Well, threes of fans, it looks like maybe–just maybe–we’ve sort of stumbled into spring here in North Idaho, and I gotta tell ya–it’s about damn time.
This is not to say that we’ve hit capri and sandal weather yet, but it does seem that we are starting to basically stay above freezing. The last round of snow we got was just a flurry that didn’t stick. We’ve hit the time of year where the weather is a little volatile and unpredictable, and as much as I’d like to see some sun, I’ll take the weird hail/rain/wind/snow/rain/sun thing over blizzards.
There are more tentative signs of spring, too. Some of the bulbs are finally starting to peek through the dirt, our grass is waking up, and a few of the trees have buds.
We may be stumbling into it, but we’ll reach spring eventually.
Maybe it’s okay that the weather is stumbling toward something warmer, because honestly, that’s kind of where I am at the moment…
On the Road Again…
We just returned from a little over a week on the east coast. My oldest son is stationed in Virginia, so we went to Washington, DC, and then drove down to visit my son and his family for a few days. I’d never been to DC, so that was great fun for me. We didn’t have a lot of time, but we did walk around the city A LOT and saw a bunch of the standard tourist attractions. A lot of the museums now require that people reserve entry times or get tickets ahead of time, and we didn’t know that, so we’ll plan ahead better next time and see a few more things. I’ve started a list…
This trip inaugurated (appropriately) a particularly busy season for us. My parents are in the process of moving, so we’re heading to Oregon to help them for a couple of days. Then we’ll be taking the camper to Montana to celebrate our oldest daughter’s college graduation, and we may have to help her move later this summer as she is taking a job at a pediatric hospital in a new city.
These are the things we have planned so far. I’m also hoping for at least a long weekend with the bestie at some point during the summer, and there may be other weekend trips here or there with other friends. In addition, my youngest daughter is looking at moving out sometime this year, so we may be helping her with that. And The Man and I would really like to take a few adventures in our camper, too.
All this to say… There’s a lot of travel coming up, which makes writing tough.
And that’s not the only thing that makes writing tough…
The Eternal Struggle
It’s not a secret that I’ve felt torn between fiction writing and commercial writing for a long time. I love the commercial writing, but I would definitely prefer to make a living from writing fiction.
But because I live in the real world, I need to acknowledge that making a living writing fiction is very rare, even for those who devote a ton of time and energy to writing, publishing, and promoting.
So recently, I did a little rebranding on the commercial side and hired Website Goddess Robyn to redesign my website. It looks pretty good, I think. I want to focus more on writing about the future of work and the intersection of leadership, technology, and wellness, and I’m also going to start offering more strategic and marketing support services.
So now that I’m back from vacation, I’ll grit my teeth and start diving back into marketing.
I do intend to be intentional about one other very important thing: the fiction.
The Place for Fiction
Although I’ve been a little frustrated with the lack of commercial work right now, there is one good thing about rebuilding things: I can control better how much and what kind of work I take on going forward.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve fallen into the habit of putting fiction last on my calendar. I prioritize the client work or the admin work or the blog/social media work, and then by the time I’m done with all of that, I discover that I have no more time and energy to actually write or work on my fiction. It’s easy to justify this particular approach, because the client work pays better than fiction and the other stuff is necessary to keep everything running and keep my name somewhat out there.
However, this approach does not result in any new stories.
So… Going forward, I’m going to start my day with writing or editing fiction.
The thing about client and admin work is that I can kind of rely on my work ethic to get all of that stuff done. I absolutely will push myself to finish client work when I’m tired, whereas I will happily abandon my own work if I don’t feel like working on it.
And I confess: I have not been working on any of it much lately. I’ve been struggling to get my head back into it. I’m not sure why, to be honest, unless it’s just the standard demons and struggles or just being tired and distracted or… I don’t know.
But I also know that if I just friggin’ sit down and do it, the words will start to flow. This quote from Louis L’Amour is so true:
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
What It All Means
I don’t know what that means as far as a schedule for new releases. I am still dragging my feet on finishing the second Ian Mac Roy story, so I’m going to start with that one. It is my hope that I can start publishing it as a serial in May. I don’t want to publish the serial until the whole thing is done, and I will release it as an e-book at the same time I start the serial.
After that… Well, I will be getting back to Soultainted. I still really want to finish a readable draft this year, and I think I can do it if I genuinely commit to the habit of doing a little bit every day. It’s just that the commitment is the hard part…
I guess it all goes back to the habits. I’ll start working on the fiction habit with the second Ian Mac Roy story, and with a little effort, maybe I’ll build enough discipline to keep going with Soultainted by the time I’m done with that one. I’d also like to finish a third Ian story this year, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves…
What it does mean is that I’m finally going to flip my schedule and put fiction first. As much as I want to be realistic about income and all that, the truth is that if I don’t prioritize fiction at all, I will never make a living from it. I may as well start giving myself the best shot at achieving the big goal, right?
This was a very rambly post, but I guess that’s what happens when my brain and body have not yet fully reintegrated after vacation. I hope at least some of it made sense. I’ll be back next week with… I don’t even know. I think it’s one day at a time for right now…