When it’s this low for the month, I just make a single contribution to IAVA. I made $80 on A Little Too Broken in February, assuming as I must that the lousy .0041 per page rate we got in January won’t improve… All the same! $4,820 over 2+ years in print to veterans’ organizations, and counting!
I’ve managed to snag a nice amount of editorial work for March, which has taken a lot of pressure off me financially. If I can keep that up, I don’t have to write at a desperate pace to constantly “publish or perish.” I feel like I could have a lavish three months to write On My Honor… and then maybe even leave it with the copy editor in early June when I go on…vacation!!! Imagine only having to publish three novels a year; what a luxurious lifestyle that would be!
It’s funny – when I first incarnated as Brad, I wrote fast and furious to make enough money to escape Cubicle City. And then I wrote fast and furious to stay out of it, as if there were no options other than Writing a Giant Bestseller or Returning to the Valley of Doom. Until finally, I was able to get this editorial business up and running. Which is exactly what I needed – a part time job that I enjoy, that I can do well, that employs my brain the entire time I’m doing it, that I can do on my own schedule, for which I’m paid for labor and not time or chair-warming/clock-watching capacity. (The scene in Would I Lie to You? where Walt buzzes around at 4:55 to see who’s still in their cubicles, “workin’ hard”? Drawn from real life. As if presence=productivity…)
Everything is balance, though – there are downsides to working two jobs that are both “at home” jobs. Especially for me, in winter. The end of the drought here in the Sierras, at least for this year, meant shit weather which further inclined me to stay home, and I ended up depressed (in winter! surprise!), self-isolated, and way out of sorts. So now my goal is “expanding my meatspace presence,” let’s say – going to the gym to take classes, or even pay a trainer again. I wasn’t taking uni classes or paying a trainer because $$$ and I was on the razor’s edge, but…in the long term, I lose more productivity and $$$ earnings potential by being down and low and alone and drinkin’ away my sorrows (especially when you’re a wine snob and it’s Chateau Larrivet or bust).
Right now, the editing job is a real gift to my own productivity: it takes the knife’s edge off my financial throat and will let me…oh shit…could it be… enjoy writing again. I’m even able to freestyle ideas I can’t possibly do now, without that voice saying don’t even think about that you can’t afford to do that think of the lost income.
My goal, my need right now, is to breathe. To not clench down every second until I snap. And that’s not even an external pressure – it’s me, doing it to myself. I’m wrapping my head around the idea that putting less pressure on myself could result in more productivity. That clenching down and stressing isn’t moving me forward, isn’t getting results, isn’t helping.
I love Mark Rylance’s character in Bridge of Spies. Several times, Tom Hanks’ character is so agitated, he tells his client “this is bad, you could get the death penalty, you don’t even look worried, why aren’t you worried?” And Rylance just looks at him, and pauses, and says…
“Would it help?”
So a big thank you to my editing clients, and to the readers of Strength in Numbers, who’ve allowed me to get to this place, where I can look at the future and finally let myself breathe.