Thursday, February 18, 2010

Professionally Unemployed: The Life and Times of a Journeyman Writer

Aaaaaaaaaaand done! So I finished up my latest assignment for Fantasy Flight Games this week, and it feels good. I like the feeling of accomplishment after a fun assignment, and seriously, any assignment that allows me to use words like "primogeniture" and "alacrity" in all seriousness without spending the next page and a half defining them is my kind of fun. Anyway, off they went my little bundles of horror and strife, and here I am on a Thursday morning, with the day stretching out ahead of me and without the usual promise of gaming to cushion the blow at the end of it. It's always like this after an assignment. I get this empty, wandering feeling. It's also an anxious, panicky feeling when after the self-regard of a job well done wears off I hear that voice in the back of my head, "Well, hell. What now?" What now indeed?

Working for contract, like many of us do, is essentially being professionally unemployed. While it often times allows us broad freedom to pick and choose our assignments and employers, the downside, of course, is that when there's no work there's no money. So, what's a guy to do when he's got a mortgage and bills and babby on the way and he's trying to make it as a writer? He hustles his ass off, that's what he does.

See, I've got a plan. It's a pretty good plan, way better than whatever dumb plan the Cylons had. My plan involves making the most of my time, writing all day, every day, aggressive self marketing, working with sites like Elance and Demand Studios and, get this, writing a novel. Oh yes, gentle readers, I'm going to take a crack at a genre fiction novel! I've already started preliminary research on it, and I've been reading some good books on writing, and I feel like I can do it. Hell, for the past few years everyone from my wife to my dad to my shrink have asked over and over again, "Why don't you do your own thing?" so I thought, why the hell not?

So, that's my plan. Be proactive, get exposure, work my ass off and write the Great American Genre-Fiction Novel. Or, in other words: Make art, have fun, get paid. As far as plans go, it's not a bad one. I've seen worse, see above under Cylons, plan. As usual, I'll keep you abreast of the situation.

P.S.: If any of you have any recommendations on books about writing and publishing, I'm all ears. Please send your recommendations to my email there over in my profile.


Anonymous said...

Can't speak for good writer's tips beyond what you'd find at any bookstore (one hint I hear is learn how to write a good query letter and have the patience of Job), but is a great resource for markets...searchable database by genre, theme, length, etc.


Anonymous said...

Ray Bradbury - Zen and the Art of Writing

Travis said...

On Writing by Stephan King
How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy Orson Scott Card

Jason Marker said...

Travis, On Writing is already on my shelf. A great book.

Grntxtonblk said...

Start Here.

You may find other good links from there.