I still like writing

My job doesn’t pay enough.

I like it, I’ve invested a lot of time and effort to help my students, and to help myself enjoy it. But I don’t earn enough from it, and I doubt I ever will. My wife also works full-time. She earns more than I do, but her work is physical, outdoors. She can’t do it forever. Between the two of us, we barely earn enough for our two kids and the apartment we own.

But I still like writing.

Back when I started this blog, I had the idea that I could earn extra income from writing fiction. But I didn’t go about it in anything resembling the right way. I still don’t really understand how to market myself, how to handle all the non-writing jobs that are essential for a writer. It’s entirely overwhelming and intimidating.

But I still like writing.

I can’t make money from it right now. I understand that, finally. No, even if I do everything properly, I won’t see a penny for a long time. I might win a short story contest, I might get a short story or even a novel published, but the money will be small, a bonus for pursuing a dream at best. A perk added to my day job income.

I’m fighting against my own handling of Inkshares and crowdfunded writing – the evidence of that is still easy to find on this blog. I thought of deleting it all actually, deleting all of my past posts and starting the blog anew. But no, that past happened, it’s still visible, and I will own it as best as I can.

I still like writing. I promised myself I would complete and publish Far Flung, and I will.

Far Flung. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted about it. I have worked on it since the Inkshares crowdfunding attempts. I will finish. I want to try my luck with traditional publishers – I don’t know if the excerpts and information I’ve posted will interfere with my chances, but I need to try. I’ve always been willing to self-publish it; I probably won’t wait too long if I get rejected by some traditional publishers.

I have to do something that is not writing.

I have a number of online courses I bought on sale or received through various promotions. They’re mostly programming – C, Python, Java, and a few other courses. There are a few edX courses too – I’ve just started one now. I’m not sure what my endgame here is. I’m 43 – am I really considering a career change now?

I have to do something, that’s for sure. My wife can’t keep her job forever. Our marriage is not good. Tonight I will go home, and I will do my best to help with cleaning up the house and I will make sure the kids are ready for school tomorrow.

But I will make a mistake somewhere along the way. A very basic mistake, something that would probably not happen if I were better at concentrating and dealing with anxiety. And my wife will yell at me because it’s the nth time I’ve made that exact same mistake. She’ll tell me how the stress of double-checking my work around the house is killing her. She’ll remind me that she works longer hours than I do and has to work every single day because I don’t make enough.

The kids will forget something, or make some small mistake, and she’ll yell at them. I’ll think about how, if I had just done things differently in the past, I could spare them the angry words. I’ll curl up into a ball of sadness and fall asleep way too early. Lather, rinse, repeat. Don’t get me wrong – I know why she yells, I’m not some deadbeat husband who wonders why his wife is always angry. At least I don’t think I am.

And I still like writing.

Somewhere in the changes I must make now, writing will still play a role. It won’t be a career – at least, I don’t see that it can be unless I’m ridiculously lucky. I’ll have to have a different job full time. Right now, today, I still have my current job, and I need it to earn me the time to work on what’s next. Meanwhile, the fictional worlds won’t stop swirling and forming in my head, and I must devote at least an hour or two each day, along with getting more exercise, trying out some online courses, and working with my children.

It’s a hell of a lot to take on. But I don’t see anther way –

Because I still like writing.

#IWSG – Writing, exercise, self-improvement

I think I know what this blog will be now.

It won’t be much of a change, just a different approach. I’m looking at ways now to incorporate the exercise and healthy lifestyle changes I need along with writing. I’ll write about the activities and exercises I do to make sure I can write fiction, and about how writing fiction keeps me going back to that exercise.

I’ll write about how I’m addressing the issues in my last post, and share some of the writing that comes from the process.

I finally feel ready to return to writing. The ideas never stop! I have so many of them, and a terribly slow typing speed along with so many other things demanding my time. But I have to try, and I have to get back out to the writing groups that mean so much to me.

I hope readers will find some value as I talk about how I deal with these problems, and how my physical exercise and weight loss ties in with writing fiction.

Keep writing. I know I will.

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#IWSG November 2017 – Rethinking my blog and writing

A short post for the Insecure Writers Support Group this month, all about my current state of affairs and things I think will be interesting to the neurotic writers who pass by blogs like this every month.

First, if you haven’t seen my guest post on world-building on John Robin’s blog, be sure to check that out – it was fun to write, and I really have to do that more often,

I’m looking at new ways to use this blog

So one big change I’m making now (and a reason for the lack of updates) is deciding what I want to use this blog for. Some of my writing tips have gone over well, and I might go back to doing that weekly. I like the idea of previewing others’ writing like I did for the Launch Pad contest – I could see myself doing little previews of upcoming and released indie works.

One thing’s for sure – I can’t do long updates or too frequent ones. Regular updates, yes, but probably not more than once, maybe twice a week. I need to do more actual writing!

NaNoWriMo

No. Not really, anyway. I need to finish the book I’m working on, not start a new one now. I’d rather devote a set amount of time to working on my current book than set a specific word count. I’ll start with 1 hour per day, and see if I can boost that up a bit.

Anxiety

I’m doing some online counseling (best option I have at the moment) and it will spill over onto this blog in some form. I think my writing and my anxiety interact in many ways, and that some tips to deal with one will also help with the other. I’m on the lookout for other blogs that talk about anxiety and writing – there should be some good links with IWSG I would think!

Anyway, that’s my rambling IWSG post for November. If you have some ideas for content for my blog, feel free to leave comments. I’ll be looking around some of your blogs too!

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Time is running out to support Far Flung on Inkshares!

With 5 days left in the Launch Pad Inkshares contest, I’m losing my hold over 4th place, let alone a top 3 place that I would need to win.

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So here I am, again, trying to get pre-orders for Far Flung. I’ve got two supporter previews left. I think those previews are why a lot of new blog visitors are here!

To my new visitors and my readers before the campaign – will you support Far Flung?

If you plan to, now is the time!

Check out Far Flung at the Inkshares page here and see the updates and chapters I’ve provided. With complex characters and worldbuilding, I think sci-fi fans will deeply appreciate this journey. Read over the preview chapters, maybe leave a comment or recommendation, and let me know what you think!

Why Support Support Far Flung?

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As you likely know, I’ve been working away at previews of other authors’ works and other promotions for Far Flung.

There are more previews in the pipeline, but not many! The rest will go up soon, but first, a personal note about my desire for Far Flung. It’s the reason for all these previews, after all – a perk for supporting the book to come. I’ll write a preview for your book, music, artwork, blog, or whatever else it is you do in return for a $10 pre-order.

Why do all this?

It’s a fair question, one that certainly keeps coming up!

With a place in the Top 50 in Launch Pad, and the supportive community at Inkshares, I saw a chance. Normally, it takes 750 pre-orders of a book at Inkshares to get a fully-featured publishing deal, but I could get the same level of quality and service if I land in the Top 3 of the current Launch Pad Contest by October 9. An e-book, paperback copies, hardcover, signed copies, distribution in major bookstores – the whole deal.

I could do this without Inkshares, it will just take a lot longer.

Story development editing is expensive. So is promotion, cover design, distribution, and I would (somehow) have to pay for all of it if I end up self-publishing. As someone already in a nasty bit of debt, a means of subsidizing production, like crowdfunding, has a certain appeal!

What happens if I don’t get the Top 3 by October 9?

Just so you don’t think I’m pinning all my hopes on this one chance, I figure I’ll let you know the alternatives I can see. First, I will not cancel the campaign for Far Flung. There’s a level of publishing at 250 pre-orders that I can take, and I’ll try for that. It doesn’t offer as much editing, but it will get physical copies of the book in bookstores in the US and Canada – something quite difficult for me to do on my own.

After that, there’s self-publishing. No idea how I’ll afford everything, so I’ll be pitching it to traditional literary agents as I work through the steps. But somehow, I will finish it. I’m also starting the sequel (yes, there will be one!) as soon as I can – it’ll be my submission for next year’s Launch Pad (yes, I will do it again, but probably without the crowdfunding part).

tl;dr – It will get done.

So why should you throw in $10 for an e-book, or $20 for a physical copy? Because it will get done. I have a plan, and I’m following it now, but if I can get a 50-80 additional pre-orders within the next two weeks, you know what happens? My plans get accelerated drastically and you get Far Flung and all the books that follow a lot sooner (hey, remember Bound in Shadows? Don’t worry, I do).

I hope you will pre-order!

Here’s the page where you order. Oh, note that if you get an e-book, it’ll come in PDF, ePub, and Kindle formats.

Order now, get a nice little promo for your work, and get a great sci-fi novel!

#IWSG for September – Surprising

 

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A short post and a late one for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!

if you’ve never heard of them, the IWSG is a huge group of bloggers who talk about the neurotic dangers of writing. Be sure to look around the huge list of blogs – there are always insightful and useful posts and helpful people.

I surprised myself with my writing for the Busan Writing Group, my local writing club. I was always certain before I fond them that sci-fi and fantasy would be my writing mainstays. When we got an anthology together for the first time, however, my story had no fantasy at all. It was a touching tribute to the loneliness of an expat’s first time in Korea, and an odd, sad love story. Shortly after, I had my first story published outside the BWG, and it had no fantasy or sci-fi at all either – just a confrontation between nephew and aunt over a dark secret.

In following anthologies, deep personal themes made up the basis, with fantasy in small doses. I’ve had a taste of a style I didn’t even realize was in me – a more literary, realistic scenario with the fantasy working its way in gradually. I still write full sci-fi and fantasy (as a glance around this blog will confirm), but for short stories, I think I’ll further explore this ‘realistic’ style and see how the weirder ideas play into it.

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Help me kickstart my writing career and get a great sci-fi novel!

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Far Flung, my sci-fi epic that’s in the Top 50 of the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition, is in funding now.

Be sure to read the preview chapters & tell me what you think! Consider supporting the campaign – your support will help me put this in the hands of readers everywhere!

#IWSG for August – Dark Times

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Getting back into writing seems a lot harder for me now.

Last time I was putting up one of these IWSG posts, I had a crowdfunding effort relating to my writing. I ended that campaign and contest with all of 16 backers total. I simply didn’t have enough of the right kind of contacts and friends to see it through, or the knowhow to reach out to people who might have helped. I couldn’t go on with the promotion – it was taking away all my time to write.

I am thankful for those 16, and the many more who read the work I was displaying for the contest. I wish I could have done better for them. If I ever decide to crowdfund for writing again, it will be an even harder uphill battle, since everyone I know saw me fall flat on my face. But I will get the story done, along with the others I am working on.

Home life is not going well, and I don’t have a way out other than to keep working my main job I have to make a living. My wife and I are making progress on our debt, but at the cost of making any progress on our stalled relationship.

Yet here I am, still at the writing game. I’m still teaching a writing course in September – a course for ESL learners that I have adapted from my own influences and writing guidebooks. I must still have a set of materials to teach from, and that is exactly what I was preparing with my series of blog posts on writing short fiction.  I will return to the series of posts next Tuesday.

I must keep writing, even with feelings of darkness.

I don’t know how I will spread the word and get the support of friends, family, and more when I have a major project ready. All I know for now is that I must have a very good project well and truly ready. I must work out some way to get to my writing group regularly despite the hard work I must do with my family. While online critique groups are great, in-person meetings have by and far the strongest motivational power for me.

For other members of the Insecure Writers Support Group – what gets you writing through feelings of being overwhelmed, through feelings that even your best writing will not be enough?

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