Heavy Lifting and Mercenaries   Leave a comment

I wanted to put a snappy image on the front of this of someone bench pressing a pole with a lot of carefully balanced books on the top of this post, but the only image I could find like that was kinda grainy.  Try to imagine that basic image, though, you should do well.

I’ve taken a few freelance writing gigs the last couple of weeks. One with a company called Shoost that acts as a news and review website for indie video gaming, and another with a company called Ideas In Motion Media (known in this area for community news websites such as ValpoLife). I feel conflicted about these jobs, but ultimately I’m excited.

The conflict comes from that normal apprehension about time management that I always have; if I’m busy going to events and writing about them for money, will I still have the time to write on my own? The answer, despite all appearances, is yes.

It’s a common frustration that I hear from a lot of other writers at the same approximate level as myself. If you spend the day working, you’re not going to be writing during that time. The important thing to remember about writing, though, is that you can do it whenever you’re near a computer, or a notepad and pencil (or a piece of chalk for that matter, though transcribing later’s gonna be a pain.) NaNoWriMo has a number of comments about this: it’s important to find time elsewhere in the day, such as right before work or right after.

That’s one of the elements about “heavy lifting” that Walt Wangerin talked about in writing. That, and the fact that writing looks and feels a whole lot lazier than it is: generally, if you sit in a room for hours at a time at a computer, it just looks unproductive. Computers are natural distractions, too; most of us with access to computers have some diversions on them. (I do Walt Wangerin a disservice, though; while this was related to the “heavy lifting” conversation, most of that topic was actually about rewriting, itself a tricky endeavor that saps energy.)

A more appropriate comment would be Neil Gaiman’s talk about inspiration. When asked just what a writer does without inspiration, Neil Gaiman made the strikingly appropriate comment that good writers of stories write without inspiration. It’s their job. A poet might be able to do good work while relying on inspiration, but writing short stories or books needs to take place without inspiration. (And as NaNoWriMo points out, pushing through those moments that don’t have inspiration can often cause the inspiration to be found again.)

Now that I’ve rationalized the fact that I’d still have time to write with these two jobs, the other element that remains is the matter of pay. Ideas in Motion Media pays an appropriate amount, while Shoost can’t pay its writers yet. Shoost hopes to be able to at some point, but not yet. This is a conflict in my mind, but one I was able to work with; it would offer a limited amount of exposure and acts as a freelance job that I can put on my resume. Because, as much as I like writing, I prefer reviews to news and it’d be nice to have something else on my resume. Shoost is, thankfully, understanding of the position and isn’t demanding that I treat it like a full time job. I’ve read the articles about why you need to accept payment, but for the minimal amount of work and time it will require I think the benefits outweigh the expense.

I think this is the kind of thing that Walt Wangering meant when he talked about it being okay to take part in “mercenary writing.” I’ve just gotta remember that he stressed to not let it get in the way of actual writing.

Speaking of which, I said that I’d start persuing Three Virellium Coins in earnest once I had two month’s worth of updates done. I’m picking up speed on those stories the closer I get to the end. At three updates a week, that’d be twenty-four episodes.

Seventeen down. Seven to go.



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