I definitely need to take the time to finish updating this blog. I actually had a client ask me about the book I was working on. I had to tell her that there is no book anymore, at least not at the moment. Doing odd-jobs is working out well for me, and so my writing career is on hold. At least for now.
I didn’t make this decision lightly. I really thought that telling stories for a living was going to be my calling, so I did my research to find out what it would take to be successful at it. I’ve always learned best by doing, so I got writing. I also tried out some of the tricks I’d learned about social media marketing and ran a pretty successful writer’s group on Facebook for a while.
In the process I figured out how to self-publish and learned a lot from fellow writers. I also got to see first hand how much work actually goes into writing a book, and how little readers appreciate it. Writing is a more than full time job. Especially as an indie writer. You need to keep writing, every day, and you need to promote yourself and build an audience.
What this really means is that you spend all day, everyday shut in your office (which in my case is an old card table I put my laptop on in the spare room of my parent’s house, aka my bedroom). It gets lonely and depressing, especially when you and every other writer you talk to can’t seem to actually make any headway.
There are some writers I’ve talked to that have cracked the code and manage to produce enough writing to make a more than healthy living. They do so by studying market trends to see what sells well, and writing to market. They are able to churn out a daily quota of writing because they follow a plan that conforms to their audience’s expectations.
Sadly, this isn’t the kind of writing I want to do. I want to write the stories I have in my head. It’s possible that I could get to eventually if I write what the people want for a while, but my heart just isn’t in it. I can’t do it. It just sucks all the joy out of writing. I thought maybe I could freelance to make money instead of compromising myself, and found that freelancing as ghost-writer and article writer is just as hard to break into as creative writing.
I then thought that perhaps I could try taking a part time job to bring in some cash that way, but found that finding a job in the small town of Kidwelly was almost impossible, and commuting to the next big town over was problematic. I don’t have a car as yet (because it requires money and a UK license) and so I have to use public transport. The last bus from Carmarthen to Kidwelly is at 6pm, and most employers want you to work past that time.
Out of desperation, frustration and impatience, I decided to offer my services as an Odd-Job guy locally. I knew there were plenty of people living here that could use an extra hand or two from time-to-time. I’ve missed the gardening, DIY and small home repairs I used to do when I had a house, and this seemed like it would give me an outlet for the skills I’ve learned, make me a bit of money, and help people out.
It turned out to be so much more than that! It gets me out of the house, gets me using my body instead of wasting its potential at a desk, it allowed me to meet people in the Kidwelly community and hear their own stories, it makes me feel good to do a good job for the clients and see my progress, and I even have other people interested in working with me. It’s a lot of fun.
That last part, about the work being fun, is the biggest surprise. I always thought I was too dorky, too wimpy, to be able to do a physical job (I also thought that conforming to a sexist sterotype was inherently sexist). Admittedly, it was a lot harder when I started. My body just wasn’t used to working up a sweat. Now though, I’m disappointed if I don’t get do do at least four to five hours a day of fighting brambles, sawing wood, or hefting something heavy from one place to another!
It’s so fulfilling I feed no need to write fiction. My real life is better. I’ve expressed this sentiment before, but it’s true. I still run my two rp groups, but they’re more of a social game than actual story writing, particularly since it’s just for fun, not profit. I might write some non-fiction later, and maybe some fiction too, but for now I’m happy to let the business grow, and help it along. I’ll go back to writing books when I don’t need the money.
I won’t be able to do physical work forever, it’s bound to take a toll on my body, but for now the aches and pains I have at the end of the day are tangible evidence of a job well done, and it feels good. I feel like I’ve achieved something instead of just waiting for something good to happen.
No more pushing myself to write something and worrying that it’s statistically unlikely to sell a single copy. This is a far more effective and sustainable business model. The next step is to get my bodycam working so I can make videos of what I’m doing that I can then post on YouTube. I’m also working on getting a UK driver’s license so that I can try to get a van. Luckily there’s a guy interested in joining our little Odd-Job Squad that has is an experienced truck driver and is thinking of getting a van too, so I might be able to do bigger jobs earlier than expected! 🙂
I’m really happy, and I never thought it would come from this.
Have a great day. 🙂