2015 doesn’t look like a date to me, it looks like a time.
20:15 (or 8:15 PM if you’re not familiar with the 24 hour clock) is about when I start putting the household to bed, setting up the coffee for the next morning, checking on the cat’s food and water, putting away the dishes from dinner, things like that. I like starting the day with a clean and organized home.
Yes, I know that sounds ridiculously early to most people, but I am an early morning person. I start work at my day job at 07:00, and I like to have time to write before I go to work.
Anyway, I just can’t seem to accept that it’s going to be the year 2015 here in about 18 hours. “New Years Day, 2015” feels wrong, like the title card for the opening of a science fiction movie, and I am sure that any minute David Carradine is going to kick in my door with a disintegrator pistol in his hand, pursued by mutants in pleather jumpsuits.
2015 is going to be my fourth year as a self-published author, and I expect to release my fourth novel this summer. I don’t anticipate making any money from this one, just as I didn’t make any money from the others.
I think I’ve finally come to terms with that. I had big dreams when I started writing about quitting my day job and living the life indulgent.
Not going to happen. It’s not about the quality of my work, it’s the economics of the situation. The majority of writers need a day job to pay the bills, just like the majority of actors, musicians, dancers, and painters.
So I am starting another new year with two jobs, one that pays the bills, one that I love. It’s taken some time to develop a rhythm that lets me get everything done without burning out too often. I work, I come home and make dinner, then I write until I go to bed. Then I get up and write before I go into my day job. That’s pretty much it. I met some friends for dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Christmas, before that I cannot recall the last socializing I did that wasn’t an author event.
In many ways it’s very freeing to not having to worry about paying the bills with my books. I don’t have any economic pressure to conform to my reader’s expectations. I write what I write, take it or leave it. I also don’t have pressure to produce a new book every three months–it takes me about a year to write a novel, if I tried to push it I am sure the quality would suffer.
The pressure that I do have is artistic. I am, I will freely admit, driven. I am not in competition with other authors, I am in competition with myself. I want to better than I am. I hope I never lose that.
My resolution for 2015 as a writer is not to produce a certain number of words or a certain number of stories, but simply to never be content.
Never be satisfied. Never settle for good enough. Never stop pushing myself. If I ever get to the point where I don’t think that my current project is stretching me as a writer, it’s time to quit.
I’m not in it for the money.