Hello, friends, it’s been a while.
This update is a bit overdue, because my brain (and my schedule) has been pretty full the last couple of months. So let’s dive on in!
If you’re not following me over on ye olde twitters, I left my day job in early September so I can write full-time, and hopefully next fall, go back to school to pursue that degree in astrophysics I didn’t go for the first time around. (No, I am not kidding.)
It was an incredibly hard decision to make. I loved my job – I got to talk about books all day. My colleagues are fantastic people. I adore my booksellers. And yeah, even though they’re no longer my accounts, they’ll be my booksellers forever, damn it. I’m still saying things like, “Oh, we have a book about that on the list,” or “We published <insert Orbit author here>. I loved that book.” But as my job responsibilities increased, the time and attention span I had for writing had steadily declined. I’ve been doing a shit-ton of writing for RPGs this year, but that meant there wasn’t a whole lot left for my own stuff.
I have, in fact, just tallied up all the words I’ve written for various games this year and uh. It’s currently at a hundred and thirteen thousand words. 113,400 at the moment, to be exact.*
That’s a sobering moment for me, because haha I’d been a bit down on myself for not writing enough, when the truth of the matter is, I did a hefty portion of that while I held down a full-time job that required a lot of travel. That’s more words than Night Owls, which clocked in somewhere in the 90K range.
So. Yeah. I’ve been writing! And I’ll update the My Works page so it’s all there.
/adds to to-do list.
I didn’t settle right down into writing, as there was travellin’ to do. I literally quit my job and went to Disney World. The trip was planned well before I gave my notice! But it was an amusing thing to say when people asked what I was going to do next. Came home and wrotewrotewrote for a couple more games, then was off again to be staff at Viable Paradise. While I was there, the fabulous Pippin Madconald and Erin Black unlocked a part of a story I’ve been struggling with for five years, since I was a VP student. That’s a thing that’s getting written sooooon. Home again, more RPG writing, and off once more to Metatopia. (I will write about Metatopia at some point soon, I hope, because hooooly shit it was wonderful, and on several different axes.)
So, now I’m home, and caught up on deadlines, and I suspect it’s starting to finally, nearly three months later, sink in. I’ve been having end-of-work dreams all week long. Dreams where I’m in the office even though I’m no longer an employee, or I’m cleaning out my cubicle and finding things I’d forgotten about. (One involved me finding a tote bag, because of course it did. See: white lady in publishing.) I think — now that I have time to think — it’s maybe me letting go of the things I didn’t get done.
Okay, then, brain. You do you.
Learning that I don’t have to be at my desk 9-5 is strange. I’m still trying to get my head around it as I figure out how this all changes my writing process. I learned during a couple of deadline sprints that I can get deeply into the writing groove at three or four in the morning, but I’d really prefer to be sleeping then. I am pretty sure that groove hit because I’m on the East Coast, and at that weird liminal hour most of my social media feeds are quiet. When the Northeast got hit by that big windstorm the last week of October, we lost power for one day and internet for two. I got scads written during that time. I recognize that this is very much a me-vs-the-shiny thing, so I’m navigating the best ways to minimize distractions. (That’s not a call for advice, just acknowledging that it’s part of this adjustment period.) Minimizing my browser helps, so I don’t see the little dot letting me know there are new tweets to look at. I close Slack and sort of forget it’s there for a while. I learned that if you click toward the top of your screen and give your mouse a wiggle, everything else you have open in the background gets minimized. Sometimes I afk altogether and write longhand. Letting this all be a work in progress, rather than perfect at the start, has been a challenge. But I’m getting there.
What’s next, then?
I’m working on a YA Arthurian fantasy with Hillary Monahan. I’ve put in some nice words in a zero draft of a new solo thing about an aging rockstar and her deal with the devil. I’ve got that SF short story that wants writing. I’ll be around here a bit more, and am pondering things I might stick in a biweekly-ish newsletter. I’ve got a date with Netflix, one of my favorite shows, and and a notepad for a blog series I’d like to do about the storytelling therein. I want to read all the things, and tell you about what I’m digging.
I’m eyeballing a Patreon as well, because I like having things like electricity and heat. (I am extremely privileged that my husband can support us both while I write. I know that I can sell stuff. But freelancing means the money comes in sporadically, so!) The rewards for that would most likely be flash pieces, snippets of works in progress, and maybe some tales from the Night Owls ‘verse. If there’s anything else you’d like to see, drop your ideas in the comments.
So that’s the state of the me. More soon, but right now, I’ve got a conversation between Billie and the devil to finish, so she can start getting the band back together.
*frustratingly, if I didn’t already have a SFWA membership from my book sales, all those words would not qualify me for one. But that’s another post.