Life Update: Housespouse

It is a quarter after one in the afternoon right now, and the house is finally quiet.

Well, the dryer’s running, I can hear the heat pumping through the vents, and the whirring of electronic devices is pretty much incessant. But what I mean is that Netflix is off and Asher is in bed. Sleeping. Wait, scratch that; I just heard him mumble a little to himself. I guess what I mean is that he’s down for a nap and I can finally relax.

I don’t know how women did this back in the eras in which it was socially unacceptable for them to have careers. It is exhausting. And the biggest thing that makes it, in my opinion, even more exhausting than an office job is that no real progress is ever made. You can clean the house all day and do every possible load of laundry, but you’ll soon have it all to do again. It is a mentally stressful job, being a housespouse.

So here’s the news: I was going to write a review of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, but some things have changed in my life this week and so I thought I’d rather write about that. Basically, through a series of overly optimistic decisions that we made, it has come about that we aren’t really financially stable enough to have a babysitter. So from now on I’m just a stay-at-home dad – there aren’t any more days for me to leave Asher at home and go write for eight hours. It just didn’t work. On one hand that’s a bummer (because it means I can’t go out and just focus on writing for long periods of time), but on the other hand it’s pretty cool (because it means I get to spend a lot of quality time with my son before his little brother arrives). From here on out, the plan is that I’ll try to slip in some writing time while Asher takes his naps, maybe go to Starbucks for a few hours on the weekends. I’m still really hoping to have the first draft and a few edits and re-writes done by the time we move (if, that is, I get into grad school this fall). This goal is becoming increasingly difficult – and not just because I can’t go out and write anymore. I’m also going to need to get a job this summer so that we can afford to move if I do get into grad school. Which will significantly cut into my writing time. One of the problems I’ve had in the past with writing on a consistent basis while working a full-time job is that by the time I’ve finished working, I’m usually too tired to really immerse myself in the story and write well. So what comes out is drivel. Granted, most authors tell me that drivel is necessary on a first draft, but that’s a difficult pill for me to swallow. I tend not to write because I am a perfectionist and I know that my first draft is going to suck – especially if I write it while trying to work a full time job and thereby being in a perpetual state of tiredness. But this is something I have to just get over. This book is getting published this year.

So there it is. I’m currently a stay-at-home dad. Trying to write on the side. Whenever I get the chance. Which is rare. So I should probably go now, while Asher is asleep, so I can write some more in the novel. If I’m being totally honest, it’s coming along quite nicely, what with today being only February 21st and all.

Life Update 2/8/13

(or: It’s Half Past Four and I’m Only Just Now Doing Anything Worthwhile)

So, internet, Mike is back in the writing game. Yes, I know you all missed me dearly and now here I am, ready to start once again doing regular blog updates. Rejoice, world.

Here’s the skinny: my wonderful wife Megan recently graduated with her Master’s degree. Since her degree is in Speech Language Pathology, this basically meant that she was on the job market for all of like five minutes before the openings and interviews started rolling in. Long story short, she now has a job in the school system of a local town. What this means for my family is that I was able to quit my job cashiering at the hospital and focus on writing. So here’s my schedule: three days a week, we have a babysitter come over to watch Asher and I go out to various locations (usually either Starbucks or my parents’ house – or both) and write. The other two days I stay home and play househusband. I say “play” because I lack the mystical quality of housekeeping that so many housewives I know inherently have. I mostly try to keep up with Asher and do laundry, and even that proves too much at times. But oh well. The point is that I am now able to write and get stuff done. So let me tell you about that.

I have made the unretractable vow that my first novel will be published this year on the Kindle store. This first one is going to be a science fiction novel. Current as of this blogpost, I have written about 22,000 words. This is roughly a third of my estimate for how long the finished novel will be (though I could be off on that estimate…). So things are getting done. Furthermore, I have mapped out an extensive plot outline and timeline as well as having short dossiers on my main characters. Guys and gals, I am super-excited about this story. It’s making tons of sense to me and is interesting. Hopefully it will be interesting to others as well. But if not, that’s cool. I’ll learn from the experience and approach the next project with new knowledge. By the way, that dwarf story I was tweeting about a lot last year is on the boards to be the next project after this one is published. It’s still looking like the dwarf story will be a trilogy of shorter novellas, but there is a chance I could combine them into one larger novel. It all depends on the scope of the story and whether or not I think the proposed trilogic segments will have the necessary climaxes/resolutions. Also, it depends on how the market goes for these shorter novellas. I know that recently there has been a spike in novella sales, but I’m not totally convinced that people are going to keep preferring them to novel-length stories. My plan is that after those two projects, and if people are buying my stuff and/or Megan is making enough money for it, I have a few more sci-fi/young adult projects that I’d like to finish. My plan is also to release at least one or two poetry collections or short story collections within like the next five years. Maybe.  Perhaps, after all of that, I will feel comfortable enough to start really trying to work on another project of mine – that environmental terrorism novel that I’ve mentioned before on this blog. That thing is like my baby (disregarding, of course, my actual physical children), and so I’ve been really reticent to start digging in and writing it until I feel my skills as an author are better. But, I also recently had the revelation that writers, y’know, write. You have to start walking if you ever hope to reach your destination. Or whatever trite aphorism applies here.

Something else that has changed recently: I just applied to graduate school. If I am accepted, I will be starting this fall with the goal of obtaining my Master’s Degree in English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Composition. I think that this will do two things: firstly, it will allow me to better my understanding of the English language and thus hopefully will improve my writing; and secondly, it will give me the option of teaching at, say, a community college – and therefore will give me a way to actually make some money should it arise that my writing career doesn’t earn me millions. In any case, it will certainly be a good thing to do in this economy and in this job climate.

Okay, so those are the major changes in my life at this moment. Did I mention that here in about eleven weeks Megan, Asher, and I will be welcoming a fourth member of our family into the world? Because that’s happening (good lord, eleven weeks!). So life is really good right now and yet also really busy. Funds are tight, since Megan only gets paid once a month and so we’re kind of in no-man’s-land since I already quit my job. But it’s okay. For the first time in a while, I am actually happy with the direction my life is taking, profession-wise. I feel like I am working on a project that is worthwhile, that I am pursuing a goal that is both attainable and meaningful, and quite frankly that I’m doing something that is fun. Which is a new experience for me. I mean, I haven’t hated every job I’ve had, but I sure haven’t been doing anything that fulfilled me.

For you guys and gals out there (all ten of you who might read this blog occasionally), this also means that I am going to try to update this here blog at least once a week. I feel like it’s an important thing to do – that it offers an outlet for any future fans of mine to connect directly with the author of books they read. So I have to start providing that now, I think. Expect a review of Neal Stephenson’s novel Snow Crash sometime in the following week.

Ooh, I almost forgot. At the same time that all of this is going on, a close friend of mine and I are co-writing a screenplay. It’s an adaptation of a short story that a more distant friend of ours wrote some years ago. Actually, it’s really more like my friend is writing and I’m just sort of helping out with the story, providing another brain for him to bounce ideas off of. I can’t reveal any more information at this time, but it’s pretty cool. I think the movie is going to be rad.

And… that’s it. Other than all that, though, life is simple. I guess. Thanks for reading, and get ready for my first published novel to be released!