Adventures in Self-Publishing: Juggling the Writing Career and the Day Job

The perils of balancing a writing career and a day job.
The perils of balancing a writing career and a day job, courtesy of Naruto.

Why did I think preparing my first book for release in the middle of Third Quarter would be a good idea, again?  *DED*

Don’t fret…I’m not about to give up, not just yet.  I may be a walking zombie by the end of this, but I have my cups of coffee and tea, my sugar boosters (read: Pocky), and a stubborn will to see this through, completed and to my satisfaction, and ON TIME.

I tell you, though…this past month and a half, I’m convinced my day job has caught wind of my extracurricular activities and has piled on the extra work accordingly.  The volume has quadrupled for some reason, and I’m also getting hit by ‘where’s my two dollars’ queries left and right.  It’s not pretty.

But I’m still on target.  I have less than a hundred pages to go on this final edit, and I just have the formatting and the uploading to do, and I’m done.  I have a week and a half to do it (really, two weeks but I gave myself a buffer in case there are any hitches).  I CAN DO THIS.

Really, I can.  I’m just really going to feel it afterwards.

*

I’ve been saying it for years: the day job is my paycheck, but my writing is my career.  I do okay at my day job, and I’m even an SME (subject matter expert) on a few things we do.  But come four o’clock in the afternoon, I log off and completely forget about it.  My bosses know I only dedicate myself to the job within the hours I’m assigned and no more, because I have this writing gig going on.  I told them that up front when they hired me, so they understand if I don’t really plan on expanding my resume there any time soon.

Still, it can get pretty crazy, balancing between the job and the writing. One often drains you of the other, so it’s up to you to decide which deserves your stubborn refusal to give up and which one falls by the wayside.  Sometimes it’s the day job (if you can swing it), and sometimes it’s the book.  It’s frustrating when you have to decide on one or the other.  I’ve always tried my best to stay with both for as long as I can, or at least until I need a physical and mental break, mainly to avoid having to make that choice.  Sometimes that comes back to bite me in the butt in the form of illness or exhaustion.  Is it worth it, though?  That’s up to personal choice.  It’s worth it for me, at any rate.

Going the indie route has put an interesting spin on it, however.  Not only am I balancing an unexpectedly heavy workload at the day job, I’m doing pretty much everything that goes into making a self-published book, both before and after the drop date.  The release date is only one of many goals; once it’s out there, I have to start nudging it in various directions to promote it.  That’s going to be a bit of a long-term job…alongside starting the process all over again for The Persistence of Memories.

It’s not for everyone, I’ll tell you that.  There are a lot of moving parts, a lot of things to pay attention to, a lot of things that could go wrong…and the temptation to kludge one or the other and call it done.  And you don’t want to do that for either one.  I’m only doing this because I want to, and I know exactly what I’m doing this time out.

Still…tell me again why I thought this was going to be a good idea during the one of the busiest times of the year at my day job…?

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