfect!

    • I can understand your feelings, Charlene. I always feel that same way when it comes to signing books. That said, your reviews are always thoughtful and engaging. I enjoy reading them very much!

  25. I understand completely There are days when I wish I was back in a nirmal workforc. I just gt so exhausted but then decide I made the right choice when I chose to care for the love of my lofe instead.

    • I can appreciate what you’re experiencing, louannlajeunesse. Being a caregiver is such a blessing to one’s loved ones. Take good care of yourself as well.

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