Friday, February 5, 2016

[Insert Title Here] AKA Blowing Off Some Steam

*** WARNING: What follows is a rant. This is just some raw emotion I'm letting out. I'm not usually this cynical, so please bear with me. ***

Oh, look at that...I didn't write any blog posts during January. Tsk tsk. Truth is, I'm getting burned out on writing these posts. It almost feels like an obligation I don't want to see through any longer. It's become a chore to think up something I think the world will be interested to read. I'm not sure if that makes me sound pretentious or what. For the record, I know "the world" isn't reading this little blog of mine. Hell, I'm delusional enough to even think readers out there are eagerly awaiting anything I've got to say. You know what? That's fine with me. Really. It is. Which is precisely why I find it hard to scrounge the motivation to yell into the void that is the internet. Why waste my effort?

Here's another truth: I do this for myself, mostly. For posterity's sake. I started out using this as a space to market my writing, to build a "platform" for when I became a professional novelist. Well, that was a few years ago and things definitely change. I mean, I can look back and see the optimism I had in the beginning. Of course, during the following years, my mindset changed. Reality set in. I no longer have those daydreams of becoming a full-time writer sitting at home working on my next book that hoards of adoring fans are clamoring for. Please! While I don't have those visions of grandeur any more, I do still spend time working on the next book. As a matter of fact, I received proofs today of my second anthology, Negative Spaces. More on that a little later (as well as a glimpse of the cover).

After learning the success rate of writers who go on to have lucrative careers as full-time novelists, I realized it ranked up there with becoming a rock star or winning the lottery. I know someone reading this might say, "Wait a minute; That's not true! I'm a writer who supports myself with just my writing. What've you got to say about that?" Here's what I say to that: How many books are you on the hook to write each year? How much are each of the advances you get? I'd be willing to wager money you've got to complete at least four novels a year, not including all the social media you've got to keep up with almost daily, such as blogging and tweeting to stay relevant to your fans. In other words, you're writing ALL THE DAMN TIME! What I envisioned when I started out writing was becoming the next King, Grisham, or [insert best-selling author here]. Writing one novel a year that would go on to sell thousands of copies that my publisher would market extensively. I learned that's not the case. Up-and-coming writers have to work their asses off to get those kinds of breaks. Also, since the digital revolution/self-publishing paradigm, things have changed even more. I know there're self-published authors out there who are making a living (some making fat cash, even) from their writing and I think that's awesome. However, there's still a lot of work involved in churning out content for voracious readers and blogging/tweeting/whatever-other-ways-to-stay-relevant that those authors must do. To be honest, I'm not good at marketing and networking. So, for me at least, I prefer to just keep writing at my own pace and publishing the stuff I like.

Since having the revelation that I'll never be some best-selling author and living the life I daydreamed about, I discovered the blogosphere of personal finances. I've stumbled upon people who've lived below their means, saved the excess, and (most of them) retired at an extremely early age. This opened my eyes to the fact that my daydream hadn't vanished like smoke in the wind. Sure, I'm 43 and squandered much of my income up to now. I was never very good with money, usually earning a dollar but spending two. That's the best way in the world to stay broke. However, I've since been getting my financial house in order. This has become my top priority. Writing, mask-making, blogging, etc has all taken a backseat to getting my finances in order so that I can increase my savings rate so I can invest as much money as possible.

Since I've become fascinated with financial independence and early retirement, my net worth has increased by $25,000. That's a rough figure. I've spent hours creating spreadsheets for a budget and to track monthly and annual net worth tracking so I can maximize my savings. Later, I plan to post more detailed accounts of my financial strategies and progress as well as any set backs. With that said, I think it's safe to say that this blog has stopped being strictly focused on my writing and thoughts on writing and the publishing industry. But, I guess I broke that rule back when I posted about making masks. Oh well, whatever. It is my blog after all. And I'm sure the four or five readers won't mind.

I feel like I've simply been rambling. I started out not knowing what to blog about and then just started saying whatever came to mind. Most of this has been me ranting aimlessly. I guess I just needed to get it out of my system. Mainly, what I felt when I started this post was uncertainly; I had no idea what I should say, yet felt compelled to say SOMETHING because I didn't want to neglect my responsibility to provide a post. In other words, I felt like not writing something would be letting myself down. After all, I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't be like so many others who start and soon fizzle out. I don't like to think of myself as a quitter, but I also don't want to waste my efforts doing something like this if there's no benefit to it. Then, I thought of a benefit I could be sure of: I could document my progress to financial independence so my future-self could look back on.

In a nutshell, I'm saying that if you come here to find out about my books, you'll still be able to do that. However, there are going to be more posts about finances, too. And, probably whatever else I'm excited about at the time. Also, I don't always feel encouraged to write posts at regular intervals. Of course, if you have been keeping up with this blog, then that probably comes as no surprise. If you keep coming back, then great! If this is your first time here and it's going to be your last, bye. Sorry I wasn't interesting enough for you. I'm getting older and trying to appease everyone isn't something I care about trying to do anymore.

Okay, I mentioned earlier that I am just about to release my second anthology and I would provide a glimpse of the cover. I keep my promises. So, this new collection has thirteen short stories and the book is called Negative Spaces. So far, I've got it formatted for paperback distribution only. I haven't published it yet, but I will do that soon. I have to create the digital version first so they release fairly close together. That means I also have to update my website so any visitors will know about it. The stories are either horror stories or weird tales, bordering on the bizarre. Before I show you the cover, though, let me also add that I'm running a giveaway on Goodreads to give ten lucky winners autographed copies of my mystery novel, Carniville. I'll do another post soon with more details on that along with a link to enter. Okay, enough of my aimless tirade. Here's the cover...

I hope you'll go buy a copy. Thanks for reading.

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