workload

It’s an irony that the only thing I want to do is getting somewhat squashed by the thing I have to do.

I set my writing targets intentionally low, because I know, until I’m actually supporting myself full-time with the whole storytelling thing, I have a job to do. Family to support, all that stuff.

If you see me not hitting my target each day, know that there’s actually a bigger target, an overall target, that I’m exceeding.

For example, this year, if you were to count up the number of words I set as target each day, it’s not quite eleven thousand words. That sounds like a lot, but come on? Over a month and a half?

It’s nothing.

In reality, I’ve actually written closer to thirty-five thousand words, which while still kind of low, is more respectable over that period. Some established authors only do five hundred words a day; I’m averaging somewhere between seven and eight hundred.

Of course, some of those five hundred a day-ers are agonizing over each sentence, spending an hour on a paragraph, an afternoon on a page, and they’re coming out brilliant.

Me? I’ll fix it in post. A first draft is nothing more than an overwrought outline, as far as I’m concerned; an extended method of finding out how the characters want the story to go, and where your plot holes make themselves known (although some sneakier plot holes will slither their way into your second, third or even sixth drafts, crafty buggers).

Some plot holes you’ll never see.

I certainly didn’t.

Target: 400 words
Written: 215 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Sex Rx, Lauren Streicher
Comics: Hunter Killer 4-7
Music: The Joshua Tree, U2 (yeah, Bono might be a self-important shit, but this is still one hell of a fucking album - next to Kick and Out Of Time, one of my earliest exposures to truly great alternatives to the garbage on the radio).

end of training

And I’m on my own.

Spreading my wings. Still learning, taking tentative steps, shaky in the knees, and all that.

But luckily, I have a headache and exhaustion to go with it.

Target: 300 words
Written: 146 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Sex Rx, Lauren Streicher
Comics: Sex Criminals 21-24
Music: Jimmy James - Single EP, Beastie Boys

spent

It’s 7:34AM and I feel like I’m already spent.

Granted, my day starts typically at 4:50AM, so I’ve been up almost three hours.

I’ve written a bit, did some yoga and some meditation, thought about the state of world, wondered why the hell so many of these insane right wingers continue to get away with shit that is clearly illegal and no one appears to be even considering charges, wondered if I’m capable of writing humanity changing works, but it won’t matter because climate change and divisive, authoritarian politics will kill us all before it can make an impact, wondered if aliens would find these pages years later and not be able to understand a damn word, showered, maybe thought about sex a little (because I do so roughly every three minutes) and then peed, ate breakfast, made coffee, fed the dogs, let the dogs, gave the dogs their joint medication, fed the cats, unloaded/loaded the dishwasher, played Wordle and Worldle, a game of Go on a 9×9 board with a 8 stone handicap (because I need it, apparently), then sat down and went over my to-do list, what’s left of it.

And I’ve a whole workday ahead of me.

Shit.

Target: 300 words
Written: 227 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Sex Rx, Lauren Streicher
Comics: Sex Criminals 17-20
Music: Jimmy Buffett Essentials, Jimmy Buffett (fuck you, Jimmy rocks)

in training

Back into it. I guess I must be doing okay at work, since they’re offering me extra work most people don’t get (or want, perhaps).

It’s not the greatest job, but as I learn more about who does what in the government and our division, I’m beginning to see that there may be other options.

I mean, as long as this writing thing isn’t paying the bills, which it’s not.

I’ve made exactly zero dollars thus far.

Of course, I don’t expect to make anything off poetry and short stories. Maybe comics. Maybe the hip little ditties if I compile them into a larger volume.

A book of short stories or poetry might work, but I’m a long way from that, and let’s face it – it’s not going to land me on the moon.

That’s the novel prerogative, and even then, it’s dicey. You gotta be good to be great and great to make any cash, which is bullshit.

We massively undervalue art in this world, always have. The absolute cream can make a living; the rest of us are scraping by.

And I don’t believe in the starving artist. I do believe that too much wealth corrupts.

But making a living?

That shouldn’t be something we have to fight for.

Target: 300 words
Written: 176 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: Face It, Debbie Harry
Comics: Sex Criminals 5-8
Music: Jeremy - EP, Pearl Jam (have we deciphered the actual words to Yellow Ledbetter yet?)

sideways

Sometimes, days just get away from you. Technical difficulties, focus problems, the urge to take a nap in the middle of the day for no apparent reason.

Such is life, but it is frustrating. The sooner I’m a full-time, self-sustaining writer and don’t have to work the extra eight hours a day, the better.

This work thing is really cutting into my shit.

Target: 300 words
Written: 1237 words, novella: The Mungk

Read: One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, Robert Maurer
Comics: Fight Club 3 2-5
Music: The Jam At The BBC, The Jam (duh)

christmas parties after the fact

Last night, it was time for my yearly dose of post traumatic stress. My wife and daughter still work at the place that nearly put me under, and so, once a year, we trudge out to their Christmas party, always held after Christmas, because the owners are cheap.

Every year, it is the same; there’s a sense of tension, a fear of being pulled back in, a desire to get the fuck away. It’s so synchronous with the short story I’m working on (based on a Tragically Hip song call Get Back Again), about being unable to get past the past, and unable to let things go, that I couldn’t help but laugh (and consider weeping).

I can’t wait until they are retired or have new jobs, so I never have to think about that fucking place again.

I never want to get back anywhere near it.

Target: 200 words
Written: 300 words, short story: Get Back Again

Read: The Power Of Less, Leo Babauta
Comics: The Legend Of Luther Strode 3-6
Music: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Wilco