I think a lot about where confidence comes from, and why sometimes I’m absolutely full of confidence about the work I’m doing (creative work, Day Job work, and everything else) while other times everything I’m working toward feels meaningless.
It’s amazing how quickly these two mindsets can switch back and forth in the same week, or even the same day, even when nothing’s really changed. I’m still the same person, I still have the same job, I’m still working on the same novel, and I’m still trying to get my writing out there in the same ways. Big successes usually deliver equally large boosts of confidence, while rejections usually set me back more than I care to admit. But most of the time, though, there’s Continue reading
Charles Hiebner has worked as a pig farmer, a long-haul truck driver, and a warehouse manager for a roofing supply company. The two of us met in grad school where we took a few writing classes together and shared a cubicle wall as interns at the university press. His writing projects have included a page-turning crime novel and a thesis about ecoconsciousness and colonial identity on the Great Plains—both at the same time. His next project is to set up a blog to share his work with the world…maybe sometime before his youngest leaves for college.
I’m a writer with a day job, one that I actually enjoy a great deal. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to earn my bread with writing, but until that time I have bills to pay. There are other parts of my life that pull me away from the writing desk, like being married. Luckily, my spouse has a day job as well, and writes, and is very patient, encouraging, and understanding of time that I request to write. So, what’s keeping me from cranking out novel after novel?
Well, there are these kids… Continue reading
I’m absolutely ashamed to admit this, but it’s true.
According to my Daily Schedule Log, I last put in actual writing time on my new novel on June 1st, the day I finished editing the final chapter of Draft Three. Since I’m drafting this entry on Labor Day to schedule for next week, that means my No-Novel period’s run just over three months, and that’s a long time.
To my credit, it’s definitely been a busy three months since I started my new Office Day Job. This is partly because I’ve actually been working more hours and was dealing with a nasty commute for the first few weeks, but also because of the general life upheaval that came with the new job throwing off my old writing schedule. Having to deal with a lot of new surroundings, routines, and habits made it harder for me Continue reading
In what little spare time I have I follow a few money and finance blogs, which has helped me develop my philosophy about how smart financial decisions can help creative people get where they need to go. I’ve found a lot of the advice from these blogs to be solidly helpful (make a budget, track your net worth, pay off debt, etc.), but there’s one thing financial bloggers are always talking about that I couldn’t be less interested in: retiring early.
Now just so we’re all on the same page, retiring in the technical sense of the word isn’t about having your hair turn white or moving into an old folks’ home. On the contrary, Continue reading
I think a lot about deadlines, and how they force us to prioritize how we structure our time.
For example, after I moved into my new place the good folks over at Comcast saw fit to send me a bill with a July 27th due date:
Also, six pages? Really?
There was nothing wrong with this per se, aside from Comcast sending it a week after the July 2nd billing date so neatly printed in the corner, which means that by the time the bill got to me and I finally opened it, I had about a week and a half left before it was due. Simple, right?
A few weeks ago I met a guy who worked in a large corporate office. I don’t remember his name, and I’ve changed a few biographical details here to protect his anonymity, but I’m writing about him today because he was able to describe his job in one of the most perceptive ways I’d ever heard.
This guy—Mel, I’ll call him—had been working for the same company for ten or so years, and looked to be in his early fifties. Before that he’d worked in restaurants, owned a business, managed a ski lodge, and even been a private investigator. Now, though, he had a family, and lived Continue reading
For those of you who missed last’s week’s Life Update, I totally got a new Day Job to replace my old Secret Work-From-Home one, so what follows will make way more sense if you check that out first. (TLDR Version: My new job’s in an office doing a writing/editing-type activity, the conditions make it ideal for keeping up with my novel, this blog, and other creative projects, and to lessen my commute I moved to a new apartment a mere 3.6 miles from the new job.)
Now that we’re all on the same page, some of you might be wondering Continue reading
The title says it all: I needed a change, and a new Day Job is helping to make that happen.
In sticking with my philosophy on keeping your Day Job a secret online, I won’t tell you much about my new way of keeping the bills paid here. Here’s a few things I will say about it, though: Continue reading
Thinking about how you’re going to spend your creative time before you start working has felt so obvious to me for such a long time that I never even thought to write about it. That all changed when I was emailing with a programmer friend of mine who’s got a lot on his plate life-wise, and he wanted to share a new method he’s been trying to make better use of his time:
I’m thinking it might be better to work in 30 minute chunks on code projects because that might be all I can handle right now. It doesn’t seem like enough time to really do anything but it works a lot better if I Continue reading
I get asked about my Secret Work-From-Home Day Job a lot. Like, a LOT. I think it’s because people are curious about how I keep the bills paid, but there’s also a fair amount of mystification: What kind of job could possibly be so important that Ian feels the need to hide it with such exaggeration?
First off, my Day Job’s nothing special or important—it’s actually pretty boring. But I still don’t talk about it online because I think it’s bad form for anyone (creative person or otherwise) to talk about their Day Jobs online in ways that aren’t pertinent to their professional lives. It’d be one thing if I were starting an amazing new job Continue reading
I’m going to let you in on a deep, dark, gut-wrenchingly embarrassing secret that I’m painfully ashamed of:
Sometimes I write things that aren’t any good.
Renaissance Man (ren-uh-sahns man), n, also called polymath (Greek: πολυμαθής, polymathēs, “having learned much”)
- a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. Such a person is known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems (Wikipedia)
- a person who has wide interests and is expert in several areas (Merriam-Webster)
I had a friend who was obsessed with the idea of the Renaissance Man (or Woman)—the ideal of gaining expertise in several different areas that you could then use to live a more well-rounded, versatile, and diverse life. Meriwether Lewis, he insisted, was chosen to lead the Corps of Discovery Continue reading