Tag Archives: career

When I Think How Good (Life) Can Be…

“Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe.”
– Truman Capote

 

Today is a holiday for most of Canada, including Ontario, where I live.

All long weekend I’ve been having these… flashes, presentiments I guess, of what life would be like if I were ready to write full-time. I mean, for the last 72 hours I haven’t worn a lab coat; I haven’t worn safety glasses or gloves or sensible footwear. I haven’t spent any time at all doing things according to what other people wanted.

Instead I spent time outdoors, with family. I rose when I felt like; I stayed up late, reading. In short, I made my own schedule, a privilege denied me by my workaday week. And while I never stopped thinking about writing or where my career is headed, it was with excitement and hope, not dread.

When I came to the page I felt refreshed and thrilled to be so lucky, and I can’t help but yearn for the time when this will be my daily routine. Nothing excites me more than the idea of spending eight, ten, twelve hours at my desk, watching movies play in my head while I chase the words that describe them.

I had one of these little flashes just now, sprawled on the bed reading We Need to Talk About Kevin (which is brilliant, by the way). The sun’s going down, and the branches of the trees are starting to do that black-silhouette thing I love so much. I just felt so calm, so at peace, and it makes me want to move forward into the time when I won’t be under fluorescent lights at this time of evening. When I can look forward to spending time watching my bats after a long day of writing, when I can sit on the back deck with a hot cup of coffee and not have to worry about whether it’ll keep me up that night.

I get these little glimpses, and they make me briefly so happy. But like a junkie, I want more. It used to hurt unbearably, reaching for something that seemed so out of reach. But every month my writing’s earning a little more, then a little more, and it makes me start to think: There could be something here, if only I can keep on track and push myself a just a little further each day.


That Whole “Balance” Thing

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Here we go again.

I haven’t written anything in a few days. Scratch that, it might be approaching two weeks at this point. Two weeks without fiction or journalling. Two weeks of barely even maintaining my planner. Two weeks may not seem like much, but two whole weeks without creating anything is like drowning. Not only does it feel awful, but with every day that slips by it gets harder and harder to get started again.

It’s not even a block, not really. It’s… an absence. Whole days pass without even the inkling to pick up a pen or to open a text program.

Bizarrely, I’ve been super productive lately in other areas. I’ve been baking up a storm, knitting a very secret Christmas gift, deep cleaning and streamlining the house. But the more I seem to get done in my day-to-day life, the more it seems my career is suffering. It’s completely unacceptable.

I’ve decided that enough is enough. One whole year of my five-year career plan has slipped by, and I’m not where I thought I would be. I’m not where I need to be. But today starts a new month. I’m considering December a practice run before the new year kicks in.

In four years I don’t want to look back and realize I let myself down.

This is it.

(photo by Colin Harris)


I Needed This Today.

(source)


NYT: “A Book a Year is Slacking”

“For years, it was a schedule as predictable as a calendar: novelists who specialized in mysteries, thrillers and romance would write one book a year, output that was considered not only sufficient, but productive.

But the e-book age has accelerated the metabolism of book publishing. Authors are now pulling the literary equivalent of a double shift, churning out short stories, novellas or even an extra full-length book each year.”

Read the full article here.

Writers: are you concerned about productivity? How much output is “enough”?


30 Excuses for Why I “Can’t” Write Today

I’m tired of making excuses to myself. So in a fit of pique I scribbled out a list of all the reasons I can think of not to write.

These are transcribed exactly how I wrote them, questionable grammar and all.

1. It’s hard.
2. I can’t make a routine because of my shifts @ work.
3. I’ll never make a living at it. (why bother?)
4. My friends are humoring me.
5. I’ll probably get sued.
6. No one reads horror.
7. I’ll never get rich writing e-books.
8. The internet is more fun.
9. I need uninterrupted time and quiet and a thunderstorm or perfect Fall sunlight and…
10. Who do I think I am, anyway?
11. My ideas are stupid and no one has told me.
12. I don’t like to give up other things to make the time.
13. The tax forms are confusing.
14. It’s all been done before.
15. I can’t describe exactly what I see in my head.
16. I’m afraid of cliches.
17. I don’t have a proper editor and am probably making so many mistakes.
18. My office is messy.
19. I want the lifestyle but I don’t want to put in the work — I want it just to happen.
20. My job gets in my way.
21. It’ll just get stolen anyway.
22. There are a million other people doing the same thing as me at the same time as me.
23. I don’t have an English degree.
24. I’m already behind on The Plan.
25. It’s a pain to lug my laptop around.
26. I could write more at work if there was a table in the locker room for me to sit at.
27. I’m not great at networking.
28. I can’t concentrate.
29. What if I actually write a novel then hate it?
30. I’m scared.

Honestly, there are some thoughts on this list that I’m not especially proud of. But I’m glad I wrote it out: the whole list was written in only a couple of minutes, and it felt good to get it out of my system. I figured I’d post it here as a confession of sorts. There must be other (new) authors out there feeling at least some of these things.

Now that I see it in front of me, I can see how ridiculous some of these thoughts are, and how the “obstacles” that seemed so big are really just me being lazy or cowardly or…

Feel free to make whatever comments you’d like on this one: I’m having an introspective Let’s Get Real kind of moment. Do you share any of these feelings? What are your go-to excuses?


Never Give Up

I was sitting here, frustrated with how the story is going (or not going), and I got a notification on Facebook.

My dear ladyfriend LP sent me this:

…completely unbidden, not knowing how cranky I was. That’s what an awesome friend does. An awesome friend just knows.

It’s been printed, and now one copy hangs in my office and one copy is the front page of my Filofax.

I’ve said it before: how badly do you want it?


My Filofax is Here!

Stationery nerds, your attention please: I have obtained the Holy Grail.

My Filofax Malden is here.

With all the time-management I’ve been attempting, I’m hoping this is The Answer. Mine and C’s work schedules, story notes, publication planning…I even bought a four-year-at-a-glance calendar to track my word counts. I’ve always been best with tactile information.

Plus, I’m a big fan of “permanent” things. Smart phones are nice; I have one and (mostly) love it. But if you get a big ol’ scratch on your cell phone, that could be the end of it. Five years from now your cell phone will be embarrassingly obsolete. I wanted something that will only gain character over time. Something made to last. I’m thinking this bad boy will see me through the next decade, at least, and I love the idea of seeing it age and change right along with me.

No rebooting, no charging. Room to doodle. The pleasing smell of leather. The ability to reorganize everything whenever life changes.

I am a very, very content little nerdling right now.


Write Your Words

(This is mostly me trying to motivate myself. But if you need a good kick in the pants, feel free to join me.)

So you wanna be a full-time author? Wanna get paid to do this all day? Wanna work from home, with your cats and your coffeemaker?

You’ve done the planning. You know where you’re going, and how to get there. Now what’s the first step?

Write your words.

Tired? Too bad, write your words.
Cat threw up? Clean it up, then write your words.
Feeling uninspired? Start with something, anything, and write your words.
Other things to do? Self-doubt? Not enough time in the day? Worrying about whether this whole thing will even work out? Just plain don’t feel like it today?

Too bad, so sad, get off your lazy ass and write your fucking words.

You don’t get there by being lazy. You don’t get there by being hesitant.

You get there by working your ass off, sacrificing, and then working some more.

You can sleep later. Now it is time to WRITE YOUR WORDS.


Short Sips, Featuring Yours Truly, is Available Now!


Short Sips just hit Amazon! I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for this one to be published.

Hah, not really. I’m not a patient person.

Anyway, this collection is the only place you’ll find my story, “If It’s an If”. It’s a little different than my usual; this one is more subtle, but just as chilling. It’s one of my favourites, not least because this was the story that got me started in publishing. Awww…


A Morning Person? Me??

Hah, bet that got your attention.

Seriously, though, I’m still trying to get into some sort of steady writing routine. My work schedule is kind of all over the place, so it’s been hard with this job to find a constant. I was finding that I’d come home from a long day at DayJob, and sit in front of the internet until it was time for bed. I’d write, sure, but I wasn’t getting either the quality or the volume I wanted.

I’ve always enjoyed staying up late, and I’ve always slept in. I decided to get up earlier and knock out a couple hours’ writing every morning before work. I used to think I could only be creative at night, but looking back that was a flawed assumption. Of course it seemed like I could only do stuff at night; I was sleeping in until the last possible moment before work.

I decided on this new morning plan a couple of weeks ago. Today was the first day it went according to plan.

The results? I grabbed a coffee and some breakfast, chowed while I caught up on time-wasters, and by the time I had finished breakfast I was ready to go.

I met my word-count goal for the entire day within an hour of waking.

Not only that, but already having accomplished my self-imposed goal for the day put me in a much better headspace for DayJob. I felt great.

My God, I think I’m becoming one of…those people.


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