2014 has been a real rollercoaster ride for me. In some ways it’s been extremely difficult and I’ve had to fight my way through some serious obstacles. While in other ways I feel as if I have been leaping from one lily pad to the next with things just getting better with every landing.
I suppose that makes me some kind of messed up sentient frog.
When the year started I had exactly one professional goal. I needed to be making enough money writing and publishing to be able to quit my day job (at night) and become a fulltime indie author and publisher. I knew going in I would have to kay the bedrock for what came next therefore the first thing I did was secure fulltime editorial services. This lead me to contracting with the amazing Jennifer Tovar and her company Gypsy Heart Editing (www.gypsyheartediting.com). With that chore safely in the hands of a person infinitely more qualified to handle it than myself I turned to my primary task.
I started writing like the fucking wind.
Ideas have never been the problem, I forget three ideas for every one idea I commit to notes and for every ten I commit to notes maybe one gets written. That’s not bragging because most writers have the exact same problem, too many ideas and nowhere near enough time. The number of times I’ve heard the Indie Writer Lament of “There’s never enough time to write!” is staggering, what I needed to stop performing my own version of the lament was Critical Mass.
British Dictionary definitions for Critical Mass
1. The minimum mass of fissionable material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction
2. The minimum amount of money or number of people required to start or sustain an operation, business, process, etc: the critical mass for a subscription digital sports channel
What do I mean by Critical Mass as related to writing?
More than anything else I needed word of mouth that converted to increased sales. With that in mind I began promoting and putting my work out there more than ever before. I bought my first online ads. I started taking my books to convention making my debut at Gen Con 2014 in Indianapolis Indiana. But the one thing I did above all other was I owned the reality that I am a writer.
What does that mean?
I quit saying I was a part time writer. I quit telling people I was still an amateur. I quit denigrating most of my own work. I stopped the incessant bitching about what happened to me in the early years of my career. I let go of a lot of the resentment I’d been harboring for a lot of years. I made the final decision that the ONLY thing I wanted to do with my life after being a husband and father was be a writer. Furthermore I knew even if I stopped actively writing and started a regular job that paid enough to have a prosperous life I would still be miserable, in short I’d rather be a poor writer than flush with cash doing something I could barely tolerate at best. Still there were two other factors that needed to happen before I moved my fat ass in the right direction.
In March my working world changed.
Not going to go into details because I’ve written several essays about this but I will give a brief synopsis. As succinctly as I can put it everything the was fun and enjoyable about my job went away when my supervisor quit and moved home to the foreign nation of New York. When that happened my quiet corner of the working world became a cauldron of petty stupidness and piss poor management. Let me say this clearly… THE PEOPLE RUNNING BETHANY VILLAGE COULDN’T ORGANIZE AN ORGY IN A WHORE HOUSE!
That felt good… like having my back scratched while peeing good.
Once I’d decided my days were numbered at the day job (at night) I needed an incident to kick me in the butt. I just wish it hadn’t been something so heart breaking for me and my entire family.
In April my mother-in-law died after a long illness.
I won’t go into details. The pain is still too much for me to talk about and I have zero desire to start weeping like a three year old with a skinned knee on a relatively nice day. When she passed we’d theoretically had enough time to prepare but nobody is ever ready to lose someone they love.
Mom was my biggest fan. She read and supported everything I did and she was one of the first people who ever bought my work. She was one of the people pushing me to continue after I thought my career had died before it even began back in 20008. Mom dying would have crushed the old me but all it did, besides making me really sad, was inspire me to continue. Mom once told me she wanted to see me on the top of a best seller list. She never saw that but she did get to see me rank in the top 100 horror writers on Amazon and that’s not a small thing.
I knew then and there my time at the old folk’s home was numbered.
I’ve talked about the last six months and how the work situation has devolved. I’ve spoken at length about the day I fought with my boss and with human resources when they tried to strong arm me. And I’ve let it be known that I turned in a letter or resignation stating January 6, 2015 would be my last day of employment.
It didn’t quite work out that way.
I went in to work on December 23rd on the four to midnight shift with every intention of being back in at seven in the morning on Christmas Eve. As the night went on I more and more irritated with the way I’d been treated all year, yes I know that sounds and is pretentious and whiny but it was how I felt, so when my future daughter in law showed up half an hour early to pick me up I left without asking for permission. I quit and I felt like a giant weight was lifted from my shoulders.
It was glorious.
So here we are. I’m a fulltime writer/publisher and work from home dad. Maybe I’m just imagining it but things in the house seem to have become lighter and happier. Yeah money will be tighter but sales were already significantly rising and my production rate seems to be accelerating since I don’t have to split my time between two jobs.
What comes next?
More books from yours truly. More books published by GWS Press by other writers. Also there will be more audiobooks and convention appearances. I don’t know how it will all pan out in the end but I can’t wait to take the trip!