Welp, January down, now we move into February.
And how did January go? Eh, it went okay. I don’t know why I put ‘finish the read through of the Cat novel’ as my goal. I knew that was unrealistic. I had forgotten HOW unrealistic until I pulled it out and recalled that it was a monstrous, enormous nearly four hundred page document that I was planning to work with.
I did start work on the read through, though. Not until I was about halfway through January, but I’m working on reading and editing it. It’s been a very different experience than what I’m used to. The last few books I tried to edit had the opposite problem. They needed length added, I was missing scenes, I was missing entire PLOT points at times! The cat novel? Opposite problem. There’s a lot of bulk. Most of it is dialogue, some scenes, but I’ve been wandering through the writing and outlining bits to hack out. Not sure if I prefer this over ‘add in a whole scene here!’ But maybe it’ll make the actual editing go faster? …One can hope.
As for writing that’s been happening around the editing, I’ve been prodding a number of works. Some random scenes that are for fun or practice or character development. Some words added to a few projects. But very, very little focus on any given thing, just a lot of words spread across several things.
Considering that January’s been stressful, I don’t feel too bad about this. There was sickness in the household and while I managed not to get the Death Plague (ie, flu), I’ve been taking charge of dinner more often and care taking. I’m not a natural caretaker, so the stress built, along with worry, because Death Plague. And, it’s a new fiscal year, which means TAXES at work. Tensions have been higher there as well, so January was not a laid back month for me.
On another note, the other day at work, I tackled a few of our less regular clients. One was a client for whom we do reconciliation on a quarterly basis. The other does all of their reconciliation on an annual basis. Both are small companies.
Both of them got me thinking about success.
Company A, the quarterly client, runs a photography business. I went through his books and I thought “eesh! His business bank account sure is low! What terrible business practice!”
And then I realized that, wait a second, the guy is going to Iceland on his business expense. I want to go to Iceland, why don’t I get to go to Iceland? Not to mention the fact that his regular job is to photograph animals and travel around leading tours. His work is something he enjoys, even loves doing. So what if his business bank account isn’t high? He’s got enough every month for the business to get by, he doesn’t have debt, and he’s doing awesome things that are paying him. And that’s awesome!
Company B, meanwhile, I went through their books and said to myself “eesh! They really don’t bring in much money every month! What bad business!”
And then I realized that sure, they’re not bringing in very much. But their expenses weren’t high either. When it came down to it, they were bringing down double to triple every month compared to their expenses. At the start of January, they paid the owner a hefty dividend AND put a sizable down payment on a car. Then, they had regular car payments throughout the year, but even with the extra expense, they were STILL bringing in substantially more than their expenses, so by the end of the year, their bank was closing in on where they had started the year.
In this capitalistic society, success gets measured by sheer dollars, with the goal as a moving target and the answer always more, more, MORE!! Every year, more money in the bank, a bigger profit than last year, and do whatever it takes to get that. But dollar signs are just one way to measure success. It’s easy to forget, but there’s a lot to be said for the little business that’s making enough. Enough to get by. Enough to pay all the employees. Enough to leave time for things outside of the job. Or a job that doesn’t bring in the millions, but is what you love and what makes you happy.
Every writer wants to be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King. But hitting the New York Bestseller list isn’t the only measure of success. The six digit advance isn’t the measure of success. For me, my goal is to make enough money to live off of the writing alone. But you know, things aren’t bad right now either. I’m not working full time right now, so I have more time for writing and editing and other things that make me happy. That’s better than some writers ever get.
So it’s not all bad. And success comes in a lot of different forms, some more subtle than others, some with fewer dollar signs but a lot of happiness attached. It all depends.