When it starts to feel like a job, I'm screwed
Interesting title, yeah?

I should shelve that title into the corner with the dozens of other tidbits of nonsense I've labeled Things I Never Should Have Said.

I'm a writer ... scratch that. I'm an author. I guess at some point I moved from being someone who simply put words to paper that told a story and moved into a whole new space. One that involved contracts, royalties, promo, and all of the other lovely things that came along with publishing. I don't know when I decided to make this step.

Maybe it was a little over a year and a half ago when I challenged myself to write something I'd want other people to read that didn't involved my little slice of the internet and friends. Maybe when my hubby side-eyed me from the couch as I talked about sending in a 95k manuscript to a publisher and having absolutely no idea how to write a query letter, never mind the proper structure of a synopsis. He told me to "go for it" anyway. And how in the unholy fuck do you turn a 300 page story into 1 page of understandable babble? AND YOU WANT ME TO GIVE AWAY THE ENDING? What is the point of you reading the story after, then?

See, obviously I didn't know what I was doing as a semi-professional, or even how to go about learning the trade. What I did know was that I could write, and I had things to tell. I was tired of them being shelved or pushed aside in favor of something less intimidating or frightening.

When I first started on my journey, my hubby asked me what I wanted to gain from publishing that I wasn't gaining from writing and putting it up for free.

(Full Disclosure coming here: No, nothing I've ever published and sold for monetary gain has come from my free stuff under a different penname and I can promise it never will considering it was mostly of the fanfic nature with all human elements and some paranormal. I don't believe in P2P, others might, I don't. I have more than enough characters in my head to create my own worlds, I don't need to build off the backs of other writers to get my stuff out there, or use their fanbases to launch me into the bestseller lists. My writing and hard work will hopefully speak for itself eventually and maybe, one day payoff. I think my opinion on this topic is an obvious one, so we're going to move on now)

So yes, he asked me what I wanted to gain. I wasn't sure. Money, he asked. No. It wasn't for that. I was pretty sure publishing, if I managed to get a book picked up, one novel wasn't going to earn me enough money for anything really. I was correct ... my first novel, the short story A Mile High, has sold ... pfft, not enough to count, frankly. Probably not enough to pay for the little bit of promo I paid for it when it released or the giveaway I added onto that promo.

Recognition, he asked? Probably not that either. I'm not a spotlight kind of person, just one reason I mixed my penname up like it is. I don't have oodles of people searching me out on Facebook, they look for my penname first and find my author page.

I really didn't know why I wanted to be a published writer, just that I did. I likely needed something different going on in my life at the time, I'm not sure. Usually when I find myself in a slump or slipping into a darker head space, I begin to look around and find ways to really put myself out of the safe comfort zone I've created and blow that all to bits.

This was clearly one of those times.

Again, the hubby had more questions. Right around the time I decided to move on from searching out publishers for my work and start the process of self-publishing The Life (Book 2 in The Russian Guns).

I thought you only wanted to work with a couple of publishers?

I thought you wanted it to be an easy experience?

I thought you didn't want to do this much work?

I thought you didn't want it to feel like a job?

Yeah, I've said those words. I've said them a lot. I've repeated them in my head when I had a two week deadline for edits and the publisher was demanding rewrites on half a book, at least four new scenes, and asking me to "tamper down" some of the hotness in my book. (I so didn't, and they kept trying. I mean really, considering some of the "erotic romance" that's in the market right now, my scenes are very vanilla ... very)

Oddly, situations like those still didn't necessarily feel like work. This was new to me. Every time I had an email come in, or promo to try, marketing to learn, and so forth, this was new. It really hasn't become old news, either. It's just changed. Self-publishing took me into a new realm. I have a certain time frame in the day I like to hit working on my writing, blog, or whatever else that relates to this career. Heck, it could even fit in the time for my reading as every good author should read. A lot.

Don't be stupid like I was. Don't think this can stay a hobby. It doesn't. Eventually it takes more and more hours of your day. Eventually you're looking into new avenues that will take a lot more work and participation on your part to get it done. Eventually, it will be just yours. And it will feel like a job, even if people want to call it a career.

Don't be like me. Don't be stupid.

Do not let it surprise you when it does.

It's okay. I don't mind this job.
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