day 9 – Full Time Author

I start work on the 27th. That means I have two more weeks of this little experiment. And…The results are odd.

After a week I’m still trying to motivate myself to write some days. And it isn’t the writing, the writing I can do. It’s this nagging feeling that I’ve wasted my day and I need to be productive. So, I just washed my entire kitchen, and now I feel like I’m allowed to write. What the heck is it in my head that still thinks writing isn’t a job, and I shouldn’t be taking it seriously? And how to I get past it?

Don’t take that to mean that I didn’t write. I actually wrote a short story today, and have most of it finished. Just need to go back and add some details so it isn’t a “talking head syndrome” going on. I also updated more of my books on Amazon, and wrote a few paragraphs in next weeks short story.

but having that done doesn’t excuse the fact that I put things off too much. I write 1-2000 words in an hour, which isn’t bad. But I usually only actively write for an hour or two a day. Sometimes less, very rarely more. I couldn’t help but think how much more I would get done if I would just sit down and right.

I won’t lie, I miss having a regular job. I miss getting up, going through the motions of getting ready for work, and actually leaving the house. Gregg suggested going to the coffee shop to see if that helps. Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Until then, good night.

 

Day 8- Full Time Author

Today has been a day for reformatting. That took a while.

You know the back matter in a book? Author notes, pleading for reviews, etc, etc? I had to go through my already published books and re-do them. I managed to get through nine of them today. I still have a few more to do, but now that I have a system it’s getting a little easier… a little. I also had to fix the cover for the print edition of Witch’s Curse. That took several hours of fiddling with because the dimensions weren’t right. But I think I finally got it, and I will be able to order proof tomorrow before putting it up for sale.

I think I spend more time trying to get the covers the right size with the words at the right spacing then anything on print books. But it’s so worth it. Having the book in my hand is just…wonderful.

I also managed another 500 words in the Dragon Project. I’m rather happy with this first story. It’s at 20k, and I see at least another 10-20k in this draft. That makes it a shorter work than I had expected, but with ten books in the series that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, I think I’m going to throw a few more bad things at the main character. She needs the growth that comes with those bad things happening.

It’s interesting to write this story because there is no real “bad guy” in this series. I mean, there is at the end, sort of, but not one that really plays a role in the whole series. He is a force of nature that effects the land more then the main character directly. Rather the books are about her struggle against the environment, and everything going on around her. This is a personal journey for her.

I’d be lying if I said this series wasn’t influenced a little by Nathan Lowell or Patrick Rothfuss. Both of them write stories that are about the people in an environment. Neither of them have a big baddy that is hovering over the whole story (though Rothfuss certainly has a mystery with those spiders) but the stories are compelling anyway. I’m probably not as good a writer as either of them, but maybe some day…

Anyway, my lovelies, I am off to bed. It is already 2am and I am exhausted. More writing in the morning.

Day 7- Full Time Author

Ever have a day where you just feel like you have no idea what you’re doing, or how you’re going to do the thing you want to do?

Yep. That was today.

Sometimes you just need to relax, so for the first time in a few weeks I didn’t write. I’ve been reading, and making perler bead crafts, and laundry. You know… Relaxing time.

And I’ve been thinking. About stories and covers. About whether or not this new series is the right direction. About where to go from here, and what I can do. And I don’t have a lot of answers. I just keep going, and hope eventually I find some answers. But I won’t give up, even on days when I feel like I should.

Day 6 – Full Time Author

I started writing these blog posts as a bit of accountability. If I keep writing, and keep sharing what I write, I can keep myself motivated, right? It is working a bit. Tonight I wrote an extra 300 words just to get over 1k. But it’s a touch and go sort of thing.unnamed

I’ve also been working on getting Witch’s Curse and Witch’s Stand in print format, as well as getting the trilogy out as… well.. a trilogy.

Being an author isn’t just about the writing. There are thousands of little things, like emails, marketing, and trying to get reviews. Sometimes I think I know what I’m doing, but more of the time I am just trying to figure out what to do.

Maybe it’s time to get a friend to hold my hand and get me through the first steps…

On the plus side, that trilogy cover looks beautiful.

Day 5- Full Time Author

Today has been one of those days where writing… it just wasn’t going to happen. You sit down to the computer and either children keep bothering you, or you just can’t seem to find words, but it doesn’t really matter. Writing isn’t going to happen. (And yet, even on a bad day I wrote 400 words. It’s not all bad, right?)

So I did a bunch of the little things that needed to be done. Covers, formatting, uploading, and the “stuff” that goes along with writing. Productive, even if I didn’t finish another chapter in my novel. There’s always tomorrow, right?

I also sent “Minotaur” out to my mailing list today. A good scene, I think, that struck a little closer to home with me than usual.

All right, I’m going to go crawl into bed with my kindle now… Good night all!

Day 4- Full time author

You’ll have to forgive me. It’s 1:30, and I’m a bit tired at the moment. My words might be a little mixed up.

Every day I learn something new about myself. I think it’s because I’m actually paying attention to what I’m doing, and how I’m doing it rather then just letting it happen. In the book 2k to 10k Rachel Aaron describes a similar thing. She suggests charting when you write, and the conditions of the writing so that you can find the best moments for you to get the most writing done.

I good plan, one that I have always wanted to try, but one that I have always put off because I never had a steady writing time. I was at the mercy of my job, my children, and everything else going on around me. Now…Not so much. Maybe right now is the best time for me to figure this thing out.

Today I wrote for an hour after my podcast with Maya. I streamed it via twitch, which gave me the feeling of accountability and in that one hour session I managed to crank out a little over 1000 words. Whats more, after that hour session I felt like I could keep going. I was enjoying the story, and the words were flowing. It was wonderful. I think the mid afternoon, just after breakfast, is a great time for me to write.

But, alas, I had other things to take care of. Grabbing the car, going to dinner with Gregg’s family, a bit of shopping. It was a relaxing afternoon, and Gregg gave me a great idea for a new shot story. It’s called “Laying Down Roots” and I’m already 500 words into it. An awesome story about a forest guardians last stand. It will compliment the new set of armor he is making for Radcon next year. With that, and a few other small writing moments, I did get a lot done.

In all, I’m learning that I write best when I’m well rested, and fed. And I don’t think I like quitting in the middle of a good run because I don’t always get a chance to come back to it. On the other hand sometimes you have to do what  you have to do. The best part is that even with writing for less than two hours today I did manage to crank out 1700 words total. It doesn’t take a lot of time to get some words down. It just takes a writer deciding that that is what’s important and using those spare moments to do that.

Good night everyone. I’ll see you for Day 5 tomorrow.

Day 2- Full Time Author

2016-06-08 20.04.42I have a list of things I want to accomplish in the next three weeks.

The re-edits for Witch’s Sacrifice aren’t that bad. I’m mostly finished with them anyway, so I will probably try to get those done over the next couple of days, and re-uploaded so that everything is great.

The print version of Witch’s Curse and Witch’s Stand both need to be finished by end of the month. I also want to put up the trilogy as an omnibus for those who would rather have a boxed set. It will, of course, have the bonus short story of Witch’s Sight included.

Yesterday I wrote a large part of Magi, a short story, and did some of the editing for Witch’s Sacrifice. Today I’ve already gotten through half of Minotaur, another short story. I’d like to get these two short stories finished for the Bradbury Challenge (since I haven’t been doing that well for it lately) and I think I’m on track. Both are all plotted out and I just have to finish putting the words down on the page.

It’s strange learning to work from a plot. It does make the writing easier because I know what’s going on, but sometimes I’m still confused as to HOW to say it. Making the words pretty is different then just putting words on a page. You want them to make sense, but they also need to engage the reader, draw images in their mind, and make them want to continue.

For Minotaur I have a Minotaur walking through a dilapidated village in the middle of the night with rain pouring down on him, and he’s carrying a sack with something in it dragging along the ground. There, I just set the scene for you, but I just wrote that would you read it? Of course not, that isn’t a story, that’s just a setting.

Rain pelted down on Rojar’s back, dripping down across scared flesh. He walking along the cobbled courtyard, uncaring of the storm above him. His hooves clattering against the stone. Shaking his massive head from side to side, the water flew off his horns, splattering in thick droplets beneath him. He welcomed the rain, licking it off his rubbery lips, tasting the sweetness of freedom and pain. The rain, and the heavy weight of the war ax on his back; that was freedom.
He pulled a rough sack along behind him, the contents clunking against the stones. Clunk, drag. Clunk, drag. Down the cobblestone path to the center of town.
He could feel eyes on him, peeking out through slats in boarded windows, and peep holes in doors. Hear their hooves tapping out across caked dirt floors just on the other side of the wall. His people, his family. The same people that sold him into slavery.

Now that’s more like a story.

Alright, now I need to get back to work and finish what I’ve started. I want to complete one short story and get to formatting the print books tonight. I’ll update you tomorrow.

Switching Mindsets

I just found out today that I won’t be starting my new job for another three weeks. There was a little complication because I moved here from a small county that is very slow to process things, so the new job is waiting for the background check to come back from said county and say “no, she was never arrested here.” Well, I’ve never been arrested so I’m not worried about that, it’s just going to take a little longer.

So I have three weeks home…waiting. And Gregg, the helpful person that he is, said “No, you have three weeks to write. Prove to yourself you can do this full time.”

You know how some things look good on paper, but then  you actually attempt them and things don’t quite look the same as you thought they would? That’s what I went through today. But the thing that looks different isn’t something I had considered before.

First of all, Gregg is absolutely right. I have three weeks to write my heart out and prove to myself that I can do the writing part of being an author. Finishing things, and getting the ready to edit. In three weeks with nothing but writing to do I should be able to double my words. Right? And I know, it doesn’t actually work like that, but if I never try I’ll never improve.

Second, I have the story. I have the plot. I have the characters. That’s not a problem, and I’ve written more on this story than I have on previous ones, so there is president here.

Third, my phone is broken. With no job, and no phone to distract me I should have more time… SHOULD.

And oddly it isn’t the idea of writing, finishing story lines, or producing books that has me worried. I know I can do that, and I’m fairly confident I can do it faster if I just put my nose to the grindstone and do it.

No, what worries me is the pay. Since my divorce I’ve been the person who paid the bills. Rent, electric, water, etc. All the bills are in my name, and I am responsible for them. In the last couple of years Gregg moved in, and he’s helped considerably by paying for groceries, getting gas, tires, and giving me money for rent. But I pay the majority of the bills in the house. We both also set aside savings toward our eventual house, but the bills are mine.

I have preferred it this way. A large hardship in my marriage was related to finances, I had no control over it then. He made the money while I was a stay home mom, so I had no say over anything. Part of my worries that if I let myself get into a situation where a man is paying my bills again I will lose control and end up broke… again. Never mind that this is false logic since Gregg is incredibly smart with money, and we both have nest eggs in case something ever happened. Logic has nothing to do with it. My brain has been programmed to worry about giving up control like that, and yet here I am.

I’m sure I’ll eventually make money from the books I write. I already make a little. I just don’t know how long it will be before I make enough to sustain a household, so the idea of giving up a steady job with good pay and benefits just doesn’t make me comfortable.

It’s a mindset shift. If I ever want to make it as an author and stop working for someone else then I have to buy into the idea that it’s possible. That I don’t need a corporation to pay my bills. Which is crazy since I’ve been saying for years that people who can’t find a job should make a job. Saying it and jumping off into the deep end to do it is two different things though.

I’ll be going back to my regularly scheduled pay checks. I’m not ready to give them up yet. But maybe Gregg is right, and this is my opportunity to give it a go, even if it’s just for three weeks.