Laid Off

Blog No. 385

giphyI feel like a real writer, and not because I’ve been managing to write every day since I sent Broadcast Wasteland to the printer. I’m now officially laid off from the day job for the foreseeable future. It’s, apparently, temporary. I have no reason to believe that it won’t be temporary, but this quarantine is going to last a lot longer than some people expect (especially when people won’t just stay home). I’m not sure how all the details with Employment Insurance and/or the federal aid will work out, but I’m sure I’m going to waste the rest of today working on it. I’m in a comfortable place right now, so I’m not terribly worried, but having some income coming in would make me feel better.

Speaking of Broadcast, I just received review copies. When they got here, I’ll had to balance safety with time. I have to open the box to get at the sweet book meat inside and make sure they are printed properly quickly enough that I can make an official claim with the printer if anything is wrong (which happened with Neon Heart) but I want to be safe and not spread whatever may be inside said box. It’s a quandary. I gave in and opened the box right away, but I make sure to clean everything as I went. Thankfully, the books look good and I made the big first order. Now I have to figure out how to actually sell them in a world on lockdown. It’s going to be a whole thing.

giphy-1I have a few ideas that boil down to taking in money via etransfers or paypal and driving around dropping books into people’s mailboxes. I may print up a ‘how to clean books’ sheet to go with them or something. I’ve already looked up good practices for sanitizing books that will effectively kill the virus and not damage the book. From what I’ve read, just cleaning the outside the same way you’d clean a door handle would do the trick, but there is always risk of damaging the books. It’s a mix of not my responsibility to make sure people take the right precautions and concern for not making the pandemic any worse or increasing any exposure for people who are already at risk.

Maybe I just sit on the books for a while and let time deal with everything, but I’m so excited and I know a few other people are too. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit. In the mean time, I’ve been writing and that’s kind of exciting.

giphy-2Having time to write every day and not being worn out from work is interesting. I’ve been able to knock out more than a thousand words a day without a ton of effort, but I’m starting to become aware of my limitations. Developing an ability to write a lot in a day is a real skill. I’ve said it many times, but people often assume it’s easy work, but writing for hours at a time is exhausting. Having friends meeting online and all writing at the same time is helpful, but I’m working things out as I go. It’s a lot like an exercise routine. I’m starting at the thousand word minimum and plan to build up from there. The potential problem comes from the same thing as exercising too. There will be days where I fail. Whether it’s just a bad day for writing and I fight and loose, or I bungle my time and spend the day goofing off.

I’m hoping to get up to two-thousand words a day before I have to go back to work. Maybe even more. Eventually, it the words starts to get worse, though. Pushing for quantity really can effect quality. I’ve found that multiple sessions in a day can help. I’ got to get my schedule sorted out, though. I’m no good on my own. I’ve had the hardest time sleeping since spending every minute of my day at home. I’ve tried to force myself to get up early so that I’ll fall asleep at night, but it keeps rubber-banding on me and I end up wasting half a day in bed because I still can’t sleep at night. I’m going to keep trying, though. Something’s got to give eventually. Thankfully, it hasn’t stopped me writing, but maybe I’ll find that it’s all gibberish once I do get to sleep. Thousands and thousand of words that make no sense. It wouldn’t be too far off from most of my first drafts.

Broadcast Cover

I’m starting to get excited about the novel again, though. The second draft is going to be a monumental task, but that’s nothing new. I think I can see the end of the book, but I still have some of the middle to work out, but at over 60 000 words, I’m getting somewhere. I was waiting to show the cover of the Broadcast off until I had the books in hand, but now that the proof copies are in (and are acceptable quality) I’m too excited to wait. That’s it right next to this paragraph. Did it blow your mind. Or at least, did you say something like, ‘wow’ or ‘ooh, it’s great’.” I can hear my mom now, but she’ll love it even if it’s only okay. That’s all for now. Hope you’re all busy doing something you’re interested in!


8 thoughts on “Laid Off

  1. I’m sorry about the layoff, Ben. Now we’re both in the same boat. But your cover for Broadcast Wasteland looks great, and I think you have a healthy attitude for moving forward!

    On the books, if you have the time to stick them somewhere at room temperature where they won’t come in contact with anything for 4 days, any coronavirus on them will be long dead after. At that point you can consider them “clean”. If you put on a cloth mask, disinfect your working surface, use clean packing materials (such as those stored untouched for 4 days) and wash your hands before and during getting them ready to ship, you’ll be doing your part to keep everybody safe. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jason. Though, my layoff was a known inevitability. I’m still shocked at how you were treated.

      Thanks for the safe working tip. I’ve been looking that stuff up myself. I don’t expect many out of town sales, but being safe in this pandemic is the least we can all do.

      1. You’re welcome, Ben.

        Another thing to consider when shipping is how long the delivery will take. Anything three days or more will mean the book and package interior will be virus free regardless.

  2. Pingback: Scratching out a Day – Ben Van Dongen

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