A Day in the Life

Right, so the last few posts I’ve written have been slightly morose and a bit of a downer, so I thought we’d spice it up a little bit. To be fair, it’s been quite an adjustment to this new lifestyle, and I’ve always lived up to my “I’ll be real on this blog” promise, so that’s what’s been happening. But there are less…uh…”will I have food this month” realities to write about, so here we go! A day in the life of an indie author. Or, at least, a day in the life of me. An indie author.

3 am: Wake up in a bit of a stressed sweat, pull the laptop out from under the bed. Check book sales, cry over the three or so fickle Instagram followers that I lost. Other social media. Post, post, post. Have a presence and all that.
3:30 am: Pick up my phone. Bite lower lip. What’s an interesting way of taking a picture of my laptop (open to Scrivener, of course) that I can take? What haven’t I done before? Squint at laptop screen. I mean, there are only so many ways to photograph a laptop. Settle for the usual and hope the People of Instagram find it charming and quirky.
4:00 am: After posting an Instagram photo, write or edit. Like the wind. If the inspiration and productivity dries up, keep going anyway because food is a thing that we need. Stopping is not an option.
6:00 am: Cuddle with husband and cats.
6:30 am: Write some more even if Captain Creativity doesn’t show up. Again, food. I need it.
8:00 am: Take a short nap. Yay sleep.
10:00 am: Breakfast with the Husband. Or, rather, lunch, because I have around 4 hours of work under my belt already.
11:00 am: Get back to work, but not before posting another Instagram photo because social media is basically the Mob in ancient Rome and I have to court it. Look at the photo I took and laugh inwardly at the fact that people think I am actually this put together. No, friends. I am not. And neither is my laptop (though it is a Macbook Pro, and we Instagram peeps all know that counts for a lot, know what I’m sayin’).
Late afternoon: Reading. Yes, because a) I like books, okay? and b) the best writers are good readers. I’m on Goodreads, by the way, if you’d like to connect with me. I’m all for that. Seriously, come find me so we can nerd out about books together. (This also constitutes another Instagram photo).
After late afternoon: More writing and editing. Another photo.
Early evening: Take a break. Cook and eat dinner with my husband, and chill with him. Money or not, we prioritize spending time with each other, because otherwise what is life, even?
After dinner: A lot of social media. An insane amount. Find more people to follow, comment on their posts, and invest in relationships with people I already follow who are cool and deserve support. The world of the Indies is one where you had better freaking have each other’s backs.
Before bed: Maybe write and edit some more, but honestly…mostly feel happy about the five or six Instagram followers I gained, about the cool people I met that day, about the progress I made, about the books I sold, and about the fact that I get to do what I love every day. And most of all, feel happy that I’m trapped by Husband and Cats. Yeah. Mostly that.

The Truth About Writing

The transition from “I write for fun when I have time, and I do NaNoWriMo” to “I’m going to dedicate at least half of my time to writing and see if I can make this indie author thing work” is exciting, terrifying, exhilarating, and oh yeah, terrifying. It’s having to trust myself and my writing ability in a way that I’ve never had to before. There’s something wonderfully simple about writing for fun and managing to convince yourself that you’re the best thing since sliced bread, but let’s be honest, you can afford to do that if your food pantry doesn’t depend on your books.

And it’s not the romantic ideal you think it’s going to be, either. It’s a lot of stressing in the middle of the night, waking up at 3 am to get a head start on that day’s writing, forgetting that you need to cook in order to have food, occasionally wondering how on earth you’re even going to buy said food, and getting frustrated when your creativity isn’t flowing the way it did the day before. I spend half my “writing” time on social media, networking and setting up cute Instagram shots and doing research on hashtags.

But you know, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I may sound like I’m complaining, but the truth about writing, the actual truth, is that I love it. I love it. And I get to do the thing that I love most every single day of my life. Things might be financially tight at the moment (my husband and I even have a kickstarter thing going just to help us over the bridge a little), but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

So what’s the truth about writing? It’s hard and it’s intense, but if it’s what you love, you can’t go wrong. I’m an indie author and a possibly-soon-to-be-starving artist, but I’m happy and I wouldn’t change it for anything. So if you’re on the fence, do it. Take the leap. Be brave.

NaNoWriMo, and a Book Release!

Yep, it’s that time again. This is my 8th year doing NaNoWriMo and I’ve written scores and scores about this already, so I’m not going to go there again. Y’all know the drill 🙂 If you’re doing it, please drop me a message and feel free to add me on the site. I’ll also be doing 50k Day One again, and you can follow along on my progress here as well as on Twitter.

Book Release: Capturing Devonshire

And speaking of my Twitter, you may notice I’ve linked @authorhelenrose and not @africanstardust. That’s because I have actually finally published my first novel, Capturing Devonshire, and I will be publishing many more under the name Helen Rose. Thank you to all of you who have followed along and supported me throughout my writing journey – I wouldn’t have gotten here without you.

Helen Rose is also on Facebook and Instagram, and I will be blogging under that name as well. As an indie author, likes, shares, and reviews on any of these platforms are crucial to success, and your continued support would mean so much to me. Love your faces ❤

Good luck, me maties, yo ho!

The Beginning, and Some Honest Thoughts

NaNoWriMo begins tonight at midnight! As usual, I will be taking a nap this afternoon so that I’m fresh and ready for 50k Day One. I have managed to convince a few others from my region to join me, so we’ll see how we fare. If you want to follow my progress, you can do so here, as I am planning to update the sheet every hour. Here is last year’s, for comparison 🙂 We will also be tweeting and instagramming under the hashtags #50kKillMeNow and #50kDayOne, so feel free to follow there as well (my handle on both is africanstardust, big shocker). As always, encouraging messages throughout the day are so appreciated and I love you all for sending them! I may not reply right away (because the typing) but believe me, I read every one.

I’ve realized over the past few days how much NaNoWriMo has gotten me through. I do it because I love it, yes, but it means so much more to me than that. The first year I did it I was so isolated and alone because of extenuating circumstances, and it gave me a beautiful community of random strangers who made the effort of checking my blog to encourage me and urge me on. Two years ago, I was dealing with emotional trauma and feeling like my whole world had fallen apart, and NaNoWriMo was literally the bridge that helped me get to the other side. And this year, I’ve had so many ups and downs, the accident, feeling utterly overwhelmed with academics, and dealing with depression and hopelessness.

NaNo is the time of the year when we give ourselves a gift: the gift of permission to lose ourselves in writing. It’s when we set other things aside and look after our creative souls and make time for this precious, beautiful thing, no matter how busy we are. It has played a huge part in restoring me to myself in the past, and I hope that, wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, it does the same for you. Let yourself sink into the beauty of what writing is and what it means for your soul. Allow yourself to grow and push and go to new places you haven’t been before. Set yourself free. So, from me to you: happy writing.

Veronique / africanstardust

NaNoWriMo: The Plan

This year’s NaNo is going to be different than the others. I don’t have a whole month of no academics. On the contrary, because of the accident and the protests, during November I will be writing two 5,000 word essays, catching up with a ton of translation, writing two tests, and hopefully making good progress on my 15,000 word thesis. The amount of work I have to do is pretty real, but with good time management I can definitely do it.

So although I kind of mentioned it in my previous post, here is my plan:
-50kDayOne
-5k+ a day after the 1st
-a grand total of 200k in November.

I don’t know if that will happen (I’m not counting my essays and thesis), but I’m going to do my best!

My project this year is a giant, sprawling science fiction novel called The Riverside. It’s sort of a cross between The Matrix and Interstellar, so we’ll see how that goes…I’ve never written science fiction before. If it completely fails and I get bored with it, I also have a few other backup projects I can work on, most of which are high fantasy. I just kind of wanted to break out of my comfort zone this year and try something new, but I think it’s good to have a fall back haha. There are also two romance novels thrown in the mix, so basically we’ll see what happens as the month progresses.

The Plan, as usual, is to make snacks and food on the 31st, then take a nap in the early evening, hopefully from around 6 to 10 or 11. I’m doing this year’s 50k Day One without coffee because I gave it up about a month ago, so I feel pretty nervous about it, but I’m hoping that if I drink lots of water and get up often to stretch and do jumping jacks, I’ll be able to stay awake. I definitely don’t want to accidentally nap for 6 hours like I did last year…it was hell to catch up.

If you’re doing NaNo, let me know! Only 4 days to go!!