I had to go back to see when I’d hit my 200th post. It took a while, because it’s been two years. Two years for a hundred posts. Not an awe inspiring rate. When you consider that almost half of those posts were written in the past three months, it’s downright embarrassing. Not because I wasn’t blogging, but that it was a reflection of how writing has gone for me over the past two years.
In December of 2009 I started my job at the Cultural Trust. New jobs are a huge disruption. I lose half of a year, at best, to the pressure of fitting into a new home. Starting at the Trust was far, far worse. Because of how much I still had to learn about development, the better part of a year slipped into the void. My job was my life.
I was talking with my friend Danielle on Monday, and she asked me a question. Do I consider myself a writer or a programmer? There were a few ways I could have answered, all technically true.
I’m one now but am trying to transition into the other.
I’m barely a journeyman at both, so who knows?
My answer to her was, I think, more honest than those. I told her it’s tough to say, because I get paid to do one, but not the other. But I do one without pay, and I don’t know if I’d keep doing the other without it.
I’ve done alright at being a writer. I have done a miserable job of finding a way to get paid for it. This isn’t just a problem for my ego. A paycheck would mean it’s a job, too. It would mean I didn’t have to squeeze out another thousand words after a day spent slamming my head into a website. Even a small amount of money could be the difference between needing to spend five days programming or four.
So this is where I say enough.
No, not enough writing. Enough wanting. Enough hoping. I need a plan.
The plan starts today.
I’m going to keep it manageable. I’m only worried about the next year. Since I know something just north of squat about getting paid for this, I could end up next year with little to show. The plan might need to change midway, anyway, so a year is as far out as I want to think. So, what’s the plan?
Wait, I actually need to come up with one? Um. Hold on a second.
First, I have a finished novel. The most important possible thing is for this novel to get into print. The best case scenario is for publication, even with the tiniest possible press in the world. As much as I would love fame, fortune and the adoration of women for Broken Magic, what I really need are publication credits. I need a resume. I need a book in the wild. I’ll self-publish if that’s what it takes, but I’m not quite there, yet. So here’s step one: If no one has agreed to publish Broken Magic by March, 2012, I’ll publish it myself.
Second, I need another novel. It’s been years since I wrote Broken Magic and it’s embarrassing. More importantly, if I’ve gotten a publication credit on my resume, then I need something that said credit helps me publish. So, step 2: Write the first draft of Mimesis by June 2012. Finish the second draft by November, 2012. The upside to this is I’ll have a finished novel before the world ends in December.
Third, I’ve been running from film long enough. I’ve been working on a webseries idea with Rachel and it’s weird and interesting and it’s something I can film. I don’t have a lot of hope for anything I film making me money or leading directly to fame and glory, but it’d something with my name people could see. So step 3: Film a short webseries in the summer of 2012. Release it before the end of the year.
Simple, right? 2012 isn’t already making me feel weak and nauseated or anything. No. Not me.
This plan has implications. I’m still going to be working a full time, mind shredding programming job. I’m going to have crises I can’t foresee and vacations and mental breakdowns and any number of other problems. I’m going to hate what I’m writing, have writer’s block, get inspired by something not on the plan. It’s going to be really, really hard. That means I have no idea what my free time is going to look like next year. I’ll do what I can not to vanish. If nothing else, you’ll see me online.
We’ll call this the draft version of the plan. If you have thoughts, suggestions, ideas, hopes or complaints, let me know. But next year, I’m making progress. I’m moving forward.
Or at least, I’m giving it my best possible effort.
Vow made on my 300th post. See you at 400.