On July 6, I gave myself 80s days to finish the current draft of the latest novel-in-progress.
On July 31, the company where I work went through [another] large layoff.
I was spared, but another technical writer in my group wasn’t. And guess who got his job on top of all the regular writing tasks expected of him?
This is a roundabout way of saying that I, sadly, am still working on the latest draft of the current novel.
But, despite longer day-job hours, progress has still been made.
(At the same time, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t frustrated and disappointed.)
A Blog About…
The slogan for The Juggling Writer is “A Blog about Juggling Work, Writing, and Life.” In part, it was a thing to look at how those three things affect each other.
Movies would have you believe the answer for me should have been to tell my day job that I’ve had enough — that I’m close to finishing the best thing I’ve written to date — and stormed out. And then, in a montage, you’d see me at my keyboard, writing away…reading books and doing other research, and probably even dropping a couple full manuscripts in the [physical] mail to agents. For the sake of suspense, I’d hear nothing and begin doubting my decision to leave my day job. But then, just when it looks like all is lost, I’d get the call that changes my life: an agent wants to represent me and…they even have tentative interest from a couple publishers, meaning I’ll make enough money to never work again! (Because that’s how it works in the movies!)
[And we wonder why the average person thinks all it takes is writing a book and the riches roll in…]
Trust me: I’d much rather have spent my mornings, days, and evenings working on fiction instead of online help, student guides and language translations — on top of all the duties I was hired to do. But sometimes work takes over, and you heed the call of the thing that pays the bills.
Part of the issue is timing: the person who will help me went on a scheduled vacation right as the other tech writer left. Other people who were to help me also went on vacation. My group also trains people, so when that help returned from vacations, they were busy with classes, leaving me to take on all the work.
Hopefully next week (or the week after), things will ease up.
Still, I made a lot of progress in these 80 days — especially the first month or so, before working the equivalent of two full-time jobs. Things should even out soon with my day job and, if not, I fortunately live in an area where finding a new job has never been very hard for me. (That, and there are rumors of more layoffs in a few weeks, so who knows what the future holds: more of the same, a new job at the existing job as we restructure departments, or I’m cut this time around.)
Wherever one goes today in America, it seems layoffs after several years of work (or situations at day jobs requiring extra hours), are common. I’m not delusional, believing a new job would be a cure to all that ails. I still have the best day job I’ve ever had and obviously hope to stay…so much that I’m doing the work necessary to get our group through a rough time. In a few weeks, I’ll know how things are restructured, or I’ll be out of a job — both, things I can plan around, if nothing else.
The book is close to done, and regardless of what the next several weeks brings, I’m a few crisp autumn days away from having a readable draft of this book.
(In Texas, we usually get a couple crisp days in October, and then the season seems to actually arrive in November.)