Need a New Week; Story Behind the Panic

I’m going to be pissy and irritable for the rest of this week.  I seem to always have a week where nothing goes right and it tends to be proportionate to the amount of people in the house.  As much as I love my family, they’re louder than an elephant with a megaphone stuck in its trunk.  Half the time one person is yelling at the other for being too loud, which tends to result in me saying both people are loud then getting a double shot of ‘stay out of it’.  For some reason, I always get the ‘I left you alone today’ statement from a few of them at the end of the day.  Then they get annoyed if I point out that they didn’t.  Speaking very loudly at someone else while standing next to me doesn’t count as leaving me alone.  Disappearing for an hour or two and leaving me with the toddler while he’s in a tantrum doesn’t count as leaving me alone.  Unlike everyone else around here, I’m not really taking time off from my ‘job’.

That’s possibly the crux of the issue too.  I’ve had this week of everyone being around and annoying me at the same time I’m falling off the genre lists.   Not being on the Hot New Release definitely slowed down the momentum.  I got over 1,500 eBook sales and the sequel will boost it again in theory, but I keep feeling like I’m not working hard enough to keep the momentum going.  (I hear the toddler coming after me as I type this, which means everyone else has gone into hiding.)  Okay, I don’t feel like I’m working too hard here because I don’t feel like I’ve made any progress.  Not on my editing, not on my other books, not even on my blogging.  Part of me knows that things cooling off and this week of everyone being in the house is a coincidence, but it’s one that’s happened before.  The last time everyone was home for a few days, I got nothing done.

This brings up the question of what the hell is going to happen if I ever make it to the level where I have deadlines.  A publisher/agent/whatever isn’t going to accept ‘my family is a pack of intrusive bastards’ as an excuse.  I’d go away for a few months to get work done, but the truth is that playing with my son is a great break from writing.  I just wish people would watch him long enough for me to get a little work done.

Here’s the kicker of all of this: I have a June deadline.  This might explain why I become so panicky if anyone was wondering.  When I made the decision to go full speed ahead on my writing career, a ‘deal’ was struck with the parents.  They gave me a deadline for success on this entire endeavor.  I have until the end of June 2013 to prove that I can make a living off being an author.  If I fail then I’m sent back into the world of cubicles where I die a slow, agonizing, soul-crushing death.  I have yet to get their definition of success, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.  Every obstacle and slip feels that much more terrifying because I don’t know what June will bring.  Some days it sounds like I’ve already proven myself while others it sounds like I’m still on the chopping block.  The lack of help when everyone in the house makes me feel like I’m being sabotaged.  Selling over 1,500 eBooks might not be enough to extend the deadline or prove my point if it ends here.

Several friends have called this ‘deal’ unfair or arbitrary and they’re probably right.  I’m just not in the position to really argue it.  If they say I fail and I keep writing then I have to deal with intentional interference while I try to work.  If things are this bad when they’re trying to help then intentional will see me in a psych ward.  That’s the other thing.  I REALLY don’t want to go back to the land of human zoos and printer/copiers that jam every 20 minutes.  It nearly destroyed me and I’m not exaggerating.  My last big job left me with panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, bitterness, and hate that still lingers to this day.  I still have a tightness in my chest when going by the exit on the parkway that I used to take.  This is the world my family wants me to plunge back into?  They despised me when I became that husk of a person, yet that’s my fate if things truly go south.

I admit that the chances of things going horrible get less with every sale and the sequel will be a big help.  I should email my cover artist today to see how he’s doing because I haven’t heard from him since early March.  Now to close up shop for an hour or so, have breakfast, ride my bike for 11 miles, and then take a mostly toddler day.  This was the day I was going to spend a bunch of time with him with a few breaks to check things on-line and give my back a rest from horse-y time.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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10 Responses to Need a New Week; Story Behind the Panic

  1. The pressure of that arbitrary deadline is unfair – and hopefully the signs of success will encourage your parents to extend it. Well, that or your sequel is successful enough that they don’t need to.

    But think of it like this… there are many successful authors who still have to work another job. Even ‘name’ authors. I was in a job that took over my life and meant that I couldn’t write. I eventually saved up some money, I quit and am now spending some time writing while I look for another job. I know I’ll have to take that job but I also know that I’ll go in with a completely different mindset – one that allows me understand better what my priorities are and balance my life and my mental state in a way makes things a whole lot better. And I believe I can make it work. Sure, I want to get to a stage where I can earn a living out of my writing – but I’m trying to see the big picture in the meantime.

    Got my fingers (and everything else) crossed for you. The pressure is unfair but there’s more than one way to succeed at this.

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    • That’s thing about the job. I tried to find that balance for over 10 years and it never happened. I’d come home from work to the chaos of the house even when it was just me and my wife. Losing that giant chunk of daylight killed me and brought my writing to a near standstill. I had to wait until she had gone to bed before I could work and by then I was too exhausted to do anything worthwhile.
      Then the disasters started. I’ve never been fired for being a bad employee, but I’ve been let go for tight money and the company simply going under. I really can’t bring myself to be at the whim of someone else and never knowing if I’m working my last week. There’s never been a warning when this happens and that’s created a mentality where I don’t even want to try at the day job. Maybe that will change when I get a few books out there and it’s less important, but going back to that world of being an office drone is terrifying. That’s one of my main drives right now. I feel like the moment I go back into that world, I’m as good as dead. Might be dramatic, but it nearly destroyed me once and I’m still surprised I got out of it without medication or a drinking problem. So, the deadline worries me probably more than it would if I didn’t have that past.

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      • That’s fair enough Charles – and sorry if my response sounded patronising at all. You’ve been through a huge amount and it’s beyond admirable that your drive and ambition have got you to this stage. Personally, I find your story a really inspiring one and I hope you make it.

        But if worst comes to worst, maybe the time away from a job will help you to go back with a different mentality if you ever do have to jump back in.

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      • Don’t worry. I didn’t find it patronizing. I just tend to go a little overboard when the topic comes up. The ‘scars’ are still pretty close to the surface, so they get set off pretty easily.
        I hope you’re right about the new mentality. I’d be going back to a temp agency if that happened and it’s what my wife is doing now. Unfortunately, it isn’t going too well. A series of ‘sure things’ kept turning into nothing for one reason or another. It’s really deflating after the third time.

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  2. Matilda Aya says:

    I hear ya about the noise, the day job, the “support”–and I don’t mean “support” sarcastically, I mean that’s their idea of support, which is, really, the best they can give without understanding how difficult it is to move back and forth between living in The world and creating, becoming and refining a story world.

    You have reason to be uncomfortable and uncertain because the terms are ambiguous and money’s always a source of stress, especially when there ain’t enough. But right now, you’re making the most of the best your family can offer, and they really are doing their best. While it isn’t perfect or ideal and it’s an emotional roller coaster, isn’t it great?

    Whatever comes your way, you can deal with it. But right now, worrying about what’s coming is pointless–You’ve got a job. Sometimes you can do it in the house. Sometimes you can’t. And it seems like the kink that needs immediate working out is alternative places to work, and possibly alternative tools. Maybe?

    Like

    • I’ve looked into a lot of alternatives and none of them have worked out. My laptop can’t hold a charge long enough for me to work outside. The library requires me to get there by 9 and even then it isn’t as quiet as the old days. Heck, there were a few times my family actually hunted me down in the library because they needed something or were ‘in the neighborhood’. So, I’m basically stuck in the house to work this out until I can afford my own place and claim a room as my office. By then I might not need it because I’d only have to fend off the wife and the toddler.
      I’d get into the support issue, but that’s a closet in the skeleton that I probably shouldn’t let out to play. Let’s just say my familial support has been questionable at best for 17 years.

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      • Matilda Aya says:

        I understand about the family thing. It’s… yeah. But as questionable as it is, it may really be the best they can do. Some people just don’t know how to be supportive, in any sense of the word. At least they’re making an attempt. Even if it’s a perfunctory one. It’s something.

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      • Good point. I think that is part of the problem. My family knows how to support the lawyers, doctors, teacher, and bio-chemist of my generation. Those jobs require an obvious education and path. As the writer, nobody really knows what to do for me. It’s not paying for college or giving me money (which has been offered a few times), but spreading the word and they don’t know how to do that. Most of them haven’t even read the book because it isn’t their genre, which makes it harder for them. Guess I should give them some credit . . . at least until they set me off again like clockwork.

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  3. Sounds tough over there and to say I “like” your post is a bit of a misnomer but I do understand it. If you have no success criterion for making writing your day job how can your family croak at you?
    Is there no way you could take yourself off somewhere? convert the loft but don’t put a staircase in, just a rope ladder? Shed in the garden? Library? Then negotiate some “I’m at the office” time. That’s the kicker really, if you work at home your friends and family don’t see it as you working and so you’re available etc etc. I feel for you.

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    • Yeah, but I have nowhere else to go, especially in the winter. As I mentioned in another comment, I’ve walked to the nearby library, but I would need to get there by 9 and even then it’s still noisy at times. I also would have to leave for lunch, which forfeits my seat near the outlets and that forces me back home. Laptop can survive on the battery for about 45-60 minutes. Still, a few times my family has come hunting for me because they needed me or were in the neighborhood. It was suggested that I drive to a further library, but that costs gas and it doesn’t guarantee I’ll get a good spot. I would have a spot upstairs on my desk, but my wife took that over with her scrapbooking supplies. There’s nowhere else to put those without incurring my dad’s anti-clutter wrath, so it stays there. Let’s face it. I’m like one of those lone warriors going up against an army of thousands and I’m just hoping to survive long enough for them to decide they have better things to do.

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