Using Tarot to Understand Your Characters and Their Actions.

A while back I wrote a post about using the Myers-Briggs Personality test to define your characters and give them depth. It was a popular post, so I thought I’d come up with another way to understand characters, and see into their future.

Using Tarot cards is a unique way to find out what your characters are going through, and perhaps help you decide what they should do next. Since you’re reading Tarot for characters and not real people, you don’t have to be an expert on Tarot to do it. And unless you’re interested in learning to read Tarot, you don’t even have to buy a deck of cards. You can use online Tarot decks and draw cards from there.

A bit of background: I have been reading Tarot cards for nearly twelve years. My mom bought me my first deck for Christmas and said, “Your great-grandmother used to read tea leaves in Ireland. Maybe you’ll be good at this.”

I don’t know if I’m good at it, but I’m definitely passionate about Tarot. I’ve spent years studying tarot, reading tarot for myself and others, and acquiring new decks. My first deck was the Marseilles deck, which is one of the oldest decks in use today.artisanal-igorbarzilai

 

My next deck was the Rider Waite deck. Probably the most widely used deck, this is a good one to start with if you’re a beginner.

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The deck I use now is the Legacy deck, which is more modern and has stunning artwork. There are numerous decks to choose from, and if you choose to embrace Tarot, you’ll understand the feeling when you connect with a deck. Legacy is my deck.

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If you don’t want to purchase a deck to read for your characters, here’s a good link for an online Tarot card spread http://serennu.com/tarot/horseshoe.php

That link offers a seven card horseshoe spread.

(*Note: This example is a simplified reading for a fictional person. Reading Tarot for real people is much more in-depth, and personal. Spreads are often more complex, and the reader is very careful with how they deliver the message of the reading to the querant.)

I drew cards for my character Mara, the main character in The Dia Chronicles series. In book two, The Embers of Light, Mara was left with a broken heart, some hard decisions, and her enemy still on the loose. I thought of her as I shuffled the cards, and the ones that came up were very interesting. For the purpose of this example I chose a five card horseshoe spread, with a card in the center known as a significator, to represent Mara. I will only give brief descriptions of each card, but if you read for your character, take the time to understand what each card is telling you.

 

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Summary of the Reading.

The cards reflect Mara’s broken heart and her sense of loss. They suggest that perhaps she’s made a wrong choice, which has contributed her to sadness. Her obstacle is clearly a person, a young man, with a selfish, childish demeanor. Her strength is another young knight, a man with a balanced view of the world and a generous heart. She must find this person to help her through this tough time. He might even have the answers she needs. The final card reveals the outcome, which seems different than what Mara has planned. Her life will be shaken up, and she’ll have to accept fate in order to succeed. (See the individual cards below).

This reading is helpful to me because there is a potential ending in book three I’ve been thinking about for some time, but was unsure if it’s the best choice. I can see from the cards that I should go with my gut and use the planned alternate ending, because it will create balance for my characters.

The Reading Card by Card.

Significator – represents the subject of the reading, Mara: Queen of Swords. The queen of swords is an independent woman. She is perceptive, assertive, independent, and a natural leader. At her worst she can be vengeful, short tempered, and deceitful when she thinks it will benefit her cause.

Card #1 – Where the character is now. Five of Cups Reversed – Separation from a partner. Loss. Inner Turmoil. Regret.

Card #2 – The character’s next step. Seven of Cups Reversed – Wrong choices. Overestimating yourself. Seduction.

Card #3 – Obstacles. Knight of Swords Reversed – Often represents a person who is reckless, unrealistic, impulsive, and foolish. This person acts first and thinks second. (Sound like Malcolm, perhaps?)

Card #4 – Strengths and Resources. Knight of Cups Upright – An honorable, possibly attractive man. He is considerate and thoughtful in his actions, but not afraid to jump into the fray. He prefers peace to violence, but as a knight he will defend those he loves. (Definitely sounds like Corbin).

Card #5 – Outcome. Judgement. A Major Arcana card, also known as a destiny card. This card represents a major change of life, a new phase, a new cycle. Face the things you fear, make the hard decisions. This character will have to accept fate, even if it’s not what she planned, in order to have a positive outcome.

What do you think, would Tarot help you with your characters? If you choose to do a reading for them, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thediachronicles

Why Authors Should Stop Stressing About Book Pirates.

Book Pirate

I see the statuses and tweets often. An author has discovered their book on a pirating site and is FURIOUS about it. After all, why shouldn’t they be? Their work is being stolen, the hours of writing, revising, and editing has been reduced to a freebie download for any cheapskate to steal at will.

The first time I spotted one of my books on a pirating site I was livid, but as time went on, and I got used to hunting these files down and requesting their removal, my perspective on book pirating changed. Hear me out, and perhaps the next time you spot your book on a pirating site you won’t feel the wrath of Lucifer bubbling up inside you.

Pirating is NEVER Going Away. Get Used To It.

This is just common sense. Pirating has been around forever, and with the digital age, it’s only gotten worse. Hollywood and the music industry were the first to feel the effects of digital pirating, and they took up a fight to try and prevent it. Millions were spent suing websites, fighting for legislation, and trying to create a digital barrier between pirate sites and would-be downloaders. Much like the war on drugs, the war on pirating has proven difficult, and nearly impossible to win. Book pirates are the same. We can’t stop them, no matter what we do. If we find a new way to encrypt ebooks, they’ll find a new way to steal them.

It’s A Right Of Passage.

It might not be the most pleasant right of passage, but it does mark your transition from aspiring author to published author. Congratulations! Someone finds your book interesting enough to steal it!

When I was an aspiring author I would have done anything to get people to read my work. During the drafting process of my first published novel, I pushed it on anyone willing to give it a read. If you had told me back then that someone would want to STEAL my work, I probably would have wrapped it in a bow and sent it off with a thank you card. So if someone is pirating your book, you’re officially in the club. 🙂

Most Of The Sites Are Fake.

In my quest to track down and vanquish book pirates I’ve discovered that most of the sites claiming to offer my book for download are total bullshit. One site might say that 1200 people have already downloaded it, another says 26,000. That’s a lot of books! And if I calculate the royalties lost on those numbers I might faint. BUT if you go a step further and actually try to download your own book you’ll find that you can’t. You either get prompted to enter a credit card number or the links lead to nowhere. Oftentimes these are bait sites designed to lure in unsuspecting book-seekers, and when they try to download the link they get hit with a virus. So if you see your book has been downloaded 47,000,000 times, don’t freak out, chances are, it hasn’t.

But what if it has?

Worst Case Scenario: You’ve Found New Readers.

Chances are the illegal downloaders did not hinder the legitimate sales you’ve made. Let’s face it, those people illegally downloading your books were probably never going to buy your book anyway. I know, I know . . . you don’t want to give your books away for free, but in the unfortunate event that it HAS been downloaded a bunch of times, stay calm. The truth of the matter is, readers have found your work, maybe they even like your work, maybe they join your FB page, follow you on Twitter, maybe they go on to buy your other books, or tell all their friends about how much they loved your book.

If your book was in a library and you found out it was borrowed 6,000 times, are you upset that you weren’t paid royalties on 6,000 sales? If your book is in paperback, and someone buys it, reads it, and sells it to a used bookstore that then sells to another person, would you be angry you weren’t given a cut of each sale?

No.

You’d be happy that people were reading your book, and hopefully that reader is the word-of-mouth you’re going to need to be successful. As a new author you’re main goal should never be income. It should always be exposure. You want everyone and their mother to read your book, and if your book is being pirated, you have certainly been exposed. 😉

Book Pirates Suck! Book Downloaders Might Not.

We can all agree that the hosting sites for book pirating are a bunch of SUPER JERKS! If not for them being the book pusher, we might not have this problem. But they’re here to stay, so let’s take a look at the people downloading these pirated books. Do you have an image of who might be sitting behind that computer, snickering as they basically steal your work? I used to, but in my search of pirating sites, I came across something that made me reconsider my view of the downloaders.

My first book, The Darkness of Light, was available for download on a pirating site. I know it had actually been downloaded because people were discussing it in the forum. Then in the thread, someone posted the cover of the sequel, The Embers of Light, asking where it was available. The thread went on and on, and no one could find the link anywhere (it was fairly new at that point, so it’s definitely available now). A few of the posters made comments to the original poster about buying the book, that illegally downloading books was wrong.

The original poster, and some of the follow-up commenters defended themselves. One guy said he lives in the Philippines, doesn’t have a tablet, and can’t afford to buy the books he wants. Another poster said her parents wouldn’t let her buy books like that. A few others showed little concern for their actions.

It was a mixed bag of responses, and while I completely agree that book pirating sucks, I feel better about it knowing that people, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to my books, found a way to read them. This is why I no longer get angry when I spot my books on sites. If I can find one true reader, take the damn book if you can find it.

Taking Action.

Since the previously mentioned site appeared to be a legitimate downloading site I sent the DMCA Takedown Notice (you can find a sample notice to copy here) to the admin, and within 24 hours, my books were removed.

Now I have a monthly routine for hunting pirates. Somewhere around the first of the month I track my sales numbers, enter them into a spreadsheet, then move on to Google and type in my name, and the names of my books to find pirated copies.

I almost always find at least one website claiming to have one or all of my books available for download. If I can find a place to contact them, I send the DMCA notice and forget it. If I can’t find contact info, it’s usually a virus download so I don’t bother.

Then I go about my day, happily writing books and not spending an ounce of energy on book thieves. Sure, I could spend hours trying to track down the hosting sites, checking and rechecking to see if they’ve taken the books down, but what good does that do? I’m wasting my time being angry when I could be writing. And after all, isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing most of the time anyway. 🙂

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Seven Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Buy My Books

Now that I’ve been a published author for one full year, and I’ve spent these last twelve months marketing, blogging, and tweeting about why you should buy my books, I think it’s time to get real with you. I want to save you all the trouble. It’s time to tell you why you shouldn’t buy my books.

7 – I’m an indie author

Yes, it’s true—I’m an independent author. I don’t have an agent, I don’t have a publisher, and I pay for the production of my books up front. By now we’ve all seen, and maybe even read, at least one train wreck of a self-published book. It might have soured your opinion of indie books altogether, and I don’t blame you. But I can promise you that professional editors, cover designers, and formatters have worked on my books. While no books, not even traditionally published books, are entirely free of errors, I have taken every step possible to provide the best quality product for my readers.

But . . . if you think indie authors are just traditional publishing rejects, and have no talent to make it in the business, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

6 – I’m not famous

Only my dad and my friend’s six-year-old son think I’m famous. To everyone else I’m just another author trying to sell my wares. I’ve never made the NYT Bestsellers list, I’ve never been asked to speak at a writer’s convention, and I’m guessing the cease and desist letter I got from HBO means they’re not interested in adapting my novels. Okay, that last point wasn’t true, but you get my what I’m saying.

I might not have a long list of dedicated readers waiting in line at Barnes and Noble for my latest release, but one year into being a published author I do have a growing fan base. I’ve even received quite a few emails from readers all over the world, writing just to tell me how much they liked one of my books. So while I may not be famous in the conventional sense of the word, sometimes my readers make me feel famous.

If my “nobody” status bothers you, and you’d rather read a book from a well-known author with rave reviews, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

5 – I’m a shameless rule breaker. I break 6 of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. Somebody should stop me right now!

I must confess, I’ve always been one to bend the rules, but when it comes to my writing, I happily take those rules and break them whenever I damn well please. It’s not that I don’t know what the rules are. I know them very well. But if I want to use an adverb, a variety of dialog tags, or describe a setting, then I’m going to do it! I’m mindful of how and when I use them, but I can assure you, you’ll find broken rules scattered throughout my books. It’s like a rule graveyard in there.

So if you’re a stern believer in the rules of writing, please, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS.

4 – They’re not free

With the digital publishing age, millions of books are at our fingertips, and many of these digital books are free. Why would anyone want to pay money for my books when they can get a similar book for free?

You see, the trouble is that I don’t want to give my books away. Yes, I love writing. Yes, I would continue to write books even if no one wanted to read them. And yes, occasionally I will offer a title free for a day or two. But if I’m going to have fancy covers, editors, and formatters, I have to justify the cost of production with at least a marginal return on my investment. The good news is that, so far, I’ve earned more money than I put out to produce my books, which tells me I must be doing something right.

But if you’re offended that I’m asking you to pay to read my work, or if you’re irritated that any of my books cost more than 99 cents, DO. NOT. BUY. MY BOOKS. Like, ever.

3 – I like cliffhangers.

I love them! And while I don’t always employ the hard-hitting, mid-scene-cutting cliffhanger, I like to leave the door open for the next book. In some of my books I wrap up the main story and leave a teaser for the next, in others I leave some unfinished business. It’s just the way I write and if you’re going to read my books, be prepared for a cliff here and there.

The good news is that if you’re not too enraged by my cliffhanger, you can always go on to read the next book in the series. I promise the answers you seek will be right there.

But if you can’t stand a cliffhanger, and you would prefer a series to be a two-thousand-page book, then I warn you, DO NOT BUY MY BOOKS.

2 – Some people don’t like them.

If you’re still reading this post, then you’re either a glutton for punishment, or I haven’t done a good enough job of convincing you not to buy my books. This should do it: there are people who HATE my books. It’s true. My books have gotten one and two star reviews; endings have been called trite, characters unconvincing, and it has been stated that certain plots make no sense at all. Some people hated my books so much they couldn’t even get through them. To some people, my books are just that awful.

I guess I should quit torturing the world with my vapid prose and one-dimensional characters, but like any visionary mind, I’m driven by my passion and positive feedback. For every negative review my books receive, there are double, and even triple the positive reviews. For example, The Darkness of Light has a 4.7 average star rating on Amazon, and a 56% 5 star rating on Goodreads. And despite the horror show that some claim this book to be, people still keep buying it. Weird. I wonder when the world will catch on to my failures and stop encouraging me. 😉

So be forewarned, if you don’t want a book that some people don’t like, DON’T BUY ANY OF MY BOOKS.

Are you still with me? If so, this should be the nail in the coffin for you . . .

1 – I didn’t write these books for you. I wrote them for me.

I’ve tried to write them for you. I really have. But it’s never worked out. Initially, my debut novel, The Darkness of Light, was merely the result of a crazed mission to claw my way out of writer’s block. As I wrote chapter after chapter, publication was never on my mind. I was just happy to be writing again and completely in love with the story. It wasn’t until after I’d finished writing it that I started to consider publication.

The same is true with all my other books, even if the genre is a popular one. I started writing The Embers of Light with reader expectations in mind, but when I kept hitting brick walls I decided to stop focusing on what my readers expected, and focused on the story I wanted to tell. That’s the only way I can write. I’m sorry. And I swear that if no one ever bought another one of my books again, I would still want to write them.

So if you want something tailored specifically to reader expectations, DON’T BUY MY BOOKS. I guarantee they won’t always follow the guidelines of the genre, they won’t all have happy endings, and they won’t be predictable. If you can’t put it down, that’s not my fault. I warned you.

Here are the covers of the books you shouldn’t buy, just in case you get lured in by the pretty covers and intriguing blurbs. It’s happened to quite a few people, and I wouldn’t want you to fall victim as well. You might end up loving them and hating me for it. 😉

AllBooksAnd if that’s not enough, you can add this Amazon page to your block list.

RELEASE DAY for Kristen Strassel’s THE TROUBLE WITH BREE

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We’d love for you to join us in celebrating the release of THE TROUBLE WITH BREE (A Spotlight Series Novella) by Kristen Strassel! Checkout the excerpt below!

TTWB ebook FOR WEB

Title: THE TROUBLE WITH BREE (A Spotlight Series Novella)

Author: Kristen Strassel

Age: NA

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: January 19, 2015

Goodreads Page

Amazon

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Blurb:

The trouble with Bree is…

Bree Farrell is ready to turn her life around. A twenty-one-year-old mother of two, she’s not sure where to start. She could use a little help, but her string of horrible ex-boyfriends keep setting her back. First step: she’s swearing off men forever. Or at least until she gets back on her feet.

Josh Maxwell got a second chance at life, and now he wants to help kids who are in the same situation he was in. His new job as the coordinator at a preschool for underprivileged kids is the perfect place to do that.

On paper, the policy not to get involved with the families of the students makes perfect sense. But when Bree meets the new coordinator of her son’s school, she and Josh learn that some rules are made to be broken, no matter what the consequences.

EXCERPT

He ran a hand through his hair. The curls didn’t go back to the exact same place. “Does it bother you? To have someone so new be in charge of Landon’s school?”

“Are people giving you a hard time because you’re young?” I asked. I did some quick math in my head, and settled on Josh being twenty-five.

“Yeah.” Josh looked a defeated. “The administrators wanted someone fresh, but then they’re not always open to new ideas. It’s a struggle.”

“This is what I think. I’ve been in charge of Landon up until now, and something tells me you’re a couple years older than me. I’m a little biased, but I like to think I’m doing all right. So if I can do it, you can totally handle him three mornings a week.”

Josh leaned back on the couch, relief washing over his face. Maybe his age did bother some other people. Whatever. People judged first and asked questions later. I stopped letting it bother me when I had to bring Landon with me to high school. “I knew I liked you,” he said.

“Did you?” A smile spread across my face.

“You were the best fifteen minutes of my day.” He nodded. “Those evaluations can be pretty stiff, but with you guys, I felt like I was talking to friends. That’s why I asked if I could see you again. To be honest with you, I shouldn’t be doing this.”

And there it was. The catch. “Why?”

“It’s against school policy to have a relationship with the students outside of school related activities. That includes their parents.”

“That makes sense.” There were so many creeps out there, in most circumstances, I’d be one hundred percent in favor of that rule. But now I was wondering what the loophole was.

Josh had gone back to the kitchen for a second round of food, and dropped another Rangoon on my plate when he came back. “That’s actually why I didn’t get in touch with you right away. But I just moved here, and you were the first girl I couldn’t stop thinking about.”

My heart stuttered in my chest, confused. He couldn’t stop thinking about me, but he already had his doubts. He was putting a lot on the line by just being here. “I’d said on the way to the meeting that I was never going to date again.”

He raised an eyebrow. “So we’re both breaking the rules.”

About the Author:

Kristen

Kristen shares a birthday with Steven Tyler and Diana Ross. She spends each day striving to be half as fabulous as they are. She’s worn many hats, none as flattering as her cowboy hat: banker, retail manager, fledgling web designer, world’s worst cocktail waitress, panty slinger, now makeup artist and author. She loves sunshine, live music, the middle of nowhere, and finding new things to put in her house.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

THE EMBERS OF LIGHT IS COMING SOON!

Get ready! January 28th will be here sooner than you think. 🙂

You can pre-order the paperback of THE EMBERS OF LIGHT, the second book in The Dia Chronicles Here.

And here are some teasers for you. We’ve got new conflicts, new characters, and lots of drama for you in book two.

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Publishing Books Is Like Investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Publishing books is like investing, NOT like winning the lottery.

Of course, we all wish it was. It would be nice to write your debut novel, see it published, and suddenly it becomes an overnight success, but chances are that’s not going to happen.

Hopefully, what really happens is that you write a book, gain some fans, make some sales, and write another book.

Each book you write is an investment in your future, and your career. When you save for retirement, do you put $100 on a stock and hope it grows to a million? Noooo. You save over time, build on what you have, and diversify your portfolio.

Publishing books is very similar. You have to keep writing books, keeping depositing into your writing portfolio, and keep growing your audience.

I realized this when I released the first two novellas in my Highborn Chronicles a few months ago. My first novel, The Darkness of Light, was starting to slip in sales and I was still months away from releasing the sequel. Then I released The Highborn Chronicles and suddenly sales jumped across the board. I was bringing in new readers that also bought my first book, and my current readers were excited for something to tide them over until The Embers of Light comes out. So the more I write, the more readers find me, and the more my other books sell. The formula is so simple.

Now, like investing, there’s a chance not all of your books will make gains all the time. That’s just the nature of the business. I’ve noticed months where I make a lot of sales, and months (like December) when book sales tend to decline. That doesn’t mean you are a failure, and that doesn’t mean you should quit writing books.

WRITE MORE!

The more you write, the higher the chances that you’ll eventually create that gem that makes the rest of your work soar. If your first book didn’t do so well, write another, change your approach, expand your knowledge of the craft. Giving up means NOT investing. And I think we all know by now that investing in your future is something we all HAVE to do. 😉

Happy writing.

 

 

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

You never learn anything from critics.

Sometimes inspiration and insight come from the strangest places. Yesterday, none other than Shia LaBeouf turned on a light bulb in my head. I know, right—how strange.

I was reading Dazed and Confused Magazine’s piece on him. It’s a fascinating article about (who I feel) is a young man struggling to find inner balance in the face of personal turmoil, professional mistakes, and fame. I was fascinated as I read the article, but when I came to one simple line: you never learn anything from critics—I was inspired.

In my first year as a published author I’ve experienced criticism first hand. I think every author fears being judged, we’re terrified of bad reviews, and we’re terrified of failure. But we’re brave because we risk facing these things. When someone criticizes us, we take in every word like poison and let it weave its way into our minds so that we doubt ourselves.

We must STOP doing this.

We live in a society full of critics.

Every day we see tabloids cutting up celebrities, FB posts against this or against that, parents criticizing each other, politicians criticizing each other, people criticizing people.

Professional critics aside, the definition of criticism is: The expression of disapproval of something or someone based on perceived faults or mistakes.

Just the word “criticism” guarantees a negative outcome, and even when the criticism is well intentioned, if it’s unwelcome, it offers nothing constructive, what does it do for us? It cuts us down.

In one breath we hear people say: Don’t judge others. And then in the next they have a “criticism” for us. Hmmm…Something isn’t right here.

The only thing I ever learned from critics is that I’m not made of steel.

It’s taken me some time to figure this out, and here’s what I’ve decided: unless I ask for advice, unless I’ve solicited an opinion from a friend, peer, or professional, the criticism I receive does NOT require my intention.

Imagine if we all spent our days listening to what we were doing wrong. Even the toughest person would crack, eventually. Doubt is a sneaky monster, and it feeds off of criticism—in fact—that’s its favorite food. So by paying attention to criticism, you are feeding your doubt, and only hurting yourself.

In the last year I can honestly say that I’ve never learned anything constructive from true criticism. Actually, I think we should scrap the phrase “constructive criticism” from our vernacular altogether. It’s a complete oxymoron. “Constructive” means to build, criticize means to point out faults. Unless it’s advice, it’s main purpose is to tear down.

Sure, I’ve taken advice from those I asked for advice, I’ve grown based on the opinions of those I admire, and respect. But when it comes to true criticism—the kind that tells you nothing but your faults, DON’T LISTEN! DO. NOT. LISTEN.

The Lesson.

Be wary of constantly searching for reviews of your work. Be wary of Googling yourself. Be wary of those who force their opinions (of you) on you without your consent. Be open to advice. Be open to change. Be open to growth. But when that uninvited friend called criticism knocks on your door—slam that damn door shut and don’t even THINK about peeking out the window.

Even as I write this blog, the doubtful voices in my head are screaming at me: But criticism is a valuable tool. We can learn from our critics. We NEED criticism to grow.

Maybe those statements would if be true if we didn’t live in a society where we feel the right to judge each other so harshly and, often, without understanding.

The Solution.

Spend a day listening to your critics and you’ll find yourself deflated. Spend a day listening to your advisers, those whose opinions you value, and you’ll continue to grow.

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Being an author IS a job. And it’s the BEST job.

I’m tired of being told (usually in thinly veiled statements) that being an author isn’t a job. Any writer that writes on a full-time or regular part-time basis will shout from the rooftops–IT IS!

One time, not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with the projects I had on the go. I had more than one manuscript in the works, I had lots of editing to do (both for myself and someone else), and I was still trying to navigate the world of author marketing for my published novel. I must have been complaining. I usually don’t mean to. I know I’m incredibly lucky to have the ability to commit my time to fulfilling my dreams. But sometimes, I just need to vent.

So there I was, bitching about all the things I had to do and the little time I had to do them in, and someone reminds me that I don’t have a 9-5, so. . .

Queue ominous music…

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I’m well aware that I don’t have a 9-5. Trust me. I know it.

help me i'm poor

So, since I don’t have a 9-5, what do I do? Let’s take today for example. I’ve been up since six am. I threw my hair in a bun, grabbed a coffee, and sat down at my computer. I didn’t have to put on make-up. I didn’t have to drive to work. And I didn’t have to punch a clock. I don’t have a boss standing over my shoulder (since I’m the boss), and I can take a break whenever I want. It’s a pretty sweet deal, really. I’m in the comfort of my own home, working away. But I’m still working! I’m what you’d call–self-employed. 😉

My first order of business for the day was to tackle some editing. I opened one of my manuscripts (one of four that need my immediate attention), and started going through my editor’s notes. It went smoothly for a while. I got through a few chapters until the other “things” started knocking on my brain–have you checked your email? Have you made a post on your FB page so your readers don’t forget about you? Have you tweeted recently?…they say all authors should tweet, you know? Have you tracked your sales over the weekend? Have you blogged? You haven’t blogged enough, that’s part of your job as an author…

So I made another cup of coffee, set aside the editing for a bit and started on the other “things”.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds a heck of a lot of work. But I like it. I don’t for one second think, I wish I was anywhere but here. And I rarely ever get a case of the Mondays.

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But here’s the thing–If I don’t do all the things I’m supposed to do, my career suffers. If I don’t write, I’m not producing a product. If I don’t spend time marketing, no one is going to buy my product. If I don’t network, I won’t have a readership or any connection with my peers.

The definition of a job is:

1- A paid position of regular employment.

2- A task or piece of work, especially one that is paid.

And guess what? Every month I get a paycheck. That’s right. On the same day, every single month, I get a direct deposit into my bank from the royalties of my book sales.
I think that sounds like a job.
But there’s one more, very important, part of this job I haven’t mentioned, and that is TIME. I don’t have a 9-5. When I’m done working for the day, my work is still staring me in the face and pinging on my phone. Again, I’m not complaining. I love what I do. But there is no 9-5 here. Last week, while trying to catch up on “things”, I worked on my laptop from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. Sure, I took breaks here and there, but by the time I was done, I was nearly blind and my back was killing me. 15 hours I worked that day. If I’d been working at an office, or anywhere else, people would say, “You work so hard.” But because I’m a writer, and I get to do exactly what I’ve always wanted to do, I’m not working.
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Now, I’m relieved to say that most people I know don’t consider my job a mere hobby or a self-indulgent diversion from the conventional standards of earning money. Most people I know say, “I don’t know how you do it. It’s amazing,” which, to me, is a compliment, and validation that I’ve done the right thing by choosing to be a writer.
I feel empathy for those who have to go to a job they hate day in and day out. Not everyone has the means to do exactly what they want. But right now, at this point in my life, I do, and I don’t think what I do for a living should be underestimated in any way. I HAVE a job. What I do is WORK. And for that work, I get PAID.
So when someone suggests that you don’t work because you’re a writer, ignore them, you’ve got too much work to do–even if it doesn’t always look like work. 😉

 

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