Blog Post No. 506
It’s been about a year since I was first called back to the day job. I was off for over a year from mid March 2020 to August of 2021. I feel like I did alright in that time off. I released the third and fourth novellas in The Synthetic Albatross series, I wrote the majority of the Invasion Novel, and I did a lot of sitting around watching anime. When I first got the call, I was hesitant to go back. Unlike many folks, the time off had been good to me. I knew that it was only a matter of time before everything opened again, but it was still a surprise when it happened. I came back before the official return to work order was released. The new supervisor of my facility asked me to go to another facility she ran to start opening it back up for rentals.
I didn’t want to say no and risk not having a job to go back to. The pandemic had changed a lot of things at the day job which put what I do at the front desk in jeopardy. I felt like I had to say yes. For a while I was floating around, being the second person for screening shifts at other facilities or working the few rentals that had been booked during the space between lock-downs. Eventually everything opened up (for
better or worse). Since then, I’ve found myself spending most of my time at my regular facility. Things are definitely different, but shockingly similar.
While I was floundering between other facilities, I sometimes found myself sitting at a computer at night. The rental would be going on, my coworker would be on their phone, and I would have at least an hour before I had to scan the next group of people. During that down-time I tried to get some short stories started. Maybe I should have worked on wrapping up some of the ones that are still unfinished, but in the moment, I let the motivation of new ideas push me into productivity.
Not that it was terribly productive. I managed a few thousand words here and there, but to be honest, that’s better than what I had been able to do at the day job over the previous decade. I find it difficult to write fiction at work. My job is one with a lot of waiting, but I have to be able to drop everything when the phone rings or someone walks in the front door. Some days, that’s not a lot of people. Others, it’s non-stop. Either way, I find it difficult to sink into the right frame of mind where I lose myself in the story.
I’ve managed to do a decent amount of editing and most of these blog posts are done at the day job (I’d say don’t tell, but IT can see my screen and log every key stroke if they want to, so…). As I’ve said many times before, I’ve gotten to the point where I do the first draft of longer books (novels and novellas) every day until it’s done. I haven’t gotten to that place with short stories. I don’t want to admit, but in my head, shorts are somehow less important than books, so I don’t feel the pressure to write every day. Also, the flow of a book lets me write through a lot of uncertainly. You can’t do that with a short story or it’ll be a long story.
While I wait to get the Invasion Novel back from the first review, I’ve been working on short stories and I’ve tried to revisit writing at the day job. The main idea is to write more days than not. While it’s easy to plug away day after day at a novel, I’m not as adept at cruising from one short story to the next. Since my job is based on rentals and my scheduled is always different, I haven’t been able to find a good balance of days writing and days off. I guess I should just try to write every day and accept when I’m too busy, but I’m not trustworthy enough. If I don’t have a plan and a schedule, I do nothing (except maybe watch anime). Plus, there needs to be time in there for me to decompress.
Since I’m at the day job fairly consistently for now, I figured I should try to figure out how to write there, again. The way I figure it, if I can get even a little done, it’s all gravy. Plus, the more consistently I write, the easier it is to keep going the next day. Even a few hundred words is more than nothing and a platform for the next hundred. Of course, as soon as I get the edits on the Invasion Novel back, I need to put that as my primary focus. Since it’ll be the first outside perspective, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of reworking to do. In the mean time, I’m going to dive into another short story and try to get just a little bit of it done while at the day job. For now, it’s the only way I get paid to write.