Monday, November 14, 2011

Someone dropped a dime on me

What is a 'sounding board'?
sound·ing board
  1. somebody to give preliminary opinion: a person or group that gives feedback on preliminary ideas before they are considered for further development
That, dear readers, is what you are being used for today.

Some of you are familiar with a witch named Julie whose followers, me among them, are known as Julielanders. She pulls a card from various tarot-type decks everyday. On November 5th wickedly wise woman Julie pulled the card Ten of Wands. It's now November 14th and the dimes are still everywhere. Read this quote for the significance of that:

"Ten of Wands  ~  burdens, manageable and not.
Tens are cyclical, the coming and going of our life cycles.  The new chapters in our lives are often marked by 10s.  When you find dimes or Tens keep showing up, this is a sign that we are about to turn the page and move on to something new.
Wands are the brilliance of new ideas and inspirational bursts.  Those ”out of the blue” brainstorms are perfect examples of Wand strength and radiance.
Usually we’d say that 10 of Wands is about being overburdened, but I’m thinking this is more indicative of carrying the workload we need to, and balancing that with what else is going on.  We can shoulder our own sticks and help others when they need us to, all the while being aware of not allowing ourselves to become overwhelmed.
Like yesterday’s oracle message, this one is telling us that what we first see may not be the first impression we think it is.  We can see around the load we are toting as long as we are aware of our path ahead of us.  There is also a destination in this one.
Farther down this road there is something to look forward to, “look forward” is the key phrase here.  Hold carefully to what we need to cart along, not letting our sticks block our view or feel like a burden.  We shoulder these responsibilities for a reason, not because we are forced to but because we are capable of it."

So - the dimes - they appear to be multiplying in my coin purse like pregnant women at the end of "cheap romance novels with their spines battered down*." Twice I've gotten out of the car to look down at a dime laying on the ground by my feet and just today I wandered into the spare bedroom I rarely go in to find a dime staring up at me from the rug.

Allright already. It's enough to make even an atheist like me, listen. And that's the point, isn't it? I have given myself a message.

Here's what I think is happening. I had a very vague idea in my head that I would try to write novels as a means of retiring. I can live on ten thousand dollars or so a year quite easily and that doesn't seem so hard to accomplish as a novelist.

Then publishing went into chaos. I don't do chaos well. I'm a sit-in-the-corner reading, while I wait-for-the-dust-to-settle, kind of person.
And I kept reading things that successful writers had written warning that you can't make a living writing and you should keep your day job.
Well, I didn't have a day job. I had a night job that allowed me to write. That facilitated me having time to write my novel, Hungry Ghosts, which I posted as Friday blogs here for about 4 months until it finished.
When my night job ended I decided the thing to do was get a day job. That has a 401k plan to help one retire. That I would work at for ten or fifteen years until I retire.
I took on my current sucky job. Which isn't permanent. They made noises that it would become permanent but I've come to see that was most likely a lie.
My next thing was to decide to just use this sucky job so I could find a less sucky job that was permanent so I can start that 401k deal.

Then I started really missing writing time. And I have a killer idea for a novel and no time to write it.

Then the dimes started coming.

"a sign that we are about to turn the page and move on to something new... brilliance of new ideas and inspirational burst..."out of the blue” brainstorms"
I'm thinking the new thing I need to embrace is really an old one. I need to write a novel that is publish-ready and pursue publishing it.

"what we first see may not be the first impression we think it is" I need to see this job as the spending money, grandkids money, paycheck it is and nothing more. No retirement fund. No stepping stone. Just a paycheck while I'm writing and learning how to get myself published.

"We can see around the load we are toting as long as we are aware of our path ahead of us...Farther down this road there is something to look forward to." It was not working for me to think of this or some other sucky job, as a ten to fifteen year plan. Maybe if I think of it as the placeholder until the day I make money from a novel sale, it will be easier to make time to write.

I will probably still write one more novel as a chapter a week post on this blog, cause I learned so much from doing that; but eventually I need to give up my amateur status, pull up my betty panties and pursue being published.

Sounding board - am I deluding myself? Do you see major flaws in my thinking?

(And, don't bother with the Suze Orman-type, you must have all this in place for retirement, lectures, cause, as I said earlier, my circumstances are such that I can live on ten thousand dollars a year.)

*From the song - You Don't Make It Easy, Babe by Josh Ritter


  1. Just going on intuition here, the first thing that came to mind was that quote about how the things you regret at the end of your life are the things you didn't do, not the things you did. Maybe you could think of writing as your "real" job and the job that is currently giving you a paycheck a "temporary" job. If writing feeds your heart and your soul, then write.

  2. Karen - I love that way of thinking. Thanks!

  3. Judy, I say follow your heart.
    I have many manuscripts completed and stored away. I'm a big chicken when it comes to submitting my work. This year I studied everything I could on rewriting and revision. I've done extensive rewrites on three of them. My goal is, if nobody is interested in my latest work by spring of 2012, then I'm e-publishing. I'm going to invest in an editor, and have found one company that isn't too expensive. I'll just forgo one travel experience to pay for it. : )

  4. It continues to be odd when I see my own words somewhere else (especially words I've channelled and don't remember writing), but also awesome and with the added bonus of being helpful.

    You've got it figured out. The dimes have spoken, change the page.

  5. As a fellow writer, I keep a balance between dreams and reality. The chances of being published (in the traditional manner) have been likened to the chance of winning the lottery (though admittedly, which lottery? Presumably not the "You've won $2" kind.)

    But if we focused on that, we'd give up. And you can't give up because (a) writing is so fun, and (b) you could still get published! And certainly there's always the epub route, as Robena says. So you have to fantasize, you have to dream. It's fuel.

    I do, though, agree with taking it seriously, along the lines of what Karen said-- x pays the bills, but y is my job. That's what I've done for a long time, and I think a lot of artists do. But admittedly it can be hard to find the mental energy when working full time. But never give up, never surrender!

    Those is my ten cents. :-)