Exhaustion and More

I took a break for a few days last week.  Working 10 hour days, getting in the rhythm around what should be my bedtime… It wasn’t working.  I felt sick and tired and there are only so many times you can fall asleep on top of a computer before you have to ask yourself, “What am I doing?”

Tomorrow is officially fall, though.  I still have 10,000 words to edit; I’ve failed to meet my goal.  Good news is, I’m loving what this story is shaping up to be.  I keep thinking of little additions every few days.  If there is an upside to a slow editing process, it’s that every time I look at my manuscript, I’m looking at it with fresh eyes.  I think that forcing yourself to work through 5,000 words like a machine does more harm than good.

I will say, though, I follow a lot of Twitter users who post writing tips.  Grammar is huge among them.  I love the tips, but God forbid someone say “did” instead of “had done.”  These posts give me mini-heart attacks.  I don’t take grammar conventions seriously when I write.  My narration and dialogue sound pretty real.  I use words you’d hear in real life. I write like the average person speaks. After my mini-heart attack, I recover and remember all the flowery and mechanically-sound prose I’ve edited over the years.  Equally distracting, if not more.  I’ll just write for my audience, whoever they turn out to be.

I started considering what a good book cover might look like.  I’m leaning toward something white and minimal, but at the same time, that’s not what I want at all.  It’s just what I’m capable of.  I know what I want.  It’s going to require a sunny day with a camera and a good photo editing program.  Possibly some technical help from my boyfriend, aka The Photoshop Wizard.   I’ve given literally zero thought to the spine and back of the book, though.  I have text to write for that.  An inside cover.  Do I want to include my photograph?  There are a lot of important decisions to make.

After my break last week, I was very excited to get working over the weekend.  Then my 23andme report came back and revealed to me that I’m not 100% white.  I’m roughly 10% Hispanic and hardly Native American at all. I took that data and entered it into Promethease, which told me about all sorts of disorders I’m predisposed to, as well as the extremely high likelihood that I can’t process folate/folic acid at all.  That’s pretty darn important.  I would have never known if I hadn’t taken a genetic test. Now I can speak with a doctor about blood tests and next steps. The entire process has been like something out of a science fiction novel and it brought my relatives together to talk about family history, both medical and biographical (VERY distorted!).  Whole weekend = gone.

Tonight, I packed my things for a vacation and am writing this post.  I’ll edit, at most, a page and a half. After I come back from vacation, I will be working 7-5 again and a night that might go to 8PM or later. I’ll most likely have to work that Saturday, as well.  It’s going to be a hard push on these last 10,000 words.

Speaking of work… I have been exhausted enough to actually ask my boss to work less hours.  He was receptive, but some overtime is mandatory.  That’s fine.  I have some wonderful, hard-working clients who give me enough work to guarantee that I need to put in the extra hours just to stay sane.  I did $145,000 in sales by myself last month.  I won’t say how much profit I earned the company, but it’s a lot.

What’s my salary?  It’s over $10,000 less than what’s projected for 2016 graduates. Google it.  I’m not shy.  To be honest, I don’t know anyone making dough like that straight out of school, or even two years out of school.  What’s grinding my gears at this precise moment is that someone coming on board at my work doing my exact job (with a different title, and no experience) will be earning about $22,000 more than me.  That’s huge.  That isn’t about bargaining or skill or even something as simple as being a man in a man’s industry.  That’s systemic failure.  The funnest part: I wasn’t supposed to find out.

But I did.

This is what this book is all about – exposing ourselves and the American workforce.  If I Let You Go is completely allegorical.  Some people will hate that, and I understand.  It’s an intense story.  Unless all my publishing dreams come true, though, I’m not going to be able to escape what’s behind the story.  We all have to work.  We all have to put up with shit.  I just want people to take an honest look at themselves and ask, “What am I doing?”

 

 

Drive-Bys

I have taken very much to reading JA Konrath’s blog.  Perhaps it isn’t the best idea to read it in reverse chronological order, but I am.  One of the most interesting things I’m seeing from 2005 (so far) is the concept of the drive-by.

Drive-bys, for those who don’t know, are drive-by book signings.  It involves a lot more than just picking out a couple of local bookstores and autographing books, and isn’t as casual as seeing a random bookstore on the street and seeing if they have any copies of your novel.  Often times drive-bys are much more involved – planned travel, merchandise give-aways, hotel stays, etc.

However, one theme I’ve also noticed from Konrath’s blog: in 2005, he wasn’t a huge Amazon lover.

In 2005, I was only 14.  Purchasing things online just wasn’t something I thought about. I wasn’t an Amazon lover until about 4 years later, when I qualified for my own debit card and all hell broke loose.

Konrath is touted by many as the King of Kindle and self-publishing.  As of 2016, he’s probably changed his tune about Amazon.  Has he changed his tune about drive-bys, then?  I suppose I’ll find out the farther into his blog I get.  Probably needless to say, his posts will come up in the future.  I didn’t realize how little I knew about the publishing industry until I hopped onto his blog – thanks to Amanda Hocking for mentioning his website!  Becoming part of the blogging community – as an outsider and now as an insider – has been an incredibly positive experience so far.

For reference, you can read his blog here.

Speaking of reading, I’ve been reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage for far too long.  It’s an amazing book with genuine, unique characters and a background I find myself absorbed in.  One of my favorite genres to write is dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction, so it’s always interesting to see how other authors write.  The story is LONG.  Unbeknownst to me, it has sequels, too. I will most certainly be reading them.  I’m sad that The Passage has taken me this long – I’ve been so involved in editing If I Let You Go (still considering this a working title) that I haven’t read much at all.  So many books and so little time.

Almost there… For now, back to editing.

Get Your Ass in Gear

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

For those who don’t know me (many of you, I imagine, have clicked here out of boredom after discovering my Twitter), I am a 24 year-old woman from the Northeast U.S. who has recently written a book.  It may not be a great book, but the lifelong dream is complete (sort of).  Formerly a YouTube vlogger who got tired of editing videos on a 6-7 year old MacBook Pro and arguing with Internet trolls about why I believe the platform has gone to Hell, I decided earlier this year that I would complete the book I’d previously started on.

Some brief history: I graduated from college in 2014.  That summer, I took some time off thinking, hey, applying for jobs will be a breeze!  Reality check: No.

March of the following year rolls around.  By this point in time, I’d been working my retail job for nearly nine years, working my every connection and pointing out my sparkly resume – well no, I never had a formal internship (the one I did do involved signed contracts and was technically illegal, but thank you for asking how much money I earned as if that’s relevant), but I did volunteer and do educational activities and my GPA is outstanding.  I graduated in 3.5 years to save money and freelanced along with my part-time job because… There is no nice way to say this, but not everyone is privileged enough to go about creating a career one way.  Sometimes working to earn a paycheck is a necessity, whereas fetching a bitchy manager coffee at an internship isn’t.

To be honest, the entire process plunged me into a sort of depression.  Everything I’d been taught about working hard, working well, aspiring to be whatever you want to be… I don’t want to say that that’s bullshit, but it’s not meant to be taken as simply as it sounds.  By the time spring came, I had applied to 500 jobs.  Out of desperation, I accepted a position 45 miles away from home as a marketing assistant.  The pay was better than retail, but still not enough to move.  I disliked the environment, paid $70 a week in gas, and knew I would never make a winter commute.  So, I bailed.

During the process of applying for jobs and accepting the reality that everything you’re taught before age 22 is pretty much glitter dusted shit biscuits, I began writing a book.  I made it about 30-40% of the way to finished by the time I quit.  And while I was really unemployed this time around, I didn’t write anything.  I just kept applying to jobs.  Seeking my real career path.

And now I’m in metal sales.  Funny how careers work out, isn’t it?

When I took the job I have now, I vowed to myself that I would finish my book.  Why?  Because being a writer is what I identify as.  I also have a deep love for animals, but that’s another blog for another day.  The point is:

Most people base their value on what their career is.  Most people think of fiction writing as a hobby, unless your name is Stephen King.  Although it would be wonderful to be able to earn a living from my writing, I have to accept that failure is a very real possibility.

If I’m not looking at it from a career perspective, though… I’ve written a book.  I’ve written a book that I think is so good, it deserves a movie.  Whether it’s really that good or not, I don’t know.  No author can be objective like that.

When I told my family, friends, and co-workers about this endeavor, the response was surprising: I received nothing but support.  I told a few people that they would receive advanced copies of the story to review by the end of the summer.  It took me a month just to get through one half of the story (big shocker: I went from working 40 hours a week to 50, and it’s taken a huge toll on my life outside of work) and at this rate, I’m going to be late sending these copies out.  My goal until then:

Complete the rest of this edit.  It’s a messy one.  Things need to be added, changed, taken out.

The hardest part about writing a story over a span of years is that things get inconsistent.  Readers notice when you say a couch is red on page 57 and black on page 70.

Thus far, the biggest challenge I face is sleep. I don’t have a private place to write, so I write at night when everyone else is resting.  8:00 PM and beyond?  That’s my time.  Get home from work at 6:00 PM, eat dinner, shower, prepare for the next day, bam: 8:00 PM.

By 9:00 PM, I’ve fallen asleep on top of my keyboard. I wish I was joking.

EDM music seems to be helping.  Last night it didn’t.

What are your tricks to staying focused and energized while writing?  I would love to hear your thoughts.