There’s a thing right now where you post your first seven jobs. I find that interesting, because it shows that you can start out in one place, just to end up in another. This is probably more true than ever, now.
So here it is, without further ado, my first seven jobs.
Apple picker (no, not computers, actual apples).
Odd jobs at a gas station, cleaning windshields and the like.
Started my first company, where I obviously did everything, but mostly I was the editor in chief for various publications and imprints.
Sales clerk at a toy store chain, the most soul-crushing gig I’ve ever had.
Freelance writer, later editor, for various publications blogs in the US, owned by a startup. I kept some of these on the side for a time.
Merged my company with another one, with my focus moving to web design and development.
CEO of digital agency. Not as bad as it sounds.
All this lead to other things, which then led to writing books part-time, doing more freelance writing, and the like. My story isn’t as interesting as, say, Warren Ellis’s, because I just couldn’t stand working for someone else. Not that they were bad people or anything, it’s just that I can’t get up in the morning. Which, incidentally, was why I started my first company at 18.
The music has stopped for tonight. My wonderful P5 headphones are lying beside me, but I think the warm bed is a better choice past 1AM. It’s what I tell myself, after whisky and a relaxed evening.
I’ve spent the evening reading and contemplating, with a few short discussions on Twitter to break up the longer and heavier pieces that were sitting in my Instapaper queue. It’s a nice way to spend an evening, I enjoy it, and always wonder why I don’t do it more often. The answer to that is obvious, of course: It’s not productive.
One thing that’s painfully missing from my Enjoyable Things (yep, it’ll most likely end up being a series of posts) January 2015 piece, is books read. Or stuff read at all really, because there hasn’t been as much of that going on as I’d wanted. My Instapaper queue hasn’t been this long in years (seriously), and although I read fiction every day, the sessions are short and abruptly stopped by the fact that I’m already pushing it in terms of hours slept per night.
Reading needs to be scheduled, that’s the case for a lot of us. How often do we find the time to read even longform articles? Not as often as I’d want at least, which probably is one reason why short posts are the norm online these days. Well that, and the need for a ridiculous quantity of posts, rather than of words neatly strung together. If you want your site to be successful, publish 20+ pieces per day, that’ll keep ’em coming. That’s the general advice at least, and it works, assuming the posts you do publish isn’t too atrocious. Luckily those “rules” don’t apply to a personal site like this one, because you come here for my charming wits, or… Or I don’t have a clue, some of you are clearly here for my books, but the rest? There’s probably help for you out there, I guess, but I’ll have you here as long as you’re willing.
I’ve got a full day ahead of me today, with errands and events lined up across town. There’ll no doubt be downtime, so I’ll bring my day on the town kit. It consists of small and light gear, packed in my excellent Axial Mini Messenger bag from Modern Industry. I can get a lot done with these tools.
I’ve begun the arduous process of redesigning my online presence. This is something I do a bit more often than most, but it’s not as bad as it was once. You see, there was a time when I redesigned my sites every six months, which isn’t too bad if you want to stay current. Things moved faster then though, and today a design just works longer, although I must confess they’ve always been relevant for more than six months. I used to love to tinker, that’s how I learned WordPress, which subsequently meant I got to write a bunch of books about how to do things with the platform.
Back then I redesigned because it was fun, and because I could. I was evolving a lot, as a designer and developer, and probably as a person too, without me or anyone else noticing. I’m still evolving, but rudimentary things such as clever taxonomy usage and new markup techniques isn’t doing it for me anymore. These days, I redesign when I need to. Read more →
I fancy myself a writer, with several books published. Most of the stuff you can buy written by me these days are technical literature. I’m doing alright with that, although I write (and wrote) a lot of other stuff too. Like fiction, which I’m focusing on at the moment (alongside the revision of The Writer’s iPad of course). I’m mostly writing short stories and novellas at the moment, but I’ve got larger things in mind too. There’s a novel that I need to revisit, rewrite, and then ship off to an editor and/or agent. Then there’s all of those ideas, the thrillers and the quirky stuff, the horror and the love stories. The things I write.
But I have a confession to make. The thing I write best, or at least the thing that’s easiest for me to write, is fantasy. You know, swords and magic and dragons and stuff like that, although not necessarily in the straight-forward flippant way I just said it. Fantasy can be quirky and dark and weird and mature and sad too. I’ve been so engrossed in fantasy literature and pen and paper role-playing games as a kid that it’s made such an impression on me. I get ideas constantly, I have no problems whatsoever building worlds or creating creatures and outlandish characters. It’s a bit weird, because science fiction is further off, although I think I’m pretty good at that too. At least if I take a step from the scifi cradled in today’s science, into the abstract, weird and twisted. Science fantasy if you will, although that’s another beast altogether, come to think of it.
This is something of a status update, because I’ve got a handful of stuff that I need to put online, and as this very site still is less suitable for short status updates, I’ll employ the bullet list once more.
Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog is now in its fourth edition, done and delivered. The book turned out well, and is available for pre-order. I’ll update the book page later next week with additional information, along with the final cover.
I was in the Financial Times recently, pertaining to my iPhone novel writing project. The piece is behind the paywall, but you get eight articles for free if you sign up, so go do that.
Speaking of iPhone writing: The MobNov project is progressing (fifth outline revision?), and I’ve got something else somewhat related in store for you guys in the coming months.
I’ve finished a short story, I’m editing another short story, and I expect to finish a novella next week. It’s great getting back to fiction writing.
And finally, Odd Alice (still without a proper English site, sorry) is keeping me busy as always. The coming week involves a trip to Norway to talk to clients, and we’re building really cool stuff that I’ll no doubt write extensively about in the future as it’s related to publishing.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do tend to stop and think around this time of year. It’s not really the calendar that’s controlling this, but rather the fact that this period often means I have some time off, or at least things are less hectic, since most people are off work. This time around I’ve actually managed to stay clear from work altogether, wrapping up the fourth edition of Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog just before the holidays.
I wish I had the discipline to keep close tabs on what the fuck I’m doing with my time, but it seems as if not even the excellent Day One app can solve this for me. In other words, this isn’t another organized recollection about stuff I’ve done the past year.
I will share some random thoughts about my 2013 though, so that we can be over and done with it.
I’d wanted to publish The Writer’s iPad after the launch of the iPad Air and the iPad mini with retina display, but that didn’t happen. There’s a ton of things to blame, but I won’t because to me that’s just adding insult to the failure.
Remember that fantasy short story-thingy I published for free, in support of the Fireside crowdfunding campaign? Yeah, I’d wanted to finish the first story arc (three short stories at around 10,000 words each), but I didn’t. This makes me sad. I bet my freelance editor is even more sad, because he’s not getting any more money until he’s actually editing a manuscript…
The iPhone novel, well, that’s a tough one. I failed writing a novel on my iPhone, writing on a daily basis as the project stated. I did learn a lot though. Most of all that my outline for this particular project were completely out of sync with the mobile writing pace. The story’s done, and it’s shit right now, as many first drafts are. It’s also a bit daft, because it’s got the wrong length altogether. I’ll tally this one up as a failure that could morph into something else.
So you want more failures? How about not finishing the first draft of a novel, another two 10,000 word long short stories that’s on my plate, and the site you’re reading right now? There’s more though, like the shuttering of Appricorn, and probably a ton of other things that we could collectively agree to label failure.
Quite a list, it makes me want to drink. Oh yeah, I failed to drink less too, thanks for reminding me, brain…