Saturday, October 1, 2016

One Week: The (Not-So) Glamorous Life of an Indie Writer

Even for only having one book out, I've heard the fun comments: wondering why I have a day job still, or the ones that really set my blood boiling, that writing can't really be that hard. That kind of thing. So in the interest of showing just how glamorous and "easy" it is, here's how my week has gone so far:

Sunday: Work at the day job, so try to spend a little time with the family beforehand. That's tough, since I didn't get home until 1 AM from my shift the night before, and was enough of a glutton for punishment that I decided to write anyway. Not that it wasn't worth it, mind you. Just makes it tough to get up early. Get home from the day job at about 10:30 PM. Change clothes, grab some Scotch, head outside to write. Check Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads for anything going on and to wind down, end up in bed at around 3 AM.

Monday: Day job again, but did get to relax some beforehand. During the shift, have to deal with employees doing stupid things that won't be resolved tonight, and will drag on to the next day: something to look forward to (and yes, that's sarcasm). Get home at 10:30, Scotch and writing. The Scotch flows a little heavier this time, since I'm stressed. Answer some emails regarding something I'm working on (that will be revealed in a couple of weeks), set up to mail out a signed copy of Consequences, then in bed around 2.

Tuesday: Admin day at the day job, so in early. Get things done, deal more with the employee issue and discover it will drag on another day before it's resolved, but at least it's not a hard night after that. Home around 11. This time it's just beer during the writing, which is easier. In bed around 2 again, but not as stressed as the day before.

Wednesday: Off day from the day job, but I feel like crap thanks to the weather change here, which means I'm nowhere near as productive as I should be. I manage to get some work done on the thing I'm vaguebooking, but that's about it. That night is my weekly tabletop gaming night, but I feel so bad I can't really enjoy it. No writing today, but at my publicist's request I do get Skype set back up so I can be on some podcasts she's setting up. Wind up chatting with a friend on Facebook for a while to wind down. The conversation goes well, so not in bed till like 4:30. Still, while my head is stuffed up, I feel less stressed, so that helps. On the plus side, the issue with the employee at my day job reaches a resolution, so there's that at least.

Thursday: Second day off, and a bit more productive. Wake up at 9AM to deal with a couple of minor crises at home, then back in bed in 9:45. Finally wake up for good at 2. Coffee, then more coffee. Get some more things done on the vaguebook thing, and get to spend some family time. Actually feel a little better. Start putting things together to take care of the things around the house that are falling apart due to my insane schedule. Finally get to watch a movie with the wife and kids (The VVitch, which was incredibly awesome, by the way), and munched on some pumpkin pie, the first stage of my acceptance that summer's gone and fall is here. Back to the writing, then discuss the SP with the person helping it, then a FB chat with a friend. Since I slept so late, not in bed till 4.

As I write this, it's Friday, and things for this whole weekend are looking to be interesting. The signed book arrived damaged beyond belief, so I get to do the insurance claim on it, and send another copy. Sending the copy I don't mind; dealing with the post office on an insurance claim, yeah, that's going to suck. Back to the day job, so I'll get home around 1 AM or so tonight, and will work on the SP a bit before going to bed. Probably no social media this time, since it looks like I'll be pulling a double at the day job tomorrow. As a result, I'll get home at 1 AM tomorrow and just collapse into bed. Then it's Sunday again, and the entire process will repeat itself.

I wish I could say this is unusual, but it's not. This is actually a fairly typical week in my life. Why the day job? Because I need to pay my bills. Maybe in ten years, or more, I'll be able to write full-time and only keep a part time job to help with expenses, but remember, I'm just starting out, and didn't go through a traditional publisher to get there. "But I thought your book was doing well?" It's been well-received, and has sold more than I expected it to, that's true. But it's one book. Royalty payments aren't going to be that awe-inspiring on one book.

Besides, the money was never the point. If it was, I wouldn't have done it to start with.

So why do it at all? Why subject myself to this if I'm not making money hand over fist? Simple: because this is my passion. This is my calling. Simply put: this is what I want to do. I'm a storyteller; it's what I was made for, so I do it.

Here's the thing: I'm at a point in my life where I can do it this way. I have a wife that understands my compulsion, and supports it. I have kids that are a little older, so they are okay with me doing this, and also support it. I have a day job to pay the bills while I pursue my dream. Do I want to sustain myself on this alone at some point in the future? Absolutely. But I know that takes work to get there, and I have no problem at all in doing it. After all, aside from the time I get to spend with my family and friends, I find myself most at peace with the world while I'm sitting in front of the computer with a blank page before me and a story pouring out of me.

If nothing else, that alone would make it all worth while.

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