And the verdict is…

… still out.

Meaning, at the time of this writing, I haven’t heard anything back from either job interview. I did my duty and sent the interviewers thank you emails. I just have to wait now and see what, if anything, happens now. (Remember, I got a couple of interviews in August too. Nada from either.)

For those unaware, I had two job interviews scheduled. Getting a job would be good overall – God KNOWS how good overall – but the companies are offering different things. The first company, with which I interviewed on Wednesday, is offering a full-time, permanent job. That’s what I want. It’s also beyond my capabilities at this point. Getting one, I mean, not what they’re offering. It sounded interesting, pays within a range which I need, and is closer to home than I’ve been in a while. Not a lot, but some.

The second was a job until the end of the year with a possible extension for a few months. It pays all right. It’s a contract so no benefits or sick days or vacation or nothin’. I’m also disposable. And it means getting up at 4:30 a.m. to get to work by 8 a.m., including an hour and a half train ride. The train ride the day I interviewed was pretty interesting, too. For one thing, the train was almost 20 minutes late. I got into my interview about 15 minutes late, but only because the recruiter picked me up in a cab at the train station. That will NOT be happening every day. And for the first day, I won’t have the luxury of the shuttle. I’ll have to walk. I did that from the interview and I’d like to say, I’m in a lot of trouble if I have to do that every day. A LOT of trouble.

I won’t go into that now. But the cost of the train and stuff makes me want that one even less. Problem is, I think they want ME and I’ll need to decide soon. I don’t want to have to choose, but I’ll have to.

Wish me luck, say a prayer, whatever you like to do. And thanks for listening.

Have a GREAT weekend, you guys.

-JDT-

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Wednesday: Wanderings

Have you ever started out in one direction or doing one thing and ended up somewhere doing something you never intended? You know, you meant to go to a favorite restaurant or something and ended up someplace else for some reason? Or maybe you started a project with one outcome in mind but something else emerged unexpectedly along the way.

When I built furniture, I did a lot of planning in my head. I wrote down dimension and measurements, to be sure, but the vision of the piece I was building and the construction methods to assemble it often came on the fly. Sometimes it turned out just like I saw it in my head, and other times it didn’t. Sometimes those on-the-fly changes worked in my favor, and sometimes they made a lot of firewood. And I didn’t have a fireplace.

When I write, I’ve found it beneficial not to do this. I have a scene or an exchange in my head. Sometimes it’s an idea for a novel, but more often than not, that grows out of a single vision, a single snippet of thought or vision in my mind which blossoms into more. That’s not enough to write an entire novel around, and sometimes it’s not enough to write a short piece around either, and so I end up spending a lot of time letting the idea percolate. If it blooms into something more, I’ve got something more, but a lot of times, I have a disjointed set of scenes and characters which don’t add up to much of anything.

The urge to write something substantial is banging on my head right now. As I’ve noted before here, nothing stimulates my creativity like having something more important to do than indulge it. When I didn’t have a Slurp to occupy my time, I was as idea-dry as the Sahara is water-dry. And the ideas I’d written down when they came to me didn’t motivate me enough to write. But now, I feel the thumping in my head which wants me to sit down, finish the tiny bits of structural planning I have to do, and write them. At least ONE of them. And yet, I have to write the non-fic. And I’ve been missing motivation there too.

So I have a daunting project and little motivation to do it. But until I get it done I can’t really embark on a big personal (read: non-paying) project either. So I’m in a creative Catch-22 and can’t do anything to budge myself either way. Oh, it’s not a permanent condition by any stretch, but it’s an annoying one. Aggravating. And I can’t figure out where my “want-to” has gone.

How often do you have to tap your self-discipline to force yourself to do something you’ve planned to do but haven’t “gotten around to”? Does procrastination overtake you or do you just slip into inertia? Or maybe you’re a dynamo, with more energy than the Energizer Bunny on meth. If so, what sorts of things do you do to focus that energy and … aw, forget it. If that’s you, we can’t relate to each other.

Sound off, fellow back-sliders! Let me know how you deal with it and what doesn’t work, too.

-JDT-

Nothin’ Doin’

Lately, I don’t have much at all to say about writing because I haven’t done any. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll do any more.

Okay, technically that’s not true. I’m writing right now, doing this post. And I have to do the revisions and corrections on the technical book I finished in January. But fiction writing? Nope, nothin’ doin’.

I don’t have any ideas. I don’t have even the slightest spark of creativity, but at least now I know what’s wrong. (It was a little ambiguous and vague before, but I have a clear handle on what’s wrong right now.) I don’t have any motivation, even to edit past works.

Recently, I read on an agent’s blog the statement “If you can give up writing, you absolutely should” (or something very close to that). At this point, I think the question of whether I can is settled. Oh yes. I can. I have, for an extended period of time now. I have a million excuses why, but the long and short of it is, I did it. If the agent’s statement holds true, then I need to set this aside for the rest of my life. It’s not something I can do. I’m not compelled to write anything. I’m not compelled to keep pounding and getting things out. I know a lot of writers who say they can’t help but write. Well, I’ve discovered I can, and in some ways, there’s a lot of freedom in that discovery. I can be free to stop pressuring myself to produce, to write something, anything, just get words down on the page, dammit. Now I can look at my computer and see something I don’t feel pressured to sit at and stare at. I can pass by my pens and pads and not feel guilty about not using them. I can have a tiny little image or movie pop into my head and not feel required to jot it down, embellish it, make it into something “useful”. I can go to sleep and dream without the anxiety and worry of perhaps missing something if I don’t write it down, remember it somehow, get it all out of my head.

The sound of the wind whistling through my empty skull is sort of soothing.

I don’t know what it all means, if it’ll stick or not, or whether to even care. Right now my priorities are elsewhere than writing and I don’t have time to worry about it. So many of you expressed support and encouragement when I told you about the technical book, and I appreciate those sentiments truly and deeply. But when you asked whether I expected any further work from them or said maybe it would turn into something more, my stomach flip-flopped and I almost passed out. I don’t know if ever want anything more again. I really don’t.

Thank you for being friends and reading whatever falls out of my fingertips here. I really appreciate it. But this is about as much writing as I can muster and frankly, it’s all I want to muster. And I don’t even feel compelled to do this every day as I did before.

*Whew!* There. I said it. I don’t think I’m a writer. And I feel better for having said it.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

Thanks, and a Few Thoughts

A few words of thanks to my supportive peeps

Thanks to everyone for coming by to offer encouragement on the SSRLP and to say nice things about it.

While it’s not the sort of writing I want to do all the time, it was a refreshing insight into publishing on the non-fiction side and how things work. More of that insight will come, I’m sure, and hopefully further benefits as I learn the ropes to working with a publisher to produce a quality product.

Things learned along the way

So far, this hasn’t done anything to enhance my resume. I don’t know how, or when, to add it to my CV for one thing. For another, I don’t know the exact title of the book or the release date, so I can’t even put anticipated publication date mm/yyyy or anything. So for now I’m still just an out of work bum, but this should help with the “What have you been doing for the last 15 months?” question I get oh-so-often when people (infrequently) sniff around about jobs.

I still haven’t heard anything on revisions and rewrites, which makes me a little nervous. I also haven’t seen a whiff of the money, which makes me pissed. I knew they didn’t rush money out to authors, but c’mon – enough’s enough. It’s been more than three months since they picked me to do the writing and more than six weeks since they got their contract. The excuse I get is “Well, it’s a behemoth company, so things move slowly.” I wonder how the publisher would have handled my slowness on delivering their product? Hm.

And that, dear friend or two which I still have following my blog, is one thing I have learned early and often in this journey, which I can now share with you. When you’re the author and working with a publisher (this is after the agent’s part of connecting you with the publisher is over and you’re working away on the product, now), the publisher holds all the cards. You, as the writer, don’t have much recourse about anything.

They sent me a contract, which was fine. I read it through as best I could. I”m not a lawyer, don’t know any lawyers, and can’t afford a lawyer, so I read it through myself. The wording wasn’t difficult or tangled, not really. I got through it. But the thing is, I had no recourse to renegotiate the contract. The agent made it clear he wasn’t really interested in anything like that; he’s worked with this publisher before (a lot, I gathered), and they’re good for the money. If there was anything I didn’t like in the contract, I’d have needed a lawyer to negotiate the changes. And the publisher would have simply passed on me as an author and gotten someone else to write the book.

You want to be the author? Play by our rules and sign the contract. That’s lesson one.

Lesson two is, their part of the contractual “obligations” do not apply. Yours do. They sent me the contract and I had to sign it if I wanted the job. They would then receive it from me and counter-sign, which enacts the contract. I’m now in a bind. If I say they’ve violated their side of the agreement by not paying when they said they would (half on contract execution), they can say they just haven’t signed it yet. I can’t prove one way or the other, so I’m stuck. If I don’t live up to their expectations and requirements, though, you can bet I’d hear back from them about how I’m in breach of contract and they ain’t gonna pay me.

Either way, I lose, and that’s one of the things I’ve learned in this process.

Anyway, thanks for all your support and I’ll talk atcha when I can.

-jdt-

 

All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

So, Time for … the DISH

All right, you all think you want to know what the SSRLP was, do you? Fine, I’ll dish. Right here, right now.

I’m sorry I’ve been offline so long. It’s been tough to get on and when I do I have other things I have to do even if I don’t feel like it. But last time I did get online, some of you stated you wanted to know about the SSRLP. I figure there’s no harm in telling you now. I hope.

Some of you emailed and asked it involved a novel. No, it doesn’t. It does involve writing, though.

So, my buddy JES heard me moaning and groaning about my job sitch back in October. He contacted me and said something to the effect of, “Hey, I can connect you with these guys I know who do writing projects, some of ‘em technical writing. Want me to introduce you?” To which I eagerly replied, “Why, yes … yes I do. Thank you!” And so he did, being a man of his word and honorable.

The person he introduced me to ended up contacting me by email and asked me to set up a time to talk on the phone. I did. He missed the appointment. I thought, Not good. He set up another appointment, and this time he kept it. He spoke with me for about fifteen minutes and basically left me with a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” sort of departure. I figured what the heck … it was worth a shot, right? I went about my life.

About three weeks later, guess who calls? That’s right, the contact. He gets in touch with me while I’m walking through Wally World. He asks if I have a few minutes to discuss a project he thinks I’d be a great fit for. I said “Sure!” – after I got up from the floor. (No, I didn’t expect to hear from him again.)

He tells me he wants me to write a book. A technical book. About PowerPoint. Specifically, he wants me to write a book about PowerPoint 2010. The company puts out a series of books overseas, similar to our For Dummies books, and they want authors to walk readers through using hardware or software in baby steps with simple wording and a few page elements which enhance the task-oriented information.

I almost had a heart attack. I told him I’d let him know. My beloved wife stood beside me grinning like a Cheshire cat. “You’re going to do it,” she said. “I don’t think so; it’s not something I can do, I don’t think.” The guy on the phone says “Why not? You can do it. Tell you what, send me a sample table of contents and I’ll present it. If they don’t like it, they’ll pick someone else.” “Oh,” I says, “uh … okay. Sure. I’ll try to get that to you as soon as I have a chance.” I hang up. My wife continues with the Cheshire grin. I explain she should wipe the smirk off her face because I have to compete for the project and since I’ve never, in my entire 13 year (at the time) career, used PowerPoint (never mind the 2010 version, which isn’t even out yet!), I’d have little or no chance at it.

I was wrong. Long, LOOOONG story short, I got the project. Over the next – what? five? six? – weeks, I wrote that book. I had a lot of help from my precious LOML and from the experienced author the agent put me in touch with to guide me through the process for this book. The company is very stern and inflexible about the format and the requirements; no problem. It made the book easier to write, once I got the hang of it. And it was a paying gig. Not a ton of money, but something.

So, I haven’t seen the money yet, and I will be a published author. I don’t know when yet. And it won’t be under my pen name, which I reserve only for fiction writing. But it’s something and I enjoyed doing it, even though it was tough at times and I barely (!) made the deadline.

I’m waiting to hear back on revisions and corrections and for the money to arrive. And that’s the long and short of the SSRLP.

Feel better now that you know? I didn’t think so. 😉

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.