It’s That Time of Year Again

It never seems to fail.

By about this time every year, I find myself strapped for cash and it lasts right into the new year. This time around it’s not exactly a shock considering the day job didn’t work out, but even when I was working three day jobs, by the end of October/beginning of November I’d be starting to feel the crunch.

So, I figure it’s a good time to remind everyone of the various ways you can give me money.

The most obvious way is to buy one of my books! I’ve got quite the selection going, something for everyone if you tend to like the creepy, disturbing, and/or scary. You can find the whole list here, but I have a few I’d like to highlight.

Come to the Rocks–From Nine Star Press, this novelette is the closest I’ve come to a love story, so naturally it happens between a mermaid and a woman being stalked by her ex-boyfriend.

Gone Missing–One of my first self-publishing ventures, this novella concerns a town of missing people who start to go missing.

Yearly–My best-seller. A collection of 12 short stories, one for each month of the year.

Spirited in Spite–This is a fun one that came from a failed NaNo novel. It’s one that I think deserves a little more love.

The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys–This is one of my stories that I absolutely love, but it’s gotten so little attention! Please. I beg of you. Give this one a read.

And as always, if you do buy and read, please leave a review! It helps other people find my work. More eyes, more dimes. Or something like that.

If you’re looking for something with some commitment and membership perks, then become a patron! Murderville is my current Patreon project that’s scheduled to go for five “seasons”. Two seasons are already done. Season 3 will start next year. $1 an “episode” lets you read. $2 an episode lets you read, plus you get a bonus every other month.

I’ve also got a little feature called Writing for Tips. I’ve got a selection of free stories here on the blog for your enjoyment and if you feel compelled, you can drop a dollar in the ol’ tip jar.

And if you don’t feel at all like reading, or you’ve already read and raved about everything I have to offer, you can always just buy me a coffee or two.

It’s been a not great year, but I’m getting my groove back and I’m hoping to have some new projects coming out soon. Also, I hope to find a new day job that’s more compatible. But until then, every little bit helps and is very much appreciated.

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2018: The Writing Year That Wasn’t

To help me keep my shit straight, every year I create a writing calendar. I fill in each month with the projects I’m going to work on. This gives me an easy way to look at what I’ve been working on, what I need to work on, and the progress I’ve made throughout the year. Sometimes I’ve got months planned well in advance. Sometimes I’m filling out the month as I’m writing up the blog post about what I plan to work on for the given month.

On this calendar, at the beginning of the year, I make a list of projects, the big things I want to work on during the course of the next twelve months. These projects range from things I absolutely must get done to things I would ideally like to get done to things that are just wishful thinking, but hey, I might get bored.

My projects list for 2018 was more than reasonable, I felt, and I thought that I’d easily get four of my top 5 done this year.

I did two and that’s because I’m counting two items as half-done and/or attempted.

Between the fatigue issues caused by the anemia the first part of the year and the summer lost to the crash and burn of the day job, shit did not get done.

And I’m feeling pretty down about that.

It’s easy to say that I faced some challenges this year; that it’s understandable. The problem with that is that I didn’t really overcome any of those challenges, now did I?

It took me the better part of six months to complete one project that in the previous year took me maybe two all together. It’s very hard to look at that, challenges included, and not feel like I biffed it big time. I’m looking back at that wondering why I couldn’t push through, why I didn’t work harder, why I didn’t find a way.

It does me no good to do this, I know. I’m not going to find any satisfactory answers there.

But I do find some lessons.

There are times that I don’t push myself as hard as I could. I get lazy. I give up too easily on the days that I struggle to focus. I don’t adapt and adjust to changes and challenges as well as I’d like to. I have a tendency to be too bullheaded when it would be in my best interest not to be.

These are the things that I’ll be working on in 2019.

Along with another list of projects.

December Writing Projects

Ah, the end of the year. Finally.

Yes, it’s a been a long, struggle of a grind of a year and I’m glad to see it coming to a close. And since 2018 is wrapping up, so am I. I’m going to spend the last month of the year tying up some loose ends and plotting for 2019.

I’m going to schedule and ebook Season 3 of Murderville. Once that is done, all I’ll have to worry about is letting people know when the episodes go live. It’s going to be a huge relief knowing that it’s off my projects list. And since the first drafts of Season 4 and Season 5 are done, I’ll only have to worry about revising them. Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of this.

I’ve been wanting to put together a small flash fiction ebook, and I think that might be something I can do this month since I have most of the stories written and it shouldn’t take me too much time and effort to pull it off. A little fun thing that gives the illusion of productivity.

With 2019 looming, the other thing I need to do is look at my mess of a projects list and decide what I need to work on next year. This year was sort of a disaster, so I have plenty of things to work on. Which is sort of the reason why I’m not looking forward to figuring anything out. It’s going to be a drag.

In non-writing projects -or mild-writing projects, as it may be- I’m going to do some serious, actual work on a podcast. If you’ve listened to me ramble with Dan (he doesn’t ramble) during our chats about The Green Hornet on Eventually Supertrain, then you know I’ve teased about doing the Book ’em, Danno podcast about the original Hawaii Five-O. I’m going to attempt to make that tease a reality. I know what the basic show format will be. It’s just a matter of some research and recording. Simple, right?

Sure. Always simple in plan, not so much in execution, as we all know. We’ll see.

The year might be coming to a close, but the fun rages on. Murderville patrons already got an exclusive look at Season 3, but everyone can check it out on December 11th. Also, $2 patrons get their final bonus of 2018 on December 18th. Don’t miss out! Become a patron now!

Thankful For Finishing NaNo

If my counting is correct, I finished my 15th NaNoWriMo on November 18th. My goal, as always, is to finish before Thanksgiving, but this year I wanted to finish a little earlier than that due to the fact that I was recording on Monday and had a hair appointment on Tuesday. It was nice not to have to NaNo around them.

After all, this year I NaNo’d around my cousin’s wedding and my sister and brother-in-law’s visit (in addition to the usual stuff I deal with while writing on a daily basis); I deserved to give myself a break.

The scheme this year was to write Seasons 4 and 5 of Murderville, which I did. I thought that Season 4 would be longer than Season 5, and I was right. However, Season 4 fell short of what I projected, which meant that Season 5 fell even shorter of what I needed and I ended up about 10,000 words short.

So, I wrote a bonus Murderville story. And it’s really cute! I haven’t decided if it’ll be a new goal reward or maybe just a final farewell after Season 5. We’ll see how I feel after I survive the holidays.

As for Seasons 4 and 5, the word counts will be bumped in revisions. My first drafts are always bare bones. I almost always overestimate what I think the word count will be.

And I’m almost always surprised when it happens.

It’s like I don’t even know me.

Oh, well. A victory is a victory and after struggling so much this year with my productivity, I’ll take it. This puts my NaNo record at 12-3.

Not too shabby.

We’ve Already Discussed This. Writing Is Work.

“Are you coming with us?”

“I can’t. I gotta work. I’ve got 2,500 words to write for NaNo.”

“That’s not work.”

It was a throw away comment in a conversation I had earlier this week, a dismissal of my excuse not to go more than anything, but it still stuck in my skin like a barb.

That’s not work.

I’ve already discussed this, probably more than once, in the time I’ve been writing with the intent to make a profit, but I suppose I should say it again for the people in back.

Writing is work.

The prevailing idea is that if something doesn’t get you a regular paycheck, then it can’t be work. Unfortunately for many of us pursuing some sort of creative field like writing or art, we don’t get regular paychecks. Honestly, we would like to. We’d like to be paid a fair wage, dollars per hour for the work that we do. We’d like that regular weekly or bi-weekly paycheck like so many other jobs provide.

But the reality is that we don’t get that.

And because we don’t, there’s this myth that what we do isn’t work.

It is.

It’s the most frustrating kind of work in this capitalistic society because we will put in a ton of effort on a project that might never yield one cent for us. A story or a novel that never sells. An article that languishes in pitch hell. And even if we do get paid, rarely is it ever fair compensation comparable to the amount of work put into it.

There’s also this idea that because we set our own hours and/or work from home that writing is not work. It’s actually more work when you think about it. How easy is your job when you’re constantly interrupted by the people around you? How long does it take you to get one task done when people keep stopping by your desk to chat? How easy is it for you to get back into your groove? How frustrating is it when you lose that groove ten minutes later because they’re back again?

Yeah. That’s my reality when I’m trying to write.

Writing is work. Yes, I have to hold day jobs from time to time and I currently don’t have one, but my ultimate goal is to comfortably support myself by writing and writing alone. I want writing to be my only full-time job. I wish for it to be my career.

No, it is not backbreaking, sweaty labor. No, I don’t have to leave my house to do it. No, I don’t have a boss in the traditional sense. And no, I don’t get that regular paycheck.

But I earn every penny I make from it. It is work. It is MY work.

Now don’t make me say it again.

Flirting With the Idea of Freelancing

Several of my Twitter friends are writers. Some of them are freelancers. It’s interesting to watch their trials and frustrations, victories and successes. Because freelancing mystifies me.

Okay. Maybe that’s an overwrought way to put it. The truth is, though, that the idea of freelancing both intrigues and scares me. Sometimes I think I could do it until I remember that you need clips and pitches and whatnot. Then I’m absolutely certain that I could never.

It’s a push-pull thing. I look into it. I think about it. And I always talk myself out of it. I convince myself that I have no idea what I’m doing and would do it all wrong and would never get a piece accepted anywhere.

I’ve always been my own worst enemy.

Watching my Twitter friends talk about it, though, makes it a little more accessible. The idea of it anyway. They help to demystify the whole thing for me. I see what they do and what they go through. Their struggles do nothing to dissuade my interest. I’m used to struggle. It’s just my own hang-ups that I can’t get past.

There’s also the small matter of what I’d write about. I’m not qualified to write about anything. Hell, if blogging had requirements, I’d never meet them. And then, of course, there’s what I would write about if I were remotely qualified. I can’t imagine hot takes on old TV shows would find much of a market. No different from my fictional writing life, really. I write what folks don’t want to read.

Still, despite all of this, I think about it. I look into it. I ruminate over it a while before talking myself out of it, only to reconsider the idea later. It’s a tired cycle. One day, I might actually give it a legitimate shot.

Until then, I flirt.

I’m terrible at flirting.

November Writing Projects–It’s NaNo Time

Hard lessons have been learned this year, ones that I do not wish to repeat. So for this year’s NaNo, I’m going write Season 4 and Season 5 of Murderville. With the first drafts done, I won’t have to worry about having the same struggle with them that I had with Season 3 this past year. They’re both outlined and ready to go, though I have a feeling that writing Season 4 may possibly be easier than writing Season 5. We’ll see.

Though this will eliminate a repeat of this past summer, NaNo will not be without its struggles. My productivity has been shit for various reasons all year. Writing at least 2,000 words a day used to be easy. Now I can’t say that. I may be finding my old groove, but this still looks pretty daunting to me.

I’m also faced with the possibility that the two novellas combined might not hit 50,000 words. Season 3 clocked in at less than 25,000 words (I’m not exactly happy with that, but that’s another rant) and I’m worried that there could be a repeat of that during NaNo, most likely with Season 5.

Fingers crossed, kids.

It’s been a while since NaNo has been hard.

But it’s not the only thing happening this month. The teaser episode of Season 3 of Murderville goes live on November 13th. If you want a sneak preview into what’s coming for the residents of Munsterville next year, become a patron! $1 an episode let’s you read. $2 an episode let’s you read and gets you swell bonus content every other month.