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Finding New Footing, Again

It's a mental and physical gear-shift to go from working full time and doing creative work when I can squeeze it in to being unemployed. I've done it several times now, in the last couple of years, and it does not get easier with practice. No matter that I always have creative work I've planned to work on, it takes a while to get into a mindset where the worry about when I'll have a regular paycheck again doesn't sap away my creative energies.

This time, things have been complicated by good things and bad: worrying and feeling depressed about having to demolish the old garage and cheering while putting aside as much time as I could to help (from hundreds of miles away) with getting the Torn World anthology put together. There have also been briefer distractions too, like getting 1/2 hour's notice to go to my kid's senior art show and see some of her photographs in the show ("Oh, I just put that one in because I had to have 18 photos I didn't hate...") and driving around to get her the papers she needs for financial aid applications.

Finally, in the last week or so, I started to feel like I'd hit my stride again. In the last few days, I finished a Torn World story I'd been working on, on and off, for several weeks, wrote the first draft of a story to create background I need for a different Torn World storyline, corresponded with other people about setting a timeline for some stories where our plots intersect, and finished off documentation for more than a dozen characters for Torn World (the mechanics of sharing a world are time consuming, but useful when I want to reuse a character, whether that character started as mine or someone else's).

I also was getting geared up for other creative work--starting to really look at magazine and anthology deadlines, tossing some story ideas in the back of my head for stuff that won't fit into Torn World, and thinking about participating regularly in #fridayflash and Wednesday #weblit, remembering #scifichat every Friday, and planning, once I'd caught up with a few Torn World things, to take a week or two to ignore everything but Fireborn or Clockwork Dragon. Oh, and I want to e-publish an anthology of some of the stories I've published in this journal, along with at least one longer story that has gotten lots of nice rejections, and I was considering whether I could, given enough time, do cover art that I wouldn't hate in a year.

I also was starting to plan some of the more time-intensive things I could be doing to promote the Torn World anthology (Gosh, the pages I've seen so far are pretty!) once I have some copies in my hands.


Early this evening I got a phone call from lawyers I liked when I interviewed with them last week about a job that suits me very well, and I start Friday morning.

I'm delighted.

And somewhat off-balance, because I was just getting settled into what I expected to be a very focused and productive creative groove.

It's time, again, to shift mental gears. I'll have a new job to learn--every company has it's own idiosyncracies, things that make life so much easier once you've learned them (from their computers' file management programs to how they like their papers filed) and a new routine to adjust to. I don't even know if this place has food nearby that I can eat or if I'll have to carry my food with me every day.

But there's always new details to balance, and there will always be more fiction and art, I'm not giving that up. And I believe, though I certainly won't get rich at this job, that things will be financially more stable. Even though there will be less time available, hopefully that will let the creative energy flow easier.

Stay tuned. It's been great to have you all along for the journey so far, and even if I can't predict how things will happen, there's more to come.

In the meantime, anyone want to help me raze a garage? Or chat about making cover art for that personal anthology I want to get published? You know how to reach me.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 27th, 2011 10:05 am (UTC)
I am so pleased for you that you've got a job! I know we would all love to support you so you could create and didn't have to work, but we understand.

So, what kind of thoughts do you have on the cover art? a scene from one of the stories? Something more 'generic' like the milky way or a campfire scene???
Apr. 27th, 2011 05:47 pm (UTC)
I definitely want a scene from one of the stories. In talking with book sellers about the Torn World anthology, they were very clear that buyers see a book with "real art", i.e. a painting, as more professional and attractive than a book with photoshopped art, and never mind that manipulating photos can take just as long and just as much talent and skill as a painting.

They said it makes a big difference in sales, so I figure I should pay attention.

Besides, I know how hard it is to make money painting--it's as hard as making money writing, for much the same reasons. I'll have to be very careful with my money for a while yet to pay someone for cover art, even if the fee is modest, but I may be able to swing it.
Apr. 27th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC)
May I suggest a split scene? Diagonal line separating two smaller images: one of a priestess or a traveler watching a wraith approach over the mountaintops, another of a scientist or watchmaker adjusting a time crystal device in a shop with a city view (and perhaps a license or two posted on the wall). Those are the impressions I have of the stories thus far.
Apr. 27th, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a cool idea for a Torn World cover.

This cover would be for some of my non-TW stuff: flash fiction I've put into this journal, along with at least one longer story.
Apr. 27th, 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
Ah, okay. Nothing comes to mind right away, but I'll think on it if you're okay with that.
Apr. 28th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Apr. 28th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
Do you know which stories you'd want to include, or what you'd want to title the collection? I could see a collection of artifacts from some of the stories being interesting. The painted pebbles that showed up in a short series of stories, for example, could be charming and unusual.
Apr. 28th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
I'm definitely thinking of Deep Dreams, The Grandpa Prank, and a longer story called Hauntings. I have to consider what best to put with them.

If you look at my new webpage, or search on the landing tag, you can find a list of the flash fiction I've published here. I know you're busy, but if you or anyone else has opinions as to other stories that would fit well into that anthology, or for a title other than Hauntings for the anthology as a whole, I'm happy to hear them.

The painted pebbles are from my stories of twin fey brothers; I am more imagining those with intensive illustrations as children's books, but certainly they wouldn't fit the same theme as the ghost stories.
Apr. 27th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the job!
Apr. 27th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Apr. 27th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)
I also find having my schedule re-arranged incredibly disconcerting, even when it's clearly a good thing. I hope the new job works out well & puts you in a comfortable place to create.
Apr. 27th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
It's funny--I find it easy to hit the ground running for the office work. You go in, see what needs doing, prioritize, and do, whether it's entertaining or not.

I'm not sure why the creative stuff is harder to get in the right mental mode for. Maybe it's the zen gestalt thing that I'm usually doing when writing, where I have a sense that the words on the paper are only a part of a greater whole, even when, consciously, I don't know what happens next.
Apr. 28th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
Office work usually has well-defined goals and a reasonably straightforward notion of correct or at least functional results. Creative work has to satisfy your aesthetic sense -- and it's hard to listen to your aesthetic sense when you're distracted by practical concerns.
Apr. 28th, 2011 10:54 pm (UTC)
That makes sense.

And you're right about the straightforward definition of good results.

I suppose you could say that fiction has a straightforward definition of good results--Draw in readers from the very beginning, keep them fascinated through the whole story, and leave them satisfied with the end.

But it's also not straightforward, since there's so many, many ways to succeed and fail in those goals, and one of the failures is to tell the same story the same way over and over with the names changed.

In office work, the same task done the same way over and over is often ideal!
Apr. 27th, 2011 11:54 pm (UTC)
Yay job! Boo creative stride-disruption!
Apr. 28th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Yup! Thanks!
Apr. 29th, 2011 12:54 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the job. I understand about the creative time suck. ::hugs::
Apr. 29th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! {{hugs}}
May. 1st, 2011 03:54 am (UTC)
Many congrats on the job. I hope it's as great a fit as you think it will be.
May. 1st, 2011 07:00 am (UTC)
Thank you! Me too!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )


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