I am truly blessed.
I get to work from home.
Lots of people, myself included, talk about how they wish they could work from home, how wonderful it would be, how much more stuff they would get done, how much more time they would have, blah-blah blahbbity-blah-blah-blah. And to some extent, it is true. Here’s a list:
- More Time: save an hour a day in commute time
- Eat Better: using that ^ hour to make breakfast
- More Accomplished: sneaking laundry or chores into my breaks
- No Shoes: I fucking hate shoes. Don’t have to wear them.
- No Socks: Double-ditto that!
- Comfy Clothes: I can work in my PJs, if I so choose.
- Always Home: No missed deliveries!
- Peace & Quiet: No constant hum of other people distracting me
And that all sounds pretty awesome, right? It totally is. I am about to ‘go to work’ right now and all I have done to prepare is roll out of bed, brush and corral my crazy hair into a ponytail, scrub my teeth, and come to the pseudo-office-space to log-in. Note that – get dressed – is no where on that list. Tee-hee.
Unfortunately, one of my biggest goals in working from home, was sketching out more time to write and I have not really managed that at all. I seem to have even less time for writing. Plus, not all is as rosy as you might think when you’re alone (mostly) all day, trying to work at home.
- More Time: Somehow translates to even less time for writing.
- No Commute: Going to the store means leaving home, rather than a stop on the way.
- Comfy Clothes: PJs almost every day makes you feel like a schlub.
- Eat Better: No vending machine for a 2:30 pick-me-up.
- Always Home: What’s the weather like? I have no windows!
- Alone: No one to talk to (except chatting) or ask questions.
So, its not a perfect situation. But I do prefer it and I really do feel blessed that my incredible bosses have allowed (nay – asked!) that I work from home. I’m just saying – its not as ideal as I always envisioned.
I get up at 5:30 a.m., perform my morning ablutions, try to blog OR work on editing, attempt to catch up on my Facebook, ignore Twitter entirely, and then – work starts. My job is not one with much down-time, alas. The phone is always ringing, the inbox is always hopping, and before I know it – its quitting time. Then the evening comes, and after all day in this chair, the last thing I want to do is spend more time here, but I must. First, we’ll make dinner, then take a walk, then hang out with Jack, and then write- Oh crap! Its bedtime. Well, I’ll get to it in the morning. And repeat. Ad nauseum.
I’m just putting this out there as a cautionary tale.
Working from home does not mean you will magically have time to write.
You’re still going to have to eke it out wherever you can. You’re still going to have to put in the time and effort. You’re still going to have to DO something about it, if you want to be a writer.
How? Well, here’s another spiffy list!
- Steal twenty minutes before work (like I am now) and blog or sprint or flash fiction – just to keep your writing muscles supple.
- Schedule time and STICK to the schedule.
- Make daily goals and keep journal/spreadsheet to track them.
- Accept that some days you may not make your goals…
- …but NEVER stop trying!
Life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Well sometimes, life hands you lemonade and it turns out you fucking HATE lemonade. What then? Reduce that junk down in a pot with some butter and cream and whiskey and pour it over your asparagus.
The point is – well, a) I watch too much Chopped, and b) even things you think you want may not be what you really need or like. But you’re a writer, right? A creative-type. So turn it on its ear and make it work for you. If you are serious about it, you have to REALLY work at it.
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate really working at anything? That’ll be another blog post.
For now, just… keep writing. Keep reading. And try that lemon-butter-whiskey cream sauce. It sounds ridiculously good right now…
Love & Rainbows,
First off – I apologize for the lack of posts last week. Starting around Wednesday evening, my whole world sort of imploded.
I won’t go into the details – this isn’t that sort of blog – but I can safely say that things are going to remain a little disorganized around here for a bit. I do not have a Tuesday’s Tunes for you this week (yeah, I know, BIG bummer, right?) and although the Sunday Snippet went up without a struggle, I don’t think there’s a prescheduled one for this upcoming week yet – so there may not be one then, either.
But – fingers crossed – I’m hoping that I will get back to my book and my blog (and my life!) by next week.
In the meantime – check out the wonderful blogs on my ‘blogroll’ (down and to the right) or re-read the Sunday Snippets and check back next Monday for all new posts and rants and information and snippets and YAY!
Love & Rainbows,
P.S. Sending ‘Get Well Soon’ wishes to Jack couldn’t hurt. ;D
Today’s excerpt comes from a series of short stories I wrote some time ago as a ‘character sketch’. Jazira, an orphaned half-elf assassin, was ‘adopted’ as child labor by a caravan-driver, trained in combat by the mercenaries the merchant paid to guard him, and eventually fulfilled her genetic destiny by becoming a talented assassin (just like her father and his line). Then, emerging from the Underdark to ply her trade in a frontier town, she met a barrister/sorceress called Sissy. Her life was never the same.
Here, after a tumultuous few years that saw them fighting for their lives against unknowable evil, confronting their inner demons and terrible pasts to become better people, and bearing a pair of children through magical means, is the final chapter I wrote from her POV.
(Postscript: Yes, I know its almost painfully choppy, but first person is not my forté and this is a rough, unedited first draft.)
– – – – – – – – – – –
I do not often return to Waldontown anymore, and never alone. We have everything we need in the house Sissy created; it is an insulated little world. It is never dull, with the antics of two growing children, but sometimes I wonder if it is enough. She would worry that I did not love her anymore, if she knew my doubts, so I keep them to myself. Still, as I walk through the heavy wooden gates, I think perhaps we should talk. The children are nearly four and old enough to be left alone with Betty. Xas, I tell myself, nodding to a familiar Rider, I will speak with her. We are not too old for adventure yet…
The day is clear and bright, though snow falls sporadically, and I am surprised to see such bustle on the streets. The town has been so quiet in recent years but now, it teems with merchants and children and adventurers and, as one would expect, even more Riders. I wander aimlessly, drifting in and out of the shops. I feel alive, with this humming throng of humanity around me.
I weave in and out of the small crowd of people who are trying to enter Sutter’s wagon and heave a sigh, straightening my tunic. A man approaches me and I offer him greeting. He introduces himself as Gamaliel and he seems friendly enough. Several moments later he is joined by a scarred elven man whom he calls Ruinathil.
The conversation flows quickly, the talk of dueling techniques and Gamaliel’s training. Ruinathil is his instructor and moves with the purposeful grace of an experienced fighter. I am challenged to a friendly duel and my blood sings; there is an excitement that I cannot place. I have not used my blade in a true test of skill for years and I smile at the men, leading them North and out of town for Usst would have my head for dinner if I broke the laws of Waldontown and drew weapon within its walls.
I caress the hilt of my blade, which even now hangs at my waist, tenderly as it were her delicate flesh. My steps are lighter than they have been in ages and as we prepare for battle I feel my heart racing in my chest. Playful banter spills from my lips and I maintain a cool exterior but inwardly, I am trembling. Will my sword arm be quick after so many years of disuse? Can I still move as agilely as I once did? Will Usst strike me dead if I return with so much as a scratch?
The teacher threatens to disown his pupil if he loses the duel, but there is a wink to his eyes which, despite his ferocious appearance, twinkle with humor. I will begin the fight, and I lift my blade, twisting to the side and striking Gamaliel with more force than intended. The battle will end quickly, I know it immediately. With a grunt, I send him sprawling on his back in the snowy grass.
He has skill, of this there is no doubt, but I have bested him and my confidence soars. Before his pupil has even caught his breath, the master has drawn his weapon and asked politely if he may have a chance at me. With a smile that I am certain must have appeared somewhat devious, I accept.
The master has scored me, and I catch myself lamenting the scratch for a moment before I lunge at him again. In moments, he too is on his back and yields to my blade. It has been too long, I tell myself, sheathing my rapier, it has been far too long.
Some hours of conversation and a tankard of ale later, I leave the Drunken Goose troubled and head for home. He, the man called Gamaliel, has expressed my feelings without knowing it. I do love my family more than I love life, and would give mine for them. Still, I know that I long for the old days.
Heaving a sigh, I rub my sore shoulder. The wound has closed but it still painful and I shake my head, wondering what Sissy will say when she finds that I have been fighting. A slow smile spreads across my lips. No matter the fight that ensues, it will be followed by passionate making up and when her desire leaves scratches upon my flesh – those marks I will not rue.
– – – – – – – – – – –
And that’s it for today’s snippet. What did you think? Should I bother working on my first person voice? I’ve never done much using that POV, but it certainly has its uses. I miss Sissy & Jazira, the sorceress and the assassin. Once upon a time, I intended to write a novel about them with Jack. It isn’t even on the ‘back burner’ anymore. At least… For now. Comments, questions, suggestions appreciated – let me hear about it below!
Love & Rainbows,
A friend-slash-fellow writer, Raymond Frazee recently noted that ‘smutporn’ was a popular search term to reach his blog. This is not (not by a long shot!) the strangest combination of words that have directed people to his blog, but it did get me thinking.
Keywords and search terms, all the back-end bits of blogging, are really important for driving up traffic and building a following. I get that. And there are tons of plug-ins and whatnot to help me optimize those options. I get that, as well. But I am not sure (exactly) the sort of things I should be promoting.
Its easy enough for people with well-established ‘brands’, or with really well-defined genres/intended audiences/et cetera. Or at least, I imagine it is easier. Smutporn, while awesome, is not necessarily what I would expect people to associate with PP.net or any of my novels. And while Incandescence is fantasy, it is a large deviation from my more typical fantasy. It may turn out to be a Young Adult novel, but most of my work (especially that in combination with Jack) is absolutely intended for mature audiences. So do I focus on more – YA centric audiences (for now) and change as my future works become available? What if Incandescence turns out to be non-YA? Then have I misdirected a whole slew of readers? Am I guilty of false advertising? AAH! The pressure!
Can you tell that I am not great with decisions?
Maybe, for the moment, it does not matter overmuch. My first ‘to be released’ novel is still being heavily edited/re-written and though I have a bunch on the horizon (and many in the drawer, begging to be revitalized and released in the future), until I am closer to a publication date, I think I will just continue to row my little boat and test the waters of the interwebs. Wow – that’s a mixed metaphor/cliché/whatever.
Now – since I have no smut or porn to offer just now – I hope that keyword isn’t the one that brought you to PP.net. If so – let me direct you back to Raymond’s page. Or maybe Jack’s. Either of those boys have more than enough twisted imagination to enthrall you.
I’ll stick to magic-flinging siblings, war, and violence.
Love & Rainbows,
I will not pretend to be any sort of expert on branding. I have been writing for years, but it is only in the past year or so that I have really started watching the self-pub and e-book world. It is a boom-town of first-timers, indie artists and veteran authors, incredibly gifted storytellers and those with much to learn. It is a brave new world where those with the fortitude and determination enough to see it through, can find success in the writing world without corporate sponsorship.
It is, quite frankly, an exciting time to be a creative writer. There is opportunity everywhere!
This is not to say that it is an easy path. Gosh, no. In fact, in some ways, it seems like it is more work, more difficult, than being a ‘published’ author twenty years ago. If you’re looking to succeed now, not only are you responsible for writing your piece, and often editing it (or finding editors to do it for you), marketing it, acquiring a suitable cover, publicizing it, and so on and so forth.
Thus, in addition to trying to meet my daily/weekly/monthly/project-based writing goals, I am also struggling to build a brand. No – in all honesty, at this point, I am just trying to figure out how to build a brand. How to make www.penelopeprice.net more visible, how to set-up and begin using Twitter, to run a Facebook page, how to get my novels (once completed!) onto Amazon and/or Smashwords, how to attract good reviews and lots of sales.
Thankfully, I am not alone in this endeavor. Not only do I have the illustrious, brilliant, magnificent Jack Morgan, but I have found several communities of wonderful folks on Facebook and around the web who are supportive, knowledgeable, helpful and basically – amazing.
Still, its a daunting thing to consider. Especially when trying to balance a day job, family life, a social life, and all manner of other responsibilities. I am exhausted just thinking about all I have to do.
So on that note, I sign off and return to editing “Incandescence”, my current WIP.
Love & Rainbows,