Preparing for year’s end (the broke writer shuffle)

Ah, the life of the struggling writer.  The parties! The food!  The flirtations with high society!  The group of nubile college coeds who arrive every Saturday at eight o’clock wearing business suits and shoulder holsters (I never said my fantasy life was a safe one)!

Okay, so the parties are at a friend’s house, and I usually stand quietly in the corner, thinking about stories.  And the food comes in the form of discount grocery off-brands.  Also, the closest I ever came to flirting with high society was when secret service told me to cross the street in front of the Governor’s mansion.

You probably don’t need me to tell you the coeds were fake, right?

Yeah, the life of the struggling-to-get-noticed writer is more along the lines of working eight hours a day, running home to eat, spend time with the girlfriend, and trying to get your writing done before The Office comes on at eight.  Strong odds are you’ll have to either watch The Office later or you’ll be writing again once its done.

Maybe that’s not as interesting, but there are always perks.  For instance, my cat likes to walk across my keyboard now and then, leaving grains of kitty litter between the keys.  And sometimes Shawna sneaks up behind me and punches me in the skull for no reason, screaming “Who’s the Boss?” at the top of her lungs.  Then she tells me I’ve been Tony Danza’d.  She loves me.

I don’t know about my fellow struggling writers, but this is one of the busiest times of the year for me.  I call it the “Nate pays for next year” season.  See, I attend at least two cons a year, and I have to worry about paying for those.  For me, that works best if I pay as soon as possible.  In the last month, I’ve sent off checks to both the World Horror Convention in March and Necon in July.  In a few weeks (once I’ve worked some overtime), I should have enough cash to get my airfare for March.  With any luck, these expenses will then allow me to claim enough on my tax return for me to afford March’s hotel and July’s airfare.  I know there are plenty of folks who can wait until the last minute and pay for everything.  Good for them.  I am not one of those people.

So it’s busy right about now.  Then you add in a few factors, like the novel I’m about to cross the halfway mark on and the fact that I need to buy at least one Christmas present, and you’ve got a recipe for human combustion.  Maybe it would be easier if I got to relax come January, but that’s when I have to start getting my ducks in a row for World Horror, preparing pitches and begging people to room with me.

Of course, the first time I sell a novel I will declare all of this worth it. And then I’ll do it all over again.