Monday Musings: Fish Or Cut Bait a.k.a. Deciding What I Want To Be

This past week, I had a bit of an emotional snap.  A crisis of faith, an overload of frustration, or the straw that broke the camel’s back, any and all of those might be apt descriptions for my state of being at the time.  They say, and I agree, that being an author is a battle of attrition and the greatest asset needed to fight that battle is an abundance of stubborn determination, and my own supply seemed close to spent.

My closest friends sought to console me, bolster my confidence, and provide their own advice as to the cause of my problems.  What they concluded on I then put forward in a more clinical fashion to some of my colleagues.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised when they all fell into agreement.  It seemed that the ultimate cause of my issues was that I spread myself too thin.

You see, my foodies, it came down to a choice, one that I will paraphrase here: Do I wish to be the guy who supports authors and does work for them who does some writing on the side or the full-time author who also happens to be very supportive to other authors?  My fellow book bloggers out there who are consistently active in supporting and reviewing will understand, but for others, you may not realize how much time, energy, and resources goes into a consistent schedule of reviews, interviews, and advice.  A lot can go on behind the scenes, especially follow-up to reviews if the author is looking for deeper insights to your critiques.

Not only that, but my advocacy was crowding out my own writing not only in the matter of time, but in the matter of what some would call ‘branding’.  My book reviews and writing articles were drawing far more attention than my own works, the thing that actually is my primary career.  Instead of seguing from reading reviews or articles to then go on to the books themselves, the average visitor halts there.  J. B. Garner, Author, is lost behind the guise of the Starving Reviewer.

Does this mean the reviews and articles are stopping to be replaced by daily book promotions?  No, I’m not that kind of guy.  I have supported authors to try to pay it forward for those few that have done the same for me, and my conscience would be ill at ease if I abruptly cut off all those who are still waiting in my TBR list.  All the same, expect more content here to be directed or to reference my own works.  The fact is that I am an AUTHOR first and I must act like one, instead of the nice guy who pats other authors on the back.

Monday Musings: The Day Job a.k.a. What I Learned From Going Back to Work

So I picked up a part-time job to get a war chest for con trips, stocking up on physical books to sell, that sort of thing (also bills!  Food!  All that kind of thing!).  It’s been two or three years since the last time I had an actual employer and did this kind of core retail/manual work.  Boy, did I learn a lot!

  1. I’m not twenty-four anymore … but I’m not totally decrepit.  I’m sore, my left knee is janky, and I certainly didn’t expect to be hit like that.  However, I also realized that I wasn’t so far gone that I couldn’t keep up.  Each day has been a little bit easier and, hopefully, in another week or so, I’ll be back in my stride.
  2. Working with people is kind of fun.  Not that I haven’t worked alongside others in certain aspects during my writing, but there’s a difference between that long-distance collaboration and working hand-in-hand with other people.
  3. Even a part-time job eats up more time than you’d expect.  Twenty hours a week isn’t twenty hours.  There’s transportation time, there’s online training, there’s all the extra chores that come up, and so on.  It puts a kink in my style.
  4. The ‘time to think’ concept does have some truth to it.  You do have to pay attention at any job you work at, but there’s almost always a chance to focus your higher brain functions on things outside of work.  I just wish there was more time for that.
  5. I ultimately look forward to the time I can get back to full-time writing.  No matter what other ups and downs there are, I just want to write, end of story.

Well, enough of my noodling!  I have a day off, so it’s time to write.  Until next time, good reading, good writing, and good luck!