Do you know what is super effective and efficient for writing? Backlogging. Seriously, it has been a major lifesaver for this whole month of November. The life of a contractor rides highs and lows, and I am no exception. There’s that old cliché – when it rains, it pours – which is super accurate when freelancing. The backlogging Saviour can create the illusion of consistency in a writing career.
Welcome to another edition of Unprocessed Thoughts
If you know me personally or have been consistently reading the unprocessed thoughts, you know that I have repeatedly mentioned the contract life’s highs and lows. You can go for weeks on end with hard crunch times and little to no writing completed. Let’s not even talk about marketing or selling because that is entirely off the table when there are too many gigs to take care of.
Of course, after a giant rush, there are the low periods, and you better have some cash saved up for your going to be toast. For example, September and October were not the usual crazy ramp-up leading to winter. Instead, I was blessed with many half days of contract work, which gave me plenty of time to focus on writing, marketing, and the new audiobook podcast.
Deep down in my gut, the freelancer instinct told me that the beautiful half days of work were not going to last. Oh no, I knew for sure. I’m going on 6 ½ years freelancing. The cycle goes through the same patterns. It wasn’t until last year I started to get a better handle on all the chaos.
The Backlogging Saviour
With my supernatural power of foreseeing the future, I spent plenty of time backlogging blog posts and the audiobook podcast in the fall. I also set up some promo advertising for mail-outs scheduled in December – there’s thinking ahead!
Yes, that means all the posts I’ve done in the past four so weeks of been backlogged. This includes the seed me chapters on the podcast, the I Love You short story, and the time management post. It paved the way for me to focus on the contract work. As with all contract work, they tend to fall under the cliché of mutating scopes and additional needs, and tight deadlines. The changes are expected, and anyone who is seasoned in the contract world knows it all too well.
People burn out fast! Freelancing in the design and web world is not exactly easy nor forgiving. You have to continually be learning new trends and new technologies while running a business to be competitive in the ever-changing industry. I’ve seen people come and go in the short time that I’ve been freelancing. It’s crazy, and I can understand why people get out of it.
Yes, being on your toes every day to get projects done, meet deadlines, attend meetings, find new work while you’re doing the work you currently have and doing all the paperwork is a lot to juggle. Then, if you’re off your rocker, you have other ambitions as well – like trying to create some kind of writing career.
NaNoWriMo – Writing into the Dark
The backlogging Saviour has also blessed me with the ability to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. The last time I participated was in 2018 while working on The White Hand, a Rutherford Manor novel. I genuinely do like participating in NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately, I can’t do it every year due to my publishing schedule and the varying amount of contract work I have on the go.
Thankfully, this year was different. For the first time in many books, I made the bold decision to write without an outline. I had a rough premise idea going on from the Octobers short story, Ash, and decided to run with it. As always, I use speech to text technology to spitball the story for the first draft.
Speaking out a story without an outline wasn’t as strange as I thought it was going to be. Most of the short stories I write aren’t outlined and are spitballed on the first draft. I dipped into Dean Wesley Smith’s process described in his book Writing Into the Dark. It’s like pansting but with some extra details.
With NaNoWriMo, I didn’t follow the process strictly. It was about getting those words in. I rushed some parts that need fixing. If I didn’t have so many crazy deadlines with contract work, I would have spent more time going back and cycling, as Dean Wesley Smith puts it, instead of hammering out those words.
That’s okay, as I’ll go back and fix the draft. It is sitting just over 50,000 words now, and about 75% complete the actual story. Ash is an interesting concept that I have been toying around with in my head for 12 years. It’s not just one book. It will probably be a series with a much larger story. But first, I need to finish up that heart manuscript from 2018. It is long overdue and needs real justice. Then who knows what will come in 2021.
Almost done 2020
We’re almost at the finish line for 2020! And as with every year, I am taking holiday time off to let my mind wander, read, and unwind. This is what I am working towards. I am vigorously grinding through the contract work so that I can take this time off. Somehow, I am squeezing in some writing here and there, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to make it far if I didn’t backlog.
The backlogging Saviour is the true hidden hero when one is so bold to be proactive.
Beer Note: Van Honsebrouck Brewery Ingelminster Kasteel
For this month, I tried a Belgian beer. I think it’s supposed to be a hoppy beer, and it isn’t quite as hoppy as the Canadian ones I have had. Personally, that is a flavour that I prefer, less hoppy. It’s almost like a pale ale and is quite tasty. The Van Honsebrouck Brewery Ingelminster Kasteel sits at 6.5% and is labelled as strong beer. I got one but could certainly have a second.