Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's All in the Reflexes

Well, my darlings. Here we are. My first epic fail since deciding to keep this blog seriously. Seems only right to use this post to detail for all of you another tale of can't-quite-measure-uptitude. And yet from the ashes of all my wasted efforts for the month of November, perhaps something tiny and small has been reborn. Perhaps this thing can be nurtured through the winter months and bloom with the coming of spring into a worthwhile enterprise. Perhaps I can, for once in my entire life, make money from writing. Or at least start edging my way towards a real career. Don't want to get my expectations too high, after all. Let's begin then, shall we?

I won't waste your time with too many mea culpa's because that gets tedious pretty fast and also I don't feel very sorry. Sure, I'm supposed to care about this, and on many levels I do. Inconsistency is the death knell of any author platform, that much I have had drilled into my brain since I first started research on how not to fail at being an author. So far, it's coming along swimmingly. I haven't failed at being an author yet, as I can't seem to figure out how to become one in the first place. More on that later. As for my unforgivable transgression of having missed a post for November, my reason is mostly that I forgot because I was too depressed over NaNoWriMo to sit down and admit to a bunch of people, some of whom I don't know, that I suck at NaNoWriMo. I've done it three goddamn years in a row now and I cannot succeed at it. What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it lasts all of November. The aim is finish a book, or at least 50,000 words of a book by the end of November. At least 50,000 words. I don't know if any of you have ever written 50,000 words of anything before but I can tell you something: it is hard. It doesn't seem like it at first. It's just a number, right? It's not like it's 50,000 pages, or something insane like that. I can handle that much in 30 days. As it turns out, no I can't. I so far have a habit of lasting two weeks and doing maybe 21,00 words give or take, before exhaustion and a lack of research grind me to a halt and I dither for a bit, tell myself I'll make up the lost time and double-post a few days in a row and then, and then....

And suddenly it's December and the bitter oily taste of failure starts creeping down my throat like a post-nasal drip of anticlimax. It's gross. The good news is that somewhere in all this disappointment I've started yet another story project, this one somehow less depressing than my other two projects even though its primary focus is catching a serial killer who burns people. Make of that what you will. The downside is crushing self-recrimination and the fact that most of what I wrote for the new project is unusable nonsense chatter between my main characters. Not my best showing all around. The big stymie for this story seems to be that I've gone far out of my comfort zone and set it in the real world. It's still fiction, obviously, but instead of inventing a new world as is my usual wont, I've put the action in Chicago. It requires a staggering amount of research into real police procedural and there's a lot I need to know before I feel secure enough to punch the throttle on this story and run with it. Research I did not do prior to NaNoWriMo kicking off. So I went as far as I could with it until I really couldn't put off certain parts of the mystery-solving any longer, and my inability to figure out whether Chicago PD stations have onsite forensic labs put the kibosh on the whole enterprise. For now.

In addition to NaNoWriMo, November saw a lot of general soul-searching and giving my life a good Clint Eastwood stare-down while chewing an imaginary cigarillo and growling threats under my breath. When that didn't manage to scare up any kind of meaningful answers, I did what I usually do: watch Cinema Sins on Youtube over and over until my eyes bleed. Then I started looking for a new job. This went about as well as expected. I've been wanting for a while now to finally break out into a grownup person job that has a salary instead of hourly wage, offers me reasonable pay raises and benefits and a retirement plan with stock options and not make me hate my life. The last is really the primary concern. I realize that my ultimate dream of being a self-sustaining writer living solely off what I rake in with my literary prowess is not going to spring into existence fully realized in the next 24 hours, and until then it would be in my best interest to have a source of income. I've written previously about the necessity of dreamers to get down off their Cloud 9 and join the real world long enough to not starve to death, so I'm obviously not about to recant that position because food is pretty cool. But I am getting very weary off all these crap jobs that somehow manage to be tedious, boring, and yet incredibly busy. You'd think if I was so busy I wouldn't have time to be bored. Apparently I have a capacity to get bored while running around with my head cut off because my section of the restaurant exploded full of people all at once and I'm too busy to do anything but hum Bolero at the top of my lungs to keep the panic attack at bay. I am still bored then.

Boredom is kryptonite for me. When I get bored I get angry. At everyone, everything; my life, my neighbors, people I consider my friends, people I don't even know. I turn into this tightly coiled ball of rage and resentment hellbent on destroying people that I perceive as being happier or more successful than me.



Like this, but with a bigger blast radius



Luckily, the other thing boredom does is depress me, so I'm usually too much of a sad sack to get around to much world devouring and everyone can sleep safely for another night.

In spite of all my dissatisfaction, I'm trying to catch my life on the rebound from this latest backboard-shot. I'm now attempting to break into the world of freelance writing. So far there's a bit of promise; I already have a couple journalism assignments lined up from a newspaper back in my hometown, and I have my eye on a travel site that's looking for more copywriters to research hotels and crap. I can totally do that. I'm great at research, and considering I just recently planned a fairly big trip for later next year I've already got some recent practical experience in making sure I'm not about to stay in an opium den masquerading as a 4-star hotel. That's just the worst. I still have several things working against me, my entire lack of experience in this field being a big one. Like any career in the universe, no one seems inclined to take a chance on you if you haven't already done the job, and yet how can you know how to do the job if no one will let you? So I've joined the thousand of shiny professional people on LinkedIn to try and get my name out there and dig up potential job opportunities. To date I have a small clutch of connections, which is cool. The fact that 98% of them are related to me doesn't mean anything so shut up.

I'll leave you all on this cautiously optimistic note and pray it ends better than the other cautiously optimistic notes I've started on this blog that all fell flat. It is my hope that I'll have another post up for you before January so I can pretend I didn't miss a month there towards the end. Perhaps with some good news to share about my fledgling new career move. Only time will tell. and I expect to ingest copious amounts of chocolate and holiday cheer (i.e. alcohol) until then. Thanks for sticking with me, and have yourselves a Happy Holiday season, everyone. I'll be back after Christmas!

And for those who like a little abject terror with their Winter Wonderlands, go check out the latest from Cinema Chicanery, Brighid's Pick: The Terminator. It's Ho-Ho-Horrifying.