Out of Gas
At the beginning of the year, I wrote a blog called “Starting the year on the back foot.” Where I acknowledged that I had been slipping on getting work published. I have been writing more than ever, as the Star Wars review series I did was supposed to be around 4500-9000 words and ended up being 25000 words. But I wasn’t getting things published on time. The point of the post was to give myself a kick up the bum and get back to regular content work.
A month later I’m still in the same boat, or to really mix the metaphors, I’m still falling down the same rabbit hole. Thursday’s story last week is currently 3000 words and growing, and I haven’t recorded a podcast in ages. I’m writing more and producing less.
In 2015 I finished my degree and started to do some freelance writing work while I was looking for a job. For the next two years, my sole income was from freelance writing, that’s not to give the impression that I was earning a living; I was scraping by week to week and only then because I was making deals with my creditors to “give me just one more month” which I did every month. Mostly I was treading water, until I lost my biggest contract and things began to spiral out of control. I took riskier clients which about 1/3 of the time refused to pay all or part of what they had agreed.
By late 2017 I was $8000 in debt and things were starting to get pretty ragged when I picked up a crappy night job. With regular income and no fear of not being paid for work I had done, I made deals to pay back what I owed and spent a whole year paying them off, including interest, getting back to square by the end of 2018.
Now with positive cash flow, I revived my website and reformed it to focus on fiction writing, which is where I’ve always wanted to be but now had the cash to finance the hosting fees etc without needing to justify the expense. 2019 was also the first time I had to move in 16 years, and I took the opportunity to spring clean and refresh my belongings.
Where I had planned to put aside money to build toward the future, I spent a lot on moving costs, bond for the new place, and a bunch of new items which I could enjoy like a dragon’s hoard. The biggest purchase by far actually was a new good quality bed, and while it could be argued that I could have made do with my old one, proper rest is not only vital for creativity but pretty important for life.
It’s been seven months since we moved and I have not lived the last few months with the same determination I had in the previous 18 months. I’ve spent a lot of money on crap food, booze, and last week bought even more furniture for the house.
I set a goal in November last year, now a full three months ago, that by November 2020 I would be working fewer hours at crappy night job and be earning a portion of my income from writing. In furtherance of that goal, I have released two short-story-length ebooks, with plans to release many more this year.
But three months in, I am not a step closer to my goal. The ebooks have not sold (because I’m still waiting on Amazon to publish them, they are available on Kobo and ibooks, but I have been waiting on Amazon before I started pushing the books publically) and I’ve even gone backwards in making sure I get my regular content out.
From now on, the blog will be less about my random thoughts from the week and more about whether I’m moving forward or back. I’m going to track word count, release rate, expenditure and income.
If I want to achieve my goal of writing full time, I need to be making positive steps at least more often than backwards ones.