Friday, September 2, 2016

So, This Thing Happened...

Peace, Patient Perusers!

It's been nearly a year since I last felt compelled to write a post here but something very, very important happened this spring which virtually demands that I do an update. An update which, mercifully, has nothing to do with a dead celebrity or trying to save the country from political seppuku.

Six years ago ("Yikes!") I left a miserable, soul-deadening call center job. My goal: fulfill a life-long dream of being paid to write. In retrospect, it was a pretty daunting task, especially when you read some of those early posts. Cripes, I just wince at some of that stuff now.

Given the absence of any sort of guiding force in my life, I started up this very same therapeutic blog and then self-published my first novel. The former turned out to be a great way to "hone my craft", as pretentious jack-holes say, while the latter turned out to be a genuine labor of love as well as a surprising, if minor, source of revenue.

Intoxicated by the immediate feedback that comes part n' parcel with blogging, I added two new efforts: one which encapsulates my love for all things entertaining and one which celebrates my obsession for tabletop games. Each new venture got more attention than the last in terms of hit count and feedback but unfortunately it did precious little to improve my bank balance.

With my savings slowly bleeding out, I was forced to take on a part-time job. This actually turned out to be an unexpected boon since it dovetailed nicely with my interests, kept my days free to write and introduced me a whole platoon of awesome new people.

During this time the odd writing and / or editing gig came down the pike, but it typically involved helping out a friend or a family member. I don't count those as legit jobs since, IMHO, three criteria need to be fulfilled in order to really call yourself a writer. They are:
  1. An impartial party must either requisition you to write a story or agree to publish something you've written based solely on the quality of your work or your body of work in general.
  2. The resulting publication has to be readily available for people to read en masse.
  3. You needs to get paid, yo.
Over the last six years, I've deliberately refrained from calling myself a WRITER. When asked what I do I'd always tell people "I like to write" or "I've written a book" but I'd never be so bold as to call myself a WRITER since I hadn't met all three of conditions listed above. I could have, I suppose, but it would have been the equivalent of posting me reciting a six-second snippet from an Othello soliloquy on Vine and then calling myself a master thespian.

So what I'm trying to say, in the most roundabout way possible, is that this happened:

The funny thing is it didn't happen the way everyone told me it should happen. It didn't happen because I blanketed every periodical in the nation with random query letters and pitches. It happened because I was lucky enough to get an invite to a very cool Meetup event that had nothing to do with writing and during the Meetup someone asked me what I did and I said "I like to write" and then after the Meetup I wrote an informal recount of the Meetup and then one of the people that read it turned out to be an editor and then several months later he contacted me outta the blue and said "Hey, you can write! Do you wanna write this thing for money?" and I said "Hell's to the yeah!" and then I wrote it.

Notwithstanding the fact that my editor, Joey, would be well within his rights to fire my lame ass after reading that last run-on sentence, this all took place, in the immortal words of Emperor Palpatine, "according to my desires". Lend me a few moments of your time, Kind Reader, and I shall endeavor to elaborate.

When I started this crazy quest six years ago I had two choices:
  1. I could spend all of my time composing and sending out unsolicited queries, the equivalent of throwing darts at a dartboard blindfolded, and then drown under the resulting tsunami of a trillion rejection letters OR...
  2. I could I work my ass off to become a reasonably-competent writer and hope that eventually someone with authority and discriminating tastes would recognize that I have some semblance of talent and roll the dice.
I decided to pursue Option #2 and now I'd like to take this opportunity to invite all the naysayers to merrily SUCK IT.  In fact, seeing this story in print finally gives me the authority to hoist a great big middle finger up to certain people (you know who you are) who wanted to see me waste my time collecting a ream of rejection letters, get demoralized, "come to my senses", throw in the towel and then crawl back to the same shitty job that I left six years ago.

Now don't get me wrong; things still ain't a bed o' roses. Between the part-time job and the writing gigs, I'm still not making anywhere close to the bank that the crappy call center job provided. Also, if I had my druthers I'd much rather be writing about social issues, creative people and board games, but ,hey, I gotta go where the money is now. 

Even if I'm eventually forced to tap out and take a full-time job for purely mercenary reasons, these personal achievements will always be there. They can't be undone. Regardless of what happens to me over the next few years, no-one will be able to strip this triumph away for me.

And to all of my loyal readers out there: thanks for visiting this blog and thanks for your support, whether it was active, passive or just plain karmic. Without your precious hit counts and feedback to spur me on, I'm convinced that none of this would ever have happened.



Well, since that thing I mentioned above happened (and apparently happened reasonably well) this thing happened (see page 14) and then this thing (see page 6) and then this thing (check out page 18).

In fact, I'm pleased to report that at least five (!) other things are scheduled to happen over the next few months. Stay tuned, Tireless Reader! We're just gettin' warmed up!


No fail today. Today is all about the EPIC.