Sunday, June 24, 2012

Words in crisis

I'm not sure what made me start using "word" and/or "words" in the titles of my blog posts, but I did and I'm even thinking I should go back and change all the titles that don't have "word" in them.

However, that's not the point of this entry.  The point of this entry is the whole crisis thing.

I'm not sure who reads this.  The "traffic" report that comes with the blogger platform makes no sense to me.  It looks like the majority of my "readers" are search bots from Russian, Japan, Indonesia, the Maldives, Lithuania. . . .   Really???  And lately the most popular search word(s) that leads people(?) to this blog is "paintings of lactating women."  Hmm, that's a little bit creepy, if you ask me, even though I know why that search phrase leads to here.  And no, I'm not changing that post!

I've looked at the blogs of several other self-publishing romance writers, both newly e-published and the re-publishing variety like me.  What I've noticed from my very unscientific and rather limited survey is that most of the newly-self-e-published writers spend a lot of time promoting their books and/or talking about their personal lives.  The writers who have some traditional publishing credits tend to write more about writing and/or the business of writing.

If there are any of that former group reading this -- or writers who are contemplating the plunge into e-publishing -- allow me to express an opinion.  Obviously, it's only my opinion, and since it's my blog I ought to be able to express it with or without your permission.  So here goes:

Spend your time learning your craft.  When you have learned it, then and only then, spend your time applying it.

Yes, that's in big bold italic print. 

I'm going to be arrogant and self-congratulatory here for a moment.  I know my craft.  I have the publishing credentials to prove it, I have professional experience writing for newspapers, I have academic credentials.  In other words, I know how to write.  I know how to construct a story.  I know how to write dialogue.  I know how to spell and punctuate.  I know when to use rain, rein, or reign.  I know the difference between imply and infer. 

Most of you don't.  Oh, I know you think you do, but you don't.  Look at the one-star reviews your books are getting.  You don't know your craft and you shouldn't be publishing until you do.
There, I got my frustration out.  And yet even that isn't the point of this post.

My crisis, and hence the title of this post, comes in the application part.  This blogpost is an attempt to work my way through some of that crisis.

I have a day job that brings in a certain amount of money every month.  Unless and until my digital publishing ventures generate a similar amount, I have to keep the day job.  And of course the catch-22 there is that if I can't give up the day job, I don't have enough time to write.

To a certain extent what I'm doing now is using the day job -- and the income derived from it -- as a crutch and as an excuse for why I'm not writing more.

Well, saying I don't have the time to write is actually sort of a lie.  Sort of.  I wrote other books when I was working full time jobs that required me to be away from home and the computer, when I had kids at home to take care of, and so on.  My previous jobs, however, did not require the kind of 100% total mental focus this one does.  Frankly, it's a mind-numbingly boring job that requires very little physical effort but constant and total mental effort.  There is no drifting off into mentally crafting the next scene in the book, because all of my focus has to be on the work.

The advantage, however, is that I work at home on my own computer.  I could put my writing files on the computer I use for work and take breaks from the job to do some writing.  Unfortunately, that would not solve the essential problem.  First, I'd have to keep moving files back and forth from laptop to desktop and sometimes not know which was the most current.  Second, I'd often be too tempted away from the day job.  Third, I don't write in five minute spurts, and especially when those five minute breaks are caused by the the need to come up for mental air after drowning in the job.

But I also don't write well and easily -- and enough -- when I know my time is limited by when I have to start up the day job again, which I have to do virtually every day (except week-ends, of course, sort of).

There's another element to this, too.  My day job also takes time away from my crafting.  The crafting doesn't require the mental focus the day job does.  It isn't mind-numbingly boring either.  And it could conceivably bring in at least some of the cash currently provided by the day job.

And of course, I know that I'm the only one who can make the decision.  I'm the only one who has to find those XXX dollars every month to pay the bills, buy the dog food, put gas in the car, and so on.  I'm the one who will have to determine when it's time to risk the income security that comes from a sucky but reliable job in favor of the fun and personal satisfaction of the writing and crafting and try to make a financial go of it.


  1. Just a thought about the whole moving files from computer to computer, have you thought about using dropbox? It is a program that allows your two computer to sync storage as long as they both have access to the internet. It also works on tablets and iphones. It has been a lifesaver for me and a lot of other people I know in a variety of professions. Best of all, it is free!

  2. Not a bad suggestion! Thank you! And thank you just for dropping by and reading my ruminations.

    Unfortunately, the problem of accessing files is the easiest one to solve, but not the most important. It's much more the matter of finding blocks of time sufficient for thinking, imagining, creating. And that is a function of the nature of my job, which I haven't yet found a solution to. Yet. . . .