4 min read

Ebb and Flow

Laptop on a desk with extra monitor, and a few books next to it. No cats.
The old work from home setup

Life goes in ups and downs. For me, this can happen quickly.

Had a great day a few days ago. Sold my first short story since deciding (not entirely my choice) to exit the working world and go full time as a writer. Then took off for a full day of pen-and-paper RPGing, something I haven't been able to do since I was...twenty? Damn. So, by all measures, a great day.

Instead of being able to ride the momentum of that, I was instead treated to a day of absolute moribundity. Is that a word? Spellcheck says yes. Interesting. Partially depression, partially just no ability to focus or do anything. No spoons, as the ADHD folks say. My executive function decided it was going to take a holiday. That's pretty normal for me. Good days always seem to balance themselves out with a bit of a crash the next day. I'd anticipated this, so I'd planned a day of reading books and puttering. Managed to make a really good dinner, at least. Maple-bacon roast chicken with a side of roasted goat cheese, and a lovely California red to go with it.

Today is better. I got stuff done this morning...setting up payment services across the board, and integrating some of them into this blog for a future paid-tier. I should be able to replicate the Patreon/Substack experience here with a bit more ease, and less reliance on other people's platforms. I've already got a shop ready to go to sell physical and ebooks through, and I'll tie that in to this as well. Still have some design work to go on that, and some back end work as well. Building yourself into a business takes a ton of infrastructure work.

I gave myself a task to organize my working day and schedule everything back at the start of this in August, but I'm now realizing just how ambitious that was. I'm still feeling my way into what's needed and learning how to fit actual production writing time into that. So I'll put off organizing until I find myself falling into patterns, and then use the organizing as a way to recognize and encourage what I'm already doing.

Some notable to-do's for the next bit are:

  1. new photos for blog
  2. more short stories
  3. get back onto sequel for Anubis War (currently 50% done)
  4. complete edits for Salish Rift book one
  5. complete Salish Rift books two and three (15% and 30% done)
  6. Record a few audio sessions for shorts and chapters
  7. figure out if YouTube video is a thing I want to do.
  8. finish all financial necessities, including looking into grants, getting taxes done, and completing what's necessary for the final wrap of the old job...maybe contact EI about that as well.

Ugh. That's a lot. Balancing that out, I have to recognize that I've done quite a bit in that last month. 30K+ words written. Built this blog from scratch. Made a writing space at home. Built a complete tech stack for writing as an online business, including production, finances, media, archives, development, planning and monitoring and tracking of all the above. Built a complete internal "meta" brand that I can start to tie into (Keep an eye open for Grendel Heavy) and grow over time. Started a new nutrition and health plan that takes advantage of the new schedule. Started outreach and interaction wiht other authors. Actually looked at some social media stuff. Had a hard reality look at our finances, and made some painful decisions.

I've always had a knack for knowing trends, but I've never really been in a place to do anything about them...or had the motivation. Now I do. I'm watching the writing industry, and as I've said before, along with others, it's about to go through a big change. The trad and indie division is going to die, because writers have the ability to be a brand into and of themselves, now. Writers are not just awesome people...they're interesting people. And the business of selling books has really ignored that, and instead focused on the products that those interesting people make. That's because they can make money off of those products, and they only care about the creators as far as they can affect sales. At least from a business perspective. The actual people working in those businesses are not so mercenary, but the structure they work in is.

In the old world, I could pick up a book by a favourite author, and imagine who they were by what they wrote. That world is gone...clearly illustrated by she who shall not be named. This new world is better for readers, because we can get to know authors outside of their works, and then appreciate their writer from a new perspective. The more I read John Scalzi's daily twitter shenanigans, the more I look forward to his next book. This isn't about marketing. This is about humanizing and feeling more connected to the people who make the things we love. It's our way of "buying local" by taking advantage of the internet to redefine what "local" is. It's kind of the point of the whole thing, really.

Every writer should be staking out a local space for themselves online, a place where readers can come and watch their weird neighbour do their weird neighbour things, and then buy their weird things that they make at the village market, because you want the eccentric person to still be around, because they make the whole place more interesting. Some of those weird neighbours might be invisible, and we only see them when they put up decorations a few times a year, and some of them might wander in their front yard, sniffing flowers in their underwear. Some might always knock on your door with fresh bread to share. Some might always need to borrow some sugar. You get to chose what kind of neighbourhood you want to live in, and smart authors will make sure you know what kind of neighbour they will be.

Makes for a fun world, after all.

Yeah, I'm the kind of friendly neighbour who always winds up rambling about something unrelated.