Thursday, November 13, 2014
I figure the paranoia part’s a legitimate concern. The other day I was checking my email when the screen flickered and all my emails after early August disappeared. I didn’t know if my finger had hit something or if Yahoo was having a moment. Turns out it was Yahoo; email was back to normal the following day. But just imagine if you’re working on a novel and suddenly your hard drive hiccups. Kiss your book, and your ass, good-bye. A fellow writer’s cloud storage went wonky, and she lost 40,000 words of an edited manuscript. I’ll take paper and its space-wasting permanence any day. Death to trees!
As for the formatting, that’s a whole other kettle of piranha. This book will have to be self-published because I don’t own the concept. The world is a joint creation of our blog. I was going to practice by formatting and uploading a porn story (call it “erotica” if you want; we all know what it is), but that’s sitting on the back burner while I scribble a full-length novel onto sheets of lined notebook paper. The book itself should be going faster, but some days—all right, most days—I find it hard to get going. This is usually when the housework gets done.
It would help if I made a schedule and stuck to it. That’s how it goes in the working world. You show up at a certain time and leave at a certain time. In between you do assigned tasks. At the end of the week you get paid for your time and efforts, at least until your job gets shipped overseas or the company closes when the economy tanks. Sorry. When it comes to jobs, I have more baggage than a Samsonite store. I hope this writing gig pans out. I love working from home.
The problem is, working from home comes with a whole set of distractions that don’t exist in the workplace. TV’s just for starters. There’s also grocery shopping, trips to the library and the comic book store, aimless Sunday (or any day) drives, and the last resorts of housework and yard work. You know that guy or gal in your workplace, the one who always looks busy but never really does anything? That’s what working at home is like for me. I’d write at the library, but that has the Internet. Talk about a timesuck. The library is where I go when I don’t want to work. I’m at the library a lot.
Obviously these bad habits aren’t going to put any moolah in my pocket. Remember my plan to get a million dollars? You have to take action. You have to do stuff. Specifically, you have to do productive stuff, actions that will pay off either immediately or down the road. Watching daytime TV is not one of those actions, unless some show sparks inspiration for a book. It’s easier to justify doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. Just don’t make a habit of it.
Right now I have a simple schedule. I get up some time between 6 and 7, steep myself a cup of caffeinated tea, sit in bed and write. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, I’ll go into the other room and type on the ancient system. That’s as close to “going to work” as I get at home. Around 9 AM I break for breakfast. Then it’s back to work, on the couch if TNT is running good Supernatural reruns. You can get a whole chapter done during those long commercial breaks. They’re good for something after all.
When I had the home typing job, the one that got sent to India, I used to work from around 3 in the afternoon until around 8 or 9, depending on how many pages I had to type into the system. Now that winter’s coming on and it’s getting too dark and cold to leave the house after 5, I should go back to that schedule. I can break for food during Jeopardy. If I write in the morning, then write or type during my old work hours, I could probably write a book in a month. But then I run the risk of actually accomplishing something. Can’t have that, now can we?
Long-term goal: write like mad over the winter and pile up a mess of drafts, then do the typing and editing over the summer when the weather is designed to tempt a person outside. By this time next year I should have a dozen books out. Works for me.