I don’t tend to talk about the day job because I figure it would be boring to most people. Then again I guess most people say that about their day jobs. That is of course usually not the case when it is their, “Job.” By that I mean, it is what they do for a career and their evenings are left to things like catching up with the family, watching TV or engaging in a hobby. Not, and I repeat not, trying to create something out of thin air and then capture that thing on paper (eventually).
I’ve been building food, dairy and beverage plants for the better part of twenty-five years with a couple of breaks here and there to pursue other interests be they creative, mechanical or electrical. I like building things, I always have. My job is extremely project-based, as in I go from project to project and these can last anywhere from a day to months. Projects depending on their execution can go easy or hard. This last one was hard. Not so much because of what we were doing, though I’ll admit brewing is not a process I’m entirely familiar with (but I am a fast learner) but more because of just the level of work that had to be accomplished in a very set period of time. So stress levels are very high and work days were long. This of course really cuts into your writing time. My output which prior to this project was a thousand words a day, give or take. Has fallen at this stage to about two thousand words a week. This is unacceptable to me. Add to this that my current company is going through a restructuring. This restructuring amongst management directly affected my project, which was extremely frustrating to say the least considering my deadline issues (every project’s got a deadline). Which of course led to longer days and six and seven day weeks, which caused more stress and yes, directly affected my writing.
It is a vicious circle.
And because turmoil loves company, I decided to add a little bit more my life and change the circumstances of my day job. It’s frustrating that it had to come to this. Of course ultimately as any writer does, I hope to make a living from my books. Trouble is you need content to sell and you have to generate that content yourself, while still keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. I’ve never been one to be a starving artist.
And that would be the other side of the coin, my day job pays really well and it’s very interesting. At least it is when you’re not dealing with personnel or internal politics. No matter what, no matter where, people can be difficult. Myself included.
So what my new circumstances will hold for me I do not know. Anything you do in life is a 50-50 shot for success or failure. My only saving grace is that I hold a fairly unique skill set which other companies desire to utilize towards their bottom line. I also have a decent reputation within the industry which is a good thing. Though I’m certain I’m absolutely not everybody’s cup of tea, especially some of the mechanical and process engineers I work with.
I’m still trying to stay on deadline for Devil’s Ante but now I have the Colorado trip looming, sixty-eight days out and counting and I haven’t even got my tracks logged out for it. I also still need to pull the trigger on a brand-new GPS system, which is proving even harder than I thought. For once the Internet is not cutting it and I’m going to have to go into a store talk to somebody who knows about these things. More time lost. Though that’s probably the wrong way to look at. I’ll be riding somewhat remote tracks, GPS will be part of my safety system. I always do tend to bitch about the cost initially of something, the sting fades with years of use. I got five years out of my last GPS and it was put to hard use in some pretty extreme conditions.
So, the way I see it, I’ve got two months to finish the rough draft of my new novel and plan the Colorado trip which will be the basis for another motorcycle book. Which hopefully won’t be as contentious as my last one and then get everything released for the fall. I’m so outside the write a novel a month for Amazon model, it’s not even funny. But as they say life is what happens when you’re making other plans.
I’m sure the day job stuff will settle down in the next month or so and we’ll see how that new chapter goes. I guess if it all gets too hairy, I can just go solo as a gun for hire but that would probably even take away more time from writing…. Sigh.