In a few weeks, I'll be unemployed, and I will finally get the chance to go back to being self-employed. This is a big risk for me, of course, because there's always the possibility that I'll just not find enough work, and will have to go back working for a big company to pay the bills.
I do not want to go back to work for someone else. This means I'm going to have to do my best to scrape up work on my own, for various things.
What kind of "Living Outside The Box" guy would I be if I didn't though, right?
I'm offering my services as a freelancer in several areas:
- Book/general copy editing (Have edited/formatted my own book, and a few for others)
- Article writing (I write here, and several other blogs on a regular basis)
- Music lessons (I majored in theory, instrumental performance, etc. in college)
- Background music for Youtube videos and podcasts (Have several satisfied customers already)
- Computer tech work (20 years experience, and HP certified)
Plus I'm going to work on finishing more novels and music projects for my own income. I may even branch out into other areas as time permits. I'm flexible, and in about 3 weeks, I'll be able to start adding jobs to my schedule.
I've read several books recently about self-publishing books by writing them on your blog, one chapter at a time. (One of them was written this way!) Most of these work for non-fiction, however. I'm genuinely curious about writing a fiction novel (or series) by posting it chapter-by-chapter.
The problem is, everything I've read about this style of publishing is strictly about non-fiction. And as far as that goes, all the non-fiction stuff I write, you can pretty much read here. And I have to ask myself: could I write a non-fiction book based on what I know? And that begs the next question:
What exactly is it that I know?
The truth is a bit more complicated than me being an "expert" on anything specific. There's a few things I'm considered an expert at... playing the saxophone, cycling for fitness, using Linux, or being an idiot... I've got decades of experience in those fields.
But those things are practical, and with the exception of playing the sax, they're all things I taught myself for practical reasons. I don't necessarily want to teach people how to do something specific, as much as I want people to learn how to think in a manner that will let them accomplish and learn things. I want to teach them my mindset. I want to get people to learn how to direct their unguided yet limitless energy to accomplish great things.
I barely pulled this one out. Did I write 50,000 words in 30 days? Yes. Was it pretty? No.
As I've said before, NaNoWriMo isn't a challenge for me, as much as it is a learning opportunity. Don't get me wrong, it's hard. But I learned so much from it compared to the last few times I've tried and failed.
In fact, I learned more during this month's 50K challenge than I have in the last few years combined. I learned how to outline a plot, I learned how to focus better, and I learned that actually putting words on paper is only half the work.
I've had some successes, and some setbacks. This is not my first, or even my second (or third) attempt at winning NaNoWriMo. But I think I'm going to win it this time, and the funny thing is, it doesn't really matter if I do or don't. Maybe that's why.
I was able to outline my whole story plot, and let me tell you, it has made all the difference! It felt dumb at the time, but as I've plowed through the story, it's helped tremendously. I have no one to thank for that except Larry Correia and John Brown.
The down side to this is that I'm realizing my story is lacking in several areas as I go through it. Specifically, I haven't done enough world-building and fleshing out of the setting. It was vague, and for making an epic urban fantasy realm, vague doesn't cut it. It needs more detail, and so I'll have to dig deep and come up with something original.
I've also been watching and reading stories that are in the same genre as mine, to get a feel for what amount of detail is needed to really bring the world to life. Like, how do you write awesome fight scenes? What's involved in magic? What kind of weapons do they use, what kind of terrain is there, what are they fighting? I outlined some of that stuff, but not enough to make it really stand out.
Essentially, I didn't outline enough. Which is crazy, cause I spent like 2 weeks on just the outline!
Moving forward, I will try to throw in tidbits of detail to really bring the story to life, and hopefully the story will take on a life of its own.
I don't know how they do it.
You know the ones I'm talking about: the writers who, in their spare time, wrote novels that became international hits.
Writing novels isn't hard per se, as in it's not difficult to sit in front of a computer and type. But it's more difficult to produce a coherent, functioning story that can entertain people.
I want to make my story the best one possible, but I have to balance that with the reality of having a job and a family. I'm pretty sure I could crank out thousands of words a day if I didn't have a job that sucked up ten hours a day.
For those who aren't aware, November is National Novel Writing Month. What does that mean? It means that thousands of people will be trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I'll probably do it, too.
The Bad News: If you need to find motivation to write 50,000 words, then you're going to have a hard time. Chances are if your story isn't just bursting out of your fingertips, you're going to struggle. You're probably going to feel like your story isn't making progress, and you'll feel frustrated if things don't end up the way you imagined.
The Good News: You can still write 50,000 words. It will be a learning experience, and you'll grow from it. You'll find ways to get around writer's block, you'll figure out what works and what doesn't.
If this is your first time attempting NaNoWriMo, then focus on learning to write consistently. That is more important than doing it "right" or making the perfect first novel (a bit of advice: that almost never happens). If you go into it understanding these truths, then your experience will be exactly what it's meant to be: a learning experience.
Things have been steadily moving forward with my current novel project. I'm getting the outline to the point where it almost writes itself, which is exactly where it needs to be.
This is the time where I decide if I want to officially try to "win" at NaNoWriMo this year. I'm of course thinking about how all the horrible fanfic and chick-lit authors will swarm the NaNo boards and discussions, talking about stuff I'm not the least bit interested in. I don't have to participate, of course, but that takes some of the fun out of it.
I am noticing that more and more writers are foregoing the whole "story" idea and just writing mush. As I've written previously, I have issues with contrived stories that lack focus... I ought to know, I wrote one!