Why do you have a tattoo of a lemon on your left butt cheek?

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This is an excellent question, and based on completely false information. I don’t have a tattoo of a lemon on my left butt-cheek, but I wanted to see how many people clicked through from such an absurd title. I’m a total stats nerd and so if more than one person took the bait, I’ll be analyzing every bit of information Twitter, Facebook, and WordPress can give me about who took it. Once I’ve done that, I won’t put that information to any other use.

The truth is that I haven’t posted a blog in about a month and it’s time. It’s not that I haven’t written one, because I’ve written several. All of them are whiny, stupid rants about not finding an agent or feeling sub-standard. And it’s true, that’s what’s going on and how I feel about it. But, having a pity-party for myself is a stupid asinine waste of time, even though I do it routinely –I just can’t help myself. In fact, today was one of those days where my ego fought itself relentlessly because my everlasting low opinion of myself may, in some instances, be a tad unfair. I didn’t receive another agent rejection, and that felt good, but I didn’t receive a partial or full MS request either. I didn’t really accomplish great things at work, but I did my best to get folks what they need and may have even made one person happy with the work I have done. I was contacted by someone with Google (the result of my playing of their foo.bar recruiting game over the winter -for those unfamiliar with Google, this alone was something of a feat), and I also got word that business cards for another effort have arrived – Maybe more on that later, still need to get things squared up with work before I can actually being working on the new thing.

All that being said, I’m still feeling down because the one thing I desperately want to succeed at doesn’t show the slightest shred of evidence that it’ll pan out for me. Perhaps that’s what really hard. I’m the sort of guy that will do shit once provoked. It’s vaguely like when you hit a hornets nest and those little bastards will chase you down and lay siege to your house until you starve to death. They just don’t quit. So, when I hit something where I no longer have the control to achieve success, it’s a painful blow.

Before jumping to conclusions about how it is I waste my time, I have not given up. I haven’t given up on the querying, even though it’s feeling like a Sisyphean task, and I haven’t given up on writing. It’s true, I’m not nearly as in love with my current projects as I was with Wine Bottles and Broomsticks, nor am I as committed to finishing any of them. In some ways, I’m still looking for the right story to work on. Book 2 of Wine bottles is where my heart is, but I don’t want to spend six months hammering out another book that is DoA. I’ve got three other book projects in the works, but only two have much of a plot-arc mapped out and the one of them has a YA feel, which I’m not 100% comfortable with just yet. Plus there are some short fiction projects, one of which I’m committed to finishing, but it’s more literary and I’m not equipped to tell the story that I want to tell.

And that’s my writing progress report. It’s not awesome or productive, nor does it cover anything at all relevant to tattoos of lemons on butt-cheeks, but it’s where I am. Maybe one of these days I’ll have something better to report.

YES, I’m still alive.

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Alright, so I haven’t been blogging much. I’ve been uber-busy. As expected, starting a new job has thrown my entire schedule off. Not only that, school started last week, I’m trying to build a duck coop, and I accepted a challenge from a former colleague of mine to run every day to help raise awareness and research money for Usher Syndrome (learn more here). With all that, and trying to keep everyone fed and organized, the precious little writing time I get has been poured into Wine Bottles and Broomsticks, rather than a well thought out rant on various problems I’m hitting with writing. Not that I’ve made a whole lot of progress there either.

Sure, I could rant about how to deal with criticism again, that’s a good go-to or perhaps geek out on constructed language development, which would be fun, instead, I thought I’d just post to say I’m still here, and I will continue writing about writing, at some point. In the mean time, I’ll be off trying to keep up with my 1-mile or more a day running schedule, and one final chapter a month writing schedule.

Time for a major life decision

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Today I got the phone call. It was precisely the call I’ve been hoping to get for the past couple of weeks. A job offer. My spirits sank a little when we started talking money, it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but generally what I expected. Before the end of the day, we got to a place that I consider fair and reasonable. To be clear, in terms of overall compensation, it’s a pay-cut, no doubt about it, but the size and nature of that cut has been agonized for some weeks now and I’ve concluded that other aspects of the job and other long-term strategies make up for it – I’m not going to go into details. Realistically, it’s the sort of thing we can cope with. Not only that, after having met the individuals I’d be working with and hearing more about the project, I got pretty excited about the job. Not only does it sound like a tremendous opportunity, but it’s going to be a new and interesting challenge that I want to do. It’s the sort of thing I want to get neck deep into and try to do something brilliant. Right now, as I write this blog, the offer is sitting in my e-mail inbox awaiting a signature. All I need to do is print, sign, send it back, and make arrangements with my current employer.

The problem?

Possibly the best way to describe the problem is the question: Am I being selfish? The truth is that I want to do this job, I want a change, for so many reasons, and I look forward to not having to worry about the future of my job on an annual basis, and even the tiny ill-lit cubicle that I will undoubtedly be locked into for 8 hours a day, but is it fair to my family?

At the moment, I work 3 days/week at home, which means I’m there for the kids when they get out of school and they can be at home most of the summer. I worry about making it back to town before the after-school care closes down, and about homework. What will dinner look like if I’m not home at 4:30 to cook it up? There will be much less leave time available, so I won’t be able to take two weeks in the winter and two weeks in the summer and still have time to take off a day here and there to take care of home stuff.

Everyone I’ve spoken to so far has advocated for me to follow-through and take the job -Even my wife. This is advice I’d like to just take without the heartburn. I want desperately to be excited about this change, yet here I am stressing out about it. My current situation is so incredibly comfortable as far as home-life is concerned that I worry I’m making the right decision, even with the risk of layoffs or massive pay-cuts, loss of pension, and so-on in the next year or two. My current job is NOT a bad one, I’m treated extremely fairly and compensated well. The long-term prospects have little to do with those I work with now, and more to do with the decline of oil prices.

To bring this around to writing, as this is the point of the blog anyhow, will this effect my writing? Yes, a bit. I like to have off a few days here and there to write without harassment, and that will happen a lot less, but the more I focus on getting to the publishing of my first novel, the more I realize this is a hobby and always will be. It’s something I should enjoy, and if I do, I’ll work it in.

Anyhow. I don’t know if I’ve got much more to say about this just now. I have until about lunchtime tomorrow to make a final decision, perhaps someone will talk me out of it, or I’ll be convinced I’m making the right decision for myself and my family. I dunno. Either way, the next blog post will be an impassioned rant on word processors (or to be more precise – a pointless rant about how little it seems to matter what you choose.) I will also probably blog my decision at some point – this is a big deal for me.