That Hustle

Four coloured 6 sided dice arranged in an aest...

About 7 months ago, I chose to become a freelancer of sorts. I decided to earn my money through odd jobs and through selling jewelry, t-shirts, and a self-published book, all in the pursuit of allowing myself more time to write.

I think of it as being on the hustle. I’m hustling to get my money. And hustling ain’t easy.

If I think about it, I’ve been hustling most of my life. That’s how I made a lot of my money during junior high and high school. I worked in my mom’s daycare for twenty bucks a week. I worked in my cousin’s daycare for seventy-five bucks a week. I cleared junk off of lots for five bucks an hour. I saved what lunch money I didn’t spend. I collected change. I babysat. Hustling.

I don’t hustle as much when I’ve got a “real” job, aka, steady, official paycheck. But I still look for ways to make a little extra money. It’s like a habit I can’t break. Always hustling, trying to get my dime.

Like I said, the hustle isn’t always easy. I made twelve bucks in sales last month. That’s it. I scrapped up about thirty bucks doing what I call “spare change work”, which is quite literally doing little things for change. On a good day, I’d make four bucks. Not a lot, but it’s four bucks I didn’t have and four bucks I needed because I only sold a couple of things on Etsy and didn’t sell anything on eBay.

Tough luck.

Those bad months can be killers. I had two in a row, only selling fourteen dollars worth of stuff in February. That’s rough. The tax return kept me afloat during that time, but it would have been nice to get ahead, you know? That’s how I look at it. Get the money for the bills this month, I can start working on next month. The more time I have, the more likely it is that I’ll make my bills. There is no surplus. It’s all about thinking ahead and paying the bills.

I live poor on the hustle. I couldn’t do this if I had “real” bills, I know that. I’d be forced to work a job I hate to make ends meet. That idea has never appealed to me and I’ve done what I can to avoid it. This doesn’t mean I don’t like working a “real” job. I like the regular paycheck, for sure. I like having co-workers, most of the time. In fact, I’m looking for a part-time gig right now because that regular paycheck would be a nice boost and frankly, I need to get the hell out of this house a little more.

But I would still be hustling. I’d still be selling on Etsy and eBay and Spreadshirt and Amazon and Lulu and Nook. I’d still be looking for odd jobs and taking extra gigs. I’d still be trying to sell my short stories.

I can’t help it.

The hustle is in my blood.

Writing–My First (Self) Published Book!

Considering anyone can self-publish a book these days, this isn’t exactly something to crow about. But considering the issues I have that I outlined a few Wednesdays ago, I think it’s quite the step forward for me.

I decided to go through Lulu, as several of my friends have used their services with great satisfaction. After getting over the hurdle of signing up (it was a day long battle as I couldn’t get the cookie settings right on my laptop to get the registration to work; it was all solved after a frustrated tempertantrum, switching computers, and feeling like an idiot), I read through all of the instructions, learning how to properly format my document and all of that. My paranoia of getting things right and knowing what I was doing led me to watch the how-to tutorial five or six times just to reassure me.

I downloaded the template I wanted to use (actually, I downloaded two different ones because I wasn’t sure which would work better) and did some copy pasta to put my short story book together. It was actually pretty easy.

Naturally, I couldn’t resist editing everything one more time. All of the stories have been edited several times before, but the last thing I want to do is put out a sloppy product. I imagine, in inviting people to critique my work as I did, I’m going to get slammed over any grammar or spelling mistakes that managed to slip through. But for the most part, I wanted it to look as clean and professional as possible.

I think I’ve achieved that.

Content is another story and one of the big reasons I published this book of short stories. I want feedback from readers on why they think these stories didn’t get published. I’m opening myself up to some harsh criticism and, I’m sure, some down right bashing. But they’ll have to buy the book (or download) to achieve that. And at least I’ll know that someone is reading it.

If you want to be one of the readers, you can purchase Rejected: Nine Stories I Couldn’t Get Published here or check out the Rejected page for more information.

Any kind words of feedback would be appreciated. Any mean words, too. I can take it.

Bring it on.