Tag Archives: personal

The New Job Post

I started a new job today. For ten years, I’ve worked at Hi-School Pharmacy in Vancouver doing IT support, but it had become clear to me over the last year that I didn’t have a future at that company. We weren’t getting raises, there was no opportunity for advancement, and in the end even the new projects started to dry up.

So now I work at Allion Test Labs in Beaverton. It’s a cool company, although it’s hard to describe exactly what it is they do…the short version would probably be “testing consumer electronics,” although it’s a lot broader than that. I’ve only just started, so I don’t really have a feeling for how the day-to-day is going to go, but everyone I talk to there enjoys their job and is happy with the company. That’s a lot more than I could say at Hi-School, and I could get used to working at a place like that.

There are downsides, of course. Working at Hi-School for so long, I got a real fine sense of what was allowed and what wasn’t, what rules were actually followed versus what the employee handbook said. I knew under what circumstances I should put off taking lunch, for instance, or when I could take off for the day 15 minutes early. I’ve just got to re-learn all that, and it takes time.

It also means that I don’t get to go to Norwescon this year. It’s in just three weeks, and I won’t have enough vacation saved up to make it. I kind of had a feeling this was coming, so it wasn’t a shock, but I’m still disappointed. Oh well; there’s still Westercon, WorldCon, and OryCon. It’ll be a busy year on the convention circuit.

I’m also hoping that this will be an opportunity to dig back into my writing. I tend to write with more discipline when I have less time to put off writing, and with this job I definitely have less time. Enough time, to be sure, but it means that I have to prioritize writing like I really haven’t for awhile. I think this job could be a good opportunity, in more ways than one.

How Do you Keep On Going?

That’s not a rhetorical question. I only have a few readers, but I’m honestly curious what they think about this question: how do you keep working, keep writing, keep not surfing the internet, when the tough times come? If I have a great deadline in NaNoWriMo, then that usually does the trick for me, but usually that’s not the case and it’s up to me to keep me interested.

I’m not having any huge difficulties right now, although I feel like I might be on the borderline. I’m doing my story outlining, as I mentioned previously, and it’s pretty much as boring as I expected. I keep running into the problem of balancing story elements, and I’m starting to get a bit concerned that I don’t have enough subplots (of all things). Sometimes this entire project just seems incredibly difficult.

Of course, it is incredibly difficult. Most people would never finish it. For that matter, I may never finish it (although I plan to!). So here’s how I’m coping: I admit to myself that what I’m doing is difficult and a little boring. But I make myself sit in front of this laptop for at least two 30-minute intervals, not browsing the internet, not playing Minesweeper, just staring at my Word documents. Eventually, doing nothing becomes more boring than writing, and I’ll start typing again.

I also turn the internet off.

Anyway, short post today. I’m honestly curious about what you think, so please sound off in the comments! This will be the last post until next Monday; I’ll be out of town and away from internet until then. Bon voyage!

Background to the Project

I’ve been writing for many years. I’m not a writer by profession or education, although I wrote a lot to get a history degree, and my job as an IT administrator does require me to write bullet-pointed documentation and snarky Skype messages. Instead, I’ve written for fun off and on for the last decade, with an extremely variable level of commitment. Maybe once a year I’d try to write something, and sometimes get as far as the second page before taking a 300-day break.

Two things happened in my life that disrupted this cycle. First, NaNoWriMo showed me that I could, in fact, write at least 50,000 words if I put my mind to it and consumed enough coffee/tea/sugar/amphetamines. The second thing was that I failed to get into graduate school.

I spent six months working on getting into a graduate program in history, even working with a member of the admissions board to make sure that my application was as good as it possibly could be, and I still failed. This led to something of a crisis of confidence, and I frankly I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I’d been banking on graduate school for months and when it was gone I needed something to fill the life-vacuum.

But while I was feeling sorry for myself, my pleasant memories of frantic novel-writing were piping up from the back of my brain, hollering at me to remember them.

So I started writing again. I’ve put together a few polished short stories, with the first of these going out to a market near you soon (dear heaven). So I might succeed or fail there. Whatever. Writing short stories is fun but there’s no way that I can achieve my maximum writing potential (as measured in sleepless nights) without writing a novel. And as long as I’m writing a novel, I might as well do it really quickly.

So, I’ve decided to write a full, publication-worthy (to use the phrase extremely loosely) novel in six months. Hey, if Danielle Steele can put out three novels a year and make more money than a Rockefeller, who says I can’t?

This website is a chronicle of that journey. Hopefully, you and I can look back on this first post in three months and laugh, saying how stupid I was to even think that I could be successful. Or something like that.

Anyway, good to have you aboard.