Tag Archives: Day Job

Assembling these scattered pieces

I must become a great writer. This means investing years of time in writing.

The trouble is that I must also become a really good singer. Guitarist. Strategist. Gamer.

Even “gamer” is misleading because the teamwork skills that aid you in MMO raiding don’t translate to RTSs like Starcraft 2, which requires split-second decision-making and execution. In one game, you manage one character with 40 abilities. In the other, you manage 40 units with different statistics.

I design Portal 2 maps, and I would not rest until I became good at designing them. I stayed up late, got up early, and was working on Portal puzzles probably 40 hours a week in addition to the 50 or so at my day job.

I must also become great at my day job. I’ve earned a couple of promotions within a half decade and don’t intend to stop. Sometimes this requires staying late, working weekends or flying to Orlando to give a guest lecture.

The writers I follow don’t have 37 hobbies and 2 careers. They write in their free time. They might play guitar or sing, design portal puzzles, play competitive strategy games, study chess, edit machinima videos, paint and webdesign.

They do some of these things. But not all of them.

So that begs the question. If I intend to be a great writer, what should I give up?

 

The anti-hiatus

This month, my wife and I are moving into a new house.

Ergo, writing updates will be sparse if they happen at all.

Now, as a full time writer, I wouldn’t allow even a life change such as a wedding interfere with contract deadlines, etc.

But I am not a full time writer; my day job is something completely different, and since that puts bread on the table, it is my first priority. Unfortunately, having to move and run government- and utility-related errands means that writing falls even further down the priority list than normal.

One day, when I write for my daily bread, I will not have to divide my time thusly.

Announcing new email: jason@jasonrpeters.com

The time has come to embrace my website as a source of mail related to my writing career.

Rather than my gmail address, I will be publishing to everyone related to my writing career (publishers, magazines, agents, fans, readers) my email address at this domain:

jason@jasonrpeters.com

Try it out. You might even like it. Or remain indifferent.

Either way, it will serve as a way for me to effectively divide work-related email (at home) from work-related email (at my day job) from personal email (at gmail).

Is networking really the answer? Are we really that shallow?

Two of the authors in the Writing Excuses podcast have mentioned they broke in with a boost due to networking.

The last query letter I submitted (and many prior) received a form rejection letter. It can’t be the quality of the story, the work, which they haven’t even seen. It might be the quality of the query letter, but I can correspond professionally. Hell, in my day job, people ask me to help them compose messages so they sound cleaner, easier to read, and more professional.

It might be that the story didn’t grab the agent’s or intern’s imagination, which sometimes happens. But it’s hard to give a story full credit in synopsis. They have a tendency to all sound flat, lame, contrived.

Amateur.

Try to summarize your favorite film or show right now in a few short sentences and see if it wouldn’t sound lame to someone else (assuming they weren’t already a fan).

So what’s the difference between having your query letter read or ignored?

Seems like whether or not you’ve had coffee with the recipient is the key ingredient.

I haven’t forgotten you.

Dr. Mr. & Ms. Reader,

I haven’t forgotten you.

Illness has kept me mostly bedridden except for general house-puttering. I have missed a week of work due to illness: Both my day job and my night job (writing).

No Dream Job

Did you know that novelists don’t get any paid sick-time? Unless, that is, you make enough on royalties that you can live off of them entirely whether you sell another project. But that falls into “independently wealthy” territory, rather than “working as a novelist” to make ends meet.

Only 1% of novelists ever turn a profit.

So far, I’m part of the other 99%. This is unacceptable. Just being an A+ student won’t get the job done in this case; I must rise above those who themselves excel.

Daunting? I don’t care.

Dear readers, please accept my apology for the break in writing. Though still under the weather, I am back in the office.

The first 50% of FRAGILE GODS will be ready for my Alpha Readers soon.

The difference between Writing and Writering

MotivationNew Year’s Day, I mentioned I wanted to be “a writer”. My father-in-law corrected me:

“You are.”

That’s right; I am. I write regularly in pursuit of publication; I’m not merely journaling, blogging, or setting idle words to print in hope that “someday” I might come into my craft.

I write intently and deliberately and with passion.

So I corrected myself:

“I want ‘writer’ to be my day job.”

This is a goal I’ve had virtually all my life. But WHY?

The answer is because I enjoy writing. And if you do what you love, you never ‘work’ a day in your life…right?

Only here’s the problem. Sometimes writing feels like work. Sometimes instead of feeling excited about a project, I dread returning to it.

In other words, sometimes I don’t enjoy writing.

…so why do it?

If the purpose of becoming a writer is to something I enjoy, and I cease enjoying this particular activity, what’s the sense of doing it, at least in the short term?

It’s hard to say.

Which makes it hard to write.

But I’ve noticed something here at the turn of the new year. I try not to make “resolutions” but I do try to make general improvements…then again, I do this year round. But January 1 is usually a time where I say to myself, “Write more.” (Duh.)

But it isn’t the New Year that’s motivated me to begin writing again this year. It’s not the thought of prestige or financial security or even just doing something I like.

No.

It’s the books I got for Christmas. One of each kind:

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Short Story collection

And I’m thoroughly enjoying all three. And each line, page, or chapter I enjoy makes me want to offer that same enjoyment in turn to others. It makes me want to write, whether I’m ever published or “successful”. Just for the challenge of doing it, the same way I enjoy playing video games or eating. The activity itself becomes satisfying again.

I’m reminded that I used to read hours every day, every night before bed, every morning at breakfast, every single break at work. And reading is what greased the wheels to make me want to write.

The problem is this:

I can’t find that many  good books.

My dry spell writing towards the final months of 2009 directly correlates to a dry spell reading. I had tried the latest recommended authors and books and found them lacking, and become further unwilling to take up any new volume with each that dissatisfied me.

And I’ve reread everything in my personal library half a dozen times or more already, including some of the ones I don’t even like that much.

So this I beg you, fellow reader:

If you know a good author, recommend him/her to me in a hurry. Buy a book for me and put it in my hands — I’ll pay you cash on the spot for it if I have faith in your judgment. Because I never knew it before, but good books are fuel for my fire. Without them, I go up in smoke.

Yikes…

I haven’t posted since September? Ouch.

All I can say is that at the moment, work is kicking my ass. I mean my day-job work, not the work I’d rather be doing (writing).

That said, I need to make an effort to buckle down and finish my personal goals also.