Abstract Discussion of Coffee and Freelancing

“So,” Mom began, “Did I tell you about our break-in?”

“Why no,” I said, thinking this was the sort of subject one ought to broach earlier. “No, Mother, you did not. Please, regale me with this tale.”

Suffice to say, there’s a whackjob with a housekey running around in Old SD, and our damned dog is too mellow to do anything about it. I’m hoping my brother can arrange for them to adopt a pit bull.

I do therefore dub July the Month of WTF. August can’t come soon enough.

The novel workthrough continues apace. I’m keeping to one chapter a night; there’s been one or two I zipped through, but I feel I need to pace myself. This must not be rushed. Rushing leads to sloppiness, and I will not have that. People may not like the story, but I am not giving them a reason to complain about the grammar and formatting. Or plotholes.

I am working on two very different stories. Sailor’s Luck focuses on the little people—two regular sailors—whereas The Trojan Age features a cast of Trojan-Briton nobility. One set of characters is ordinary and decidedly mortal; the others are possibly descended from demigods, and are anything but ordinary (at least in their own minds). I’m working on an actual discussion about that for the official site, as it’s more writing-related, but it’s interesting to switch between the two.

I was also forced to take a long look at what “Book One” of TA is, and what it isn’t. I wrote it as three novellas; as three novellas, they work. As a first book in a series…they’re disjointed, I can’t quite make them fit. The first novella, The Icenaean Truce, is the best of them, and that’s what I’m posting on my main site. I am writing a synopsis to guide me in revising the actual book one…which may turn out quite a bit different from the admittedly patchwork thing it is now.

There is also the greater issue of the series. I’m going to revise book one for now—knowing the overall arc I want the series to take—and then may end up drafting some kind of plan for the rest of it. No, I don’t know how many books, or how long of a timespan…or even if a project of this scope is something I should be looking at right now. But I feel that I have to try.

Freelancing requires balance. You have to learn to balance your projects, your hobbies, your time—especially your time. In my case, the paid work must still take priority. That doesn’t mean I can’t shuffle around when I work on it, but I must do the work every day. Next is the WIP, the book I hope to send out into the wide world come November. All other projects come after that.

This requires knowing when to say, “I have to put away these fun characters and do some real work.” The apartment, while a nifty tax write-off (thank you, home office), doesn’t pay for itself. And sometimes it requires staying in instead of going out. The problem is no one can tell you when you should pick which—you have to decide for yourself and be accepting of your own decision. You don’t have to like it, but you have to realize that you made the right choice for you.

If nothing else, freelancing has forced me to look at things from a practical viewpoint. Gig about to go dry? Time to find new work. Hate what you’re doing? Look elsewhere. Feeling overwhelmed? Take a step back and sit on the couch with a good book for awhile. A career is a series of steps. You don’t need to take great leaping bounds as long as you’re moving in some way.

Freelancing can be a lonely business. I find I’ve come to cherish solitude, rather than eschew it. I have never been much of a team player, as businesses call it; I tend to roam on my own. That’s not to say I can’t play on a team, but it’s not my first choice. Weirdly enough, I guess I fake it pretty well, because my last two long-term jobs praised my ability to function within a team (until the very end of the last gig, when I called out the fuckhead supervisor for what he was, but that’s something else). Maybe it’s bosses I resent, not teamwork. But give me a choice and I will work alone.

In many ways, freelancing boils down to trusting yourself, and knowing what’s best for you. This also applies in life, I find; sometimes you must step back from things and take stock of the situation…then refill your coffee mug and get back to it.*

*Or go get shitfaced. That sometimes has its benefits.

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