I’m an Independent Author – Does That Make Me a Masochist?

giphy2So, it’s Monday.  We should talk about having a career.  Because the first thing we all think about on Mondays is work.  Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re an ER Nurse, a police officer, a gas station attendant, a waiter, a CEO of a company–doesn’t matter about your work schedule, your pay grade…Mondays are just days that make us all think “work”–even if we’re not actively at ours.  For example, in my previous “real job”, I worked Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.  But Monday still held weight, even though I was off four days a week.  That was the only good part of that job.  Well, that and quite a few wonderful co-workers.

200Obviously, the job paid the bills and afforded me a little play money, but it wasn’t paying me what I was worth by a long shot.  And it certainly wasn’t a job I went into each day with the thought “this is what I want to do for the rest of my fucking life“.  In fact, if I thought “this is what I’ll be doing the rest of my fucking life”, I would get the sudden urge to cry like a little bitch and run away screaming.  I’d been at that company off-and-on for nearly 16 years.  Are you starting to understand why I am the way I am?  Hmmm?

Well, earlier this year–in February–I quit that job.  For good.  Like, for good.

IMG_3206Why?  One, did I mention it sucked?  Two, JoJo (the missus) convinced me to finally work at home on my writing career and blogging side-career.  We had serious talks about what that would mean to us as a couple, our finances, home life, etc., over a period of months before I said “Okay.  We can do this.”  Five months later–we’re not doing too bad.  We haven’t missed any bills, we aren’t having to skip meals (obviously), and we’ve added another family member to the mix.  That’s our dog, Jolene, for those just now wandering in from the cold.

Welcome to The Midnight Goose!

But, that’s not to say that everything is rainbows and puppy dogs in the Land of Make Believe where candy rains from the sky.  When people hear that I’m an independent author and blogger, a lot of them kind of get this “so…you don’t have a real job?” look in their eyes.  I get it.  I really do.  It’s not a 9 to 5 job where I punch in at a time clock, report to a supervisor, get reviews (at least not those kinds of reviews), or get a bi-weekly paycheck direct deposited into my bank account.  I understand why you roll your eyes when I tell you what I do for a living, sirs and madams.

Regardless, of how much I understand,  I hope the next time you’re at Starbucks, they not only misspell your basic ass name on your cup, but your debit card is also declined. Also, every time you try to quietly pass gas, I hope you shart.

tenor (1)So…here’s the thing.  Writing is a real job.  Blogging is a real job.  They require dedication, skill, time-management, focus, and creativity.  Books, stories, blog posts–they all bring joy to countless people.  They can inform, seminate ideas, create worlds, bring people together…and they require countless hours of research, note-taking, meetings, marketing, networking, pounding away at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night, as well as massive amounts of coffee.  And it’s all up to the author/blogger to do all for themselves.  You can’t delegate.  Your company consists of…you.  You’ll start to feel like Beyonce…if Beyonce was a busted ass nobody sitting in their jammies in front of a laptop staring dumbly at a blank Word document.

You don’t punch a time clock. Because you don’t have set hours or get paid overtime.

You don’t report to a supervisor–because you. have. to. manage. yourself.  Your readers are your bosses–they decide if you stay employed or get back on the bread line and find a new career.

And all the reviews you get are from people that hide behind the anonymity of the interwebs–so they can be a shit ton more scathing than something you’d get in a sit-down, face-to-face meeting with a guy/gal in a suit.

Some+people+make+it+rain+colbert+makes+it+hail+_d8a812f11fe77dde579ce57c5a2d252e
Make it hail!

And let’s talk about that bi-weekly check direct deposited into your account.  Starting out–the money is absolute shit.  Like, I hope you have an understanding spouse like me–that kind of “absolute shit”.  Like, I hope you consider chicken flavored Ramen a food group kind of “absolute shit”.  Okay, maybe not that bad, but maybe beans and cornbread bad.  I work more hours than I did at my “real job” for a percentage of the pay.  A small percentage.  Well…it’s improving daily, but there were some scary days there where I thought “What. The. Fuck. Have. I. Done?”

200_dHonestly, I work at least twice as many hours in a week as I did at my “real job”.  When JoJo (the missus) is at her “real job” 40 hours a week, I’m at home working, too.  On her days off, I spend time with her as much as I can and then I’m working into the late, late, late hours.  If she goes running any errands, I jump on my laptop and do work.  If she’s busy watching T.V., I sneak off to my laptop.  I’m constantly typing things into my phone for later use, making notes in my notebook, jumping on the interwebs on my phone while I’m riding in the car to look at sales reports, hits, clicks, ad revenue…there’s not a day where I don’t at least work for a few hours.  Managing social media, trying to be funny and engaging when I feel like I’m anything but that, reaching out to others for opportunities…it’s exhausting at times.

Also, not being the primary breadwinner, I decided that I should do more of the household chores, like the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, taking care of the dog…you get the idea.  That’s on top of the probably 60-80 hours a work I week on writing and blogging.  Not that the missus doesn’t chip in–but I try to make things easier on her so she can enjoy her days off since she’s helping me to achieve my professional goals.  That’s what married folks do for each other.

And I fucking love it.

It’s the best low-paying job a guy like me could have.  Ask anyone that blogs or writes for a living–especially those in the early months (and years) of uncertainty–and they’ll tell you the same.  It’s scary as Hell…but it’s so rewarding.  It takes patience and a level-head and creativity…and quite a few tears.  But it’s also amazing.

tumblr_nae90oKzUD1ql39cwo1_250Does this make me a masochist?  Maybe.  I mean…shit’s tough.  Some days you see huge bars on the sales, views, and pages read charts.  Other days…wah wah.  Then you get a little nervous.  Then another day passes with just a slight bit of activity.  Then the panic sets in.  And you start working harder than you ever have in your whole fucking life.  By the next day, you look like you haven’t bathed in a week, your hair is sticking up every which way–you might have a slight odor–and your charts are spiking again.  Then that goes on for a week or two…then it drops off.  Rinse and repeat.  That’s the name of the game.

Now, I’m not writing this post to get sympathy.  But, if you see me out and about and offer to buy me a coffee, I won’t turn you down.  Maybe you’ll get to meet Coot-Coot.  It’s anyone’s guess really.

I write this post to, one, let people know that what I (and countless others do) is a real job.  It requires real work and dedication and commitment.  Two, it’s to give a reality check to people thinking that anyone can do it.  Don’t quit your day job and think you’ll post your thoughts on a blog daily and money will just suddenly appear in your account.  You will hustle harder than an ugly stripper.  Probably for a very long time.

magicBut once you start hitting your stride–and you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel…well, it’s just magical.  Until you inevitably have a few slow days.  Aye.

Until next time…

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4 comments

  1. I actually started my blog a couple of months after I found out my “real” job is going away. I did it hoping to build an audience so that someday I might publish books and actually get to write for a living. I don’t know if that’s going to happen by the time my job goes away, especially with the debt we’ve managed to accrue lately. It would help if I could quit having surgery every two years! I commend you for following your dreams. I wish I had done this ten years ago. I don’t know if it’s attainable, but I’m going to keep trying!

      • In high school, I thought I was going to be the next Jackie Collins, writing trashy romance novels. I was terrible at it, though it kept my fellow teens highly entertained. 🙂

        Now I just write the same type of thing you see in my blog. Essay type stories that sort of meld together into a general theme. When I’m no longer employed at my current job, I’ll be writing a book about that place. I feel certain I could fill a War and Peace sized tome with that crap! LOL

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