Saturday, 2 December 2017

Rare Opportunity Job

Yesterday was the deadline for applications for a Rare Opportunity Job. You bet your sweet bippy I submitted my application.

A Rare Opportunity Job (sometimes called a Dream Job) is the kind of job you want to be working at, but aren't, because the opportunity to get one rarely comes up.

I'd love to be a Google Doodler. I'd love to be a score composer. But these opportunities aren't going to happen any time soon, so I've let my dreams settle into more realistic aims.

A ROJ at a library recently arose. While I'm not actively job-hunting at the moment, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to apply.

I got my first library card at age 3. We attended at least once a fortnight or so. Would have gone more often, if a library was within my underage commute distance without needing to rely on someone to drive me there. As an adult I've worked at three libraries and loved it. Currently I do part-time IT Support peripherally to a library, but it's not quite the same as working in a library itself.

Last week a Rare Opportunity Job arose at a library. What makes this the ROJ it is?
  • It's in a library. After having worked straight IT for a while, I realised I'm much happier working in a library. I really want to go back.
  • Location. Granted, it's a good hour away. But it's close to a daughter's school, and it's in a neighbourhood I wouldn't mind working in. Besides, long-term plans involve us moving into that area anyway. 
  • Money. Sure the hourly rate is lower than what I'm making now, but as it's a full-time job, the actual amount of money that will be going into my pocket will rise. I need more money, but I also need less stress. This job will give me both.
  • Work Load. Unless this job ends up being an outlier, the work load pace and stress will be less than what I'm doing now. I'm ready for a job where I'm a wheel cog and not a fire extinguisher. I'm feeling the faint edge of burnout nibbling at my heels at my current job. While my hours keep that at bay, this leaves me stuck in a corner. I could make more money if I could get more hours, but then I'd definitely burn out faster.
  • Schedule. I confess I was considering going back to full-time work in 2-4 years time, now that Their Ladyships are much older and don't need their momma so much. Still, there's a few things they do that require me to be Mom. The work schedule, as posted with the job application, will allow me to continue being there for them when they need me. There's also the opportunity for the eldest to come to the library after school for some quiet study time, before going home with Mom (as long as she doesn't bother me too much and lets me get on with my work).  Only downside is that I will have to work one Sunday afternoon a month, and we've got afternoon church next year. 
  • One weekday RDO (see previous). This one weekday off is a boon. This will be a block of time I can use for study and writing, plus daughter support.

"Wait," you say. "Isn't being an Author your Dream Job?"

Well, yes, dear reader, it is. However, unlike a regular 9-5 Day Job, the opportunity to succeed as an author doesn't come along as a job application that you score an interview and then a job offer and then you're in until ded or fled.

Writing's one of those things where to succeed you need Luck, Persistence, Talent (pick two; or rather, two will pick you. Only in Persistence do you have a choice).  Even if you do score a success, you're only as good as that moment of success, and you're back to the struggle. 

It's going to be several years before writing income is sufficient to replace a day job's income. Until then, I engage in that longstanding tradition of Author with a Day Job. I know more AwDJs than I do authors who make sole income from writing.

Library jobs are rare enough as it is. The last library job I applied for received over 800 applications. Eight. Hundred.  The chances I'll get called for an interview, never mind get this job are rather slim.

But those odds are better than if I'd never applied at all.

________________________
Her Grace daydreams about going to her new library job and spends idle time working out the logistics.

Monday, 27 November 2017

NaNoWriMo Day 26 - one very tight squeeze

NaNoWriMo is all about challenging oneself to push oneself to the limits.

Granted, when one gets to a certain point in her career, she finds that cranking out 50K in a month becomes easy. An author's progress comes when she gets a regular schedule, system, pattern that works for her, and she cranks out the wordage.  Many's the time a multi-book contracted author has to meet a publisher's deadline. That's when they eschew television, a normal social life and everything else expendable--even sleep if necessary--to meet that contracted deadline. After all, that's what they're being paid for.

While NaNoWriMo's imposed deadline of 50K/30dy isn't as dire as a publishers, one still has to apply the discipline to meet that goal.

There's a good chance I might not make it.

I didn't stick to my schedule. I didn't give writing the priority I should. Lots of other things happened that got in the way of writing (granted, school is one of them, and until writing brings in enough money to pay tuition, school gets priority). I played silly little games on my phone. I read Facebook. I watched some TV. I mowed the lawn and did the dishes and played with a cat. I even applied for a Rare Opportunity Job. Much of this I could have shoved to the side in favour of wordage.

The other day I sat down and did some simple math. I could still win NaNo, but it will require some marathoning. The numbers I need are daunting, but doable. I've done those kinds of numbers before.

So, can I make it?

Honestly?

I don't know. But I'm gonna try.

_________________________
Her Grace hasn't failed a NaNo in ever so long. 

Monday, 13 November 2017

NaNoWriMo Day 13 - A little behind

I will openly admit I'm a little behind my wordcount. This is because Life Happened, as it does.

Being end of year (EoY), I've got one final exam and three assignments I need to finish this week, one child has EoY exams, and the other has EoY performances, etc. And Thanksgiving.  Plus, we got a new foster cat we've nicknamed Hissy Pissy until his attitude improves.

I didn't get a lick of writing done on the weekend, and only a little study.  Still, I'm a professional. I'll catch up -and- get my assignments done.

Other things, such as housework, will most likely fall by the wayside. Don't tell His Grace. He thinks I'm keeping the house clean.

__________________________
Her Grace is also mostly over her infected throat so she can get back to narration as well. Oh, and singing, as rehearsals for Christmas have started.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

NaNoWriMo Day 4 - Disappointment

So I'm writing along and I needed the name of a neighbourhood. No problem. After all, I did some serious research last week and came up with the best info for worldbuilding ever.

I go look through my notes and... nothing. What? Where did all my hard work go? Why do I only have half the info I thought I did?

Because several days ago my computer fell asleep and never woke up. I had to do a hard reboot, and it appears I forgot to hit save before the computer fell asleep. I lost eight hours of research time.

Fortunately, I remembered my search terms and Google remembered which pages I'd visited, so I was able to recreate most of my research in half the time it originally took.

Still, most annoying, as those several hours recreating my work could have been better spent creating new wordage. Also annoying are those few factlets that would have been perfect, if only I could remember what they were.


__________________________
Her Grace wants you to know that 19th Century clockmakers all clustered around Clerkenwell.

Friday, 3 November 2017

NaNoWriMo Day 1 - Epiphany

Welcome to NaNoWriMo, that month of insanity where millions of authors all over the world attempt to create 50K of a novel. (If you're one of them, feel free to buddy up, though I will be mostly working and not so much socialising. I've got goals.)

This is my 15+ year of doing this.

Before I started this year, I vowed to myself I would play with voice. I'm not happy with my voice and want to enrich it. Put some thought into what kind of imagery I wanted, read a few really good flash fiction with voice and did the whole imagine pre-writing idealism to get in mind what I wanted.

Attended an official NaNo Write In on Wednesday night. Sat down and, with the goal of voiciness in mind, cranked out 3K words. Cranking out wordage is a doddle for me. But when I got home and re-read my stuff, I saw my usual dull voice had drifted back in, despite my best efforts. Drat. I'd rushed things.

Spent Thursday morning on a NoNo for NaNo: editing.

The thing with NaNoWriMo is that once you push into pure wordage, habit takes over. For those who don't have a writing habit, it's pushes your boundaries. But for me, with more than a million words under my belt as an author, sheer speed doesn't challenge me.  Currently voice is a challenge for me, and to play with that, one must slow down.

So I went back and edited. I examined each sentence to see what it did right, and what it did wrong. I analysed my word choices and structure. I recast several until they sang instead of sat there.

However, when I was done, I was much happier with my words. Subsequent wordage for the month will go forward not so much with a focus on quantity but quality. If it means I must slow down, then I shall slow down.

Oh, I'll be able to get my 50K in, no problem. Not my first rodeo.

First Lesson Learned: Focus on your true goal. You don't get a Grade 8 piano player stumbling over a B Major grand scale. It flows under their fingers. But only if you make the thumbs fall where they need to.

To aid in this, my reading for the month is "Daniel Deronda" by George Eliot. Talk about voice!

November is a busy month for me, with the end of the semester (applying for Hubble time!), ladyships' end-of-year concerts and Thanksgiving as well as NaNoWriMo. While I've been doing my best to read more indie authors, I'm finding they don't quite have the voice I'm looking for. I'll be putting them aside for the month for tried-and-true Classic literature.

Second Lesson Learned: the Classics are classic for a reason. Yes, many a high school student finds them boring and dull and difficult to read, but if you move your focus from the tedious plot and the depressing characters and look at the pure beauty of how words are being used, that is where the classic-ness is to be found.

______________________________
Her Grace is also pushing herself by hoping to reach 80K instead of the recommended 50K.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Feeling of Freedom

Busy-ness hunted me down today at the Day Job and dogged my poor, confused heels. We're in the process of changing/upgrading a few things, which means a change in procedure and documentation. On top of that, nearly everyone in the office headed off to a meeting, leaving me to guard the phones. So when I got stuck on something I'd never done before, there was no one I could ask for help until they got back from the meeting. Not that I was stuck in a rut; there was plenty of other things that needed doing. Still, it was frustrating.

TL;DR - I got nearly everything sorted, but it was a hard slog.

I'm lucky in that I work fixed hours. When it comes time for me to leave, I am expected to leave, whether or not all my work is done. Yep, that's pretty much a drop-everything-and-scram rule... within reason. We can finish off whatever task we're on, then ignore the rest in our company-sanctioned amscray.

Today when I left, it was such a profound sense of relief to simply abandon my work for another day and take off. I had to stop myself from running across the parking lot in my mad bid for freedom. I was so looking forward to getting home and getting to work on my novel outline. Nothing like a frustrating day at the Day Job to make me really appreciate my writing career.

Don't get me wrong; my writing career is also frustrating, but in a different way. I came home to learn a grant application had been denied, and two (TWO!) form rejections from agents. Le sigh. At least nothing can stop me from working on my outline.

Project Status


  • Of The Dark - ready for final professional copyedits... as soon as I can source the funds for the editor.
  • Currently Unsupervised - oaked and aging. Will come back to it in December (at the earliest) for first-round edits. Hoping to hop on the query train in early 2018.
  • Victorian Clockpunk Telescope - outline nearly done for NaNoWriMo. While the NaNoGoal is a mere 50K, I'm hoping I can get 80K done in November, despite being unable to take the month off work, like I usually do.
  • Audiobooks - paused for QC. Recording will continue as soon as I'm over my chest cold.
  • Everything Else - waiting. The projects I'm working on right now are the best ones for the moment. Nothing else can progress until these all level up.
___________________________
Her Grace looks forward to a day when the Day Job is no longer required.

Friday, 13 October 2017

More state of the union

When I am quiet online, it is because I am busy in real life.

My latest newsletter went out a few weeks ago. If you haven't signed up for the Quarterly Newsletter, you missed out on some stuff I don't mention on the blog.

The Day Job is so-so, and I can't wait to transition to full-time author, but for now it provides a steady income without too much stress. Alas, it's not quiiite enough income to support my writing habit, so I've applied for a grant once more. Probably won't get it, as the grant-givers don't appear to support genre fiction. They seem to prefer the literary stuff. Is that prejudice on their part, overt or unconscious? They definitely support Australiana, which is something I expect them to do.

I am working on outlining two possible NaNoWriMo projects. Not sure which one I'll end up with. Depends on which one is ready to go on 1 Nov.  Are you doing NaNo this year? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I know it's only October, but all the End of the Year stuff is happening. Australian school terms go from Feb to Dec, so Their Ladyships are in their fourth term. So much to think about, so much to do! I am looking forward to the end-of-year concerts.

Meanwhile, enjoy this brilliant Microwave Chocolate Cake in a Mug recipe from Cleobuttera. It is the best one I've found.


_____________________________
Her Grace has a perfect plan for a novel trilogy. Only thing it needs is money, or time.