Working from home sounds so wonderful to someone who's never done it..
It can be a blessing and a curse.
That’s because time is money in this business.
There have been times when I wished I could afford to rent an office downtown. I would get to work at 9:00 a.m. and go home at 5:30 p.m. Theoretically you could get just as much done and still have time for what other workers might take for granted, a normal life—whatever that actually means.
Let's not attempt to define it. As it is, if I wake up at 6:00 a.m., the first thing I do is hit the switch on the kettle. I fill it up the night before. My time is my own, but time is also precious.
The second thing I do is to sit down at the computer and open up the first of several email accounts and begin checking emails. The most I’ve ever had in a day was over seven hundred, lately it’s been running a hundred or so emails (mostly automated notifications) per day.
It usually takes about an hour. After that I do a quick check of all accounts. This flies in the face of much expert advice. Conventional wisdom doled out to newbie authors is that; (if) you are just throwing up any old book on Amazon and sitting back and waiting to get rich, then, (ergo) checking your account ten times a day may be a little discouraging. It does you no good, and wouldn’t you be better off writing. Under those exact circumstances, the advice is good, (or good enough.)
However, there are other circumstances. For example, if an author took it upon themselves to conscientiously take a link from their print on demand paperback titles on a publishing platform such as Createspace or any one of a number of fine service providers, then posting the links daily to a number of different social platforms, then checking one’s account on a daily basis (once) is good policy. If you (or I) should suddenly discover that a couple of books went out the door over at Createspace, then one might reasonably conclude that the promotion was effective to some small degree.
If you want to sell a book or two, now you know how to do it—or at least one way to do it.
And every sale is cumulative. It goes towards your total sales. Once you have more than one title available for sale, total sales is the only number that really matters.
This usually takes fifteen minutes or half an hour per day.
The next thing I generally do is to seek out and read relevant stories. I am a writer. I have Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and a number of other social accounts. I post links there.
I have ten or twenty thousand followers, they would like to see something from me on a regular basis.
Otherwise, why bother following me at all?
It’s important that the links have some value. It can be useful information, it can be humorous, whatever.
Depending on who you are, and what you feel is a comfortable brand for you to wear, it might even be calculatedly offensive—certain names come to mind, Howard Stern or Marilyn Manson for example.
It takes time to post three or four links to a plethora (nice word) of different social platforms.
By the time other people are arriving at work, I’ve put in two or two and a half hours.
This morning, I took a story from 6,250 words up to 7,100. That’s part of the job too. I had a bit of time and so I grabbed it.
People don’t really appreciate what we do as writers. I don’t mind sitting there having a cup of tea with someone, but if I’m in the middle of a story, I get a little antsy. I’m looking over my shoulder. I keep looking at that computer. I’m like any other guy—I want to work, I want to make money. This is my job.
I need to make my living. This is also my home—there is that conundrum where sometimes you have to set a limit or something. People don’t see the distinction sometimes, and sometimes neither do I.
I live my work, but then, I also love it. When you waste my work time, you take away something very precious from me—the right (and the responsibility) to work.
This is my blood, my toil, my tears and my sweat, ladies and gentlemen.
It’s extremely important to get up out of this chair and away from this desk from time to time.
Last night, I walked the city streets for a couple of kilometres. It doesn’t even last long enough. I wish I could go further, but I have long-standing back injuries and my legs go numb. If I had to dodge a bus or something I’d fall flat on my face. My range is limited. This morning I walked in the woods. It’s just a question of accepting certain limitations. It’s all about quality of life, and that means getting out of here!
This blog story is a thousand words. Still, it takes at least a half an hour or forty-five minutes to write one. It takes time to find a picture, it takes time to format it and load it up on the blog—and I have seven or eight blogs. Research takes time, and I’ve spent whole days looking at stock photos. Yet another person might not even see it or accept it as a viable occupation.
(I say it is.)
As I write this, it’s 4:45 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. People who work days are thinking about going home and putting some dinner on. I have to cook too, I have to sleep, shower, mop floors, do laundry and take care of household business.
By the time I go to bed, usually around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m., it’s a pretty full day. (Going to bed early means I can get up early and start all over again.)
I don’t make a lot of money, but we do have a little fun once in a while.
It’s no easier than any other way of working, and if you’re getting a lot of irritations and distractions, interruptions and phone calls, then it’s certainly no better than any other comparable white-collar job.
With a little luck, I’ll do two or three thousand words today on what looks like a novel—or a very long short story. I started Sunday morning and it’s up to 7,200 words in four days. That doesn't seem like very much, does it?
With a little luck, I'll sell a book or two along the way.
That makes it all worthwhile.
And there you go. The rant is now over.