chapter 16 blog
I'm sure you guys have been wondering for awhile where the portfolio site has ended up, why the links to it vanished, and when it's going to be back. I finally have some annoyingly vague answers for anyone who is actually wondering that.
Setting up the new portfolio site has been something that has been problematic, to say the least. The main issue I was having with it is that I wanted it to do too many things. I wanted it to have the clean, concise feel of a business site while also having the casual feel of a more relaxed commission site. I wanted it to show off all the different sorts of things I do while promoting only my best work. I wanted it to be visually appealing, focused, versatile, and serve as an easy to navigate master source of all my work while still being something I could link to potential employers.
None of that is practical.
I finally came up with a solution, and it's flawed, but that's no less than I would expect from a compromise of so many different ideas. The result is as close as I could get to a nice middle ground for all the things I wanted it to do. That's made it a little bit more cluttered than would be ideal, but it has lots of variety, all the information I could want, and the only things omitted are things that I would want employers to know that could be included in my cover letter.
The layout is done, I'm pleased with the aesthetic quality, and despite the clutter (which I've deemed a necessary evil for the time being) I've gotten mostly positive feedback from my testers. The layout is finished and ready to go.
Now I just need to fill in all that information. Between the gargantuan size of the site and the slow-loading nature of my netbook, this is proving to be a much larger undertaking than I have anticipated. I assure you that I'm going to be sticking with it though, and you can expect some word on how it's going shortly.
Until then, all the best, and thank you for sticking this out with me.
In my last post things weren't looking so great. I was behind, I was struggling and I didn't have a lot of hope for the future in terms of my career. All that is still true and if anything, I have more work to do than ever.
On the bright side, I have changed the name of the site again. I'm back to Chapter 16. I had a fun little Writing Writer phase, but it just wasn't as me, and I didn't connect as strongly to the title. It's not a huge deal, because this is just a placeholder site until I have enough money and enough training to jazz up the site for the domain name I've already bought. Still, I wanted something I could connect to, and Chapter 16 was it.
In retrospect I should never have changed it. It's going to confuse people and I have to go re-link things, not to mention that my domain name doesn't technically match the site title anymore (since chapter 16 was taken, my new url is just www.catvoleur.weebly.com) but at least I've learned from this little mistake and am confident with this last change.
On top of the sea of submissions that I am perpetually drowning in, I'm doing an overhaul of the portfolio site and looking for a new day job. So essentially, I'm never going to sleep again. That is for another blog entry though, which will be coming soon. Right now I just wanted to inform everyone about the site change.
Thank you guys for reading and bearing with me through all this transitional nonsense. I will (hopefully) get my shit together one day.
Sometimes being a writer sucks. Sometimes it sucks a lot.
The writing part, I love. There are very few things in life that come close to making me as happy as time alone with a blank notebook and a pen. The thing about being a writer is that you really only get to write about 10% of the time that you spend working.
There's market research, self-promotion, networking, submissions, and then all of the stressful horrors that come with submissions. I suck at all that stuff. I can't design a site well, I can't promote myself or my work, I can't meet people, I suck at submitting things and I just am not fast enough.
I have spent the last two weeks working insanely hard trying to stay on top of all my October submissions and I woke up today feeling so good about it. In the last 7 days I've written 12,000 words just in rough drafts, polished up 2 new short stories and a flash fiction piece, and done so much research. So much. There's been planning and organizing and I thought today was going to be such a huge breakthrough day for me and one by one my projects fell through until I started to feel so hopelessly behind. I've been so productive all week and I still feel like I'm getting nowhere.
It's been okay that my zine is falling apart because I'm busy and our artist is busy and that's not just on me. I've been doing my best. It's been okay that my portfolio site isn't even up yet because even though I haven't finished that I have been submitting. It's been okay that I don't have a steady job and that I'm broke and that even this site right here is only a placeholder for the site I want to build myself and that everything is a mess because I've been putting in the effort. It's been okay that I still suck at social media things because hey, I'm getting the writing part done.... only that doesn't feel like enough anymore. It doesn't feel anywhere close to enough.
I spent 3 hours yesterday choosing where to send a short story that is back in my submission rotation after being rejected again. ( How great does it feel that the best thing I've written all year has already been rejected twice?) I made a nice list of my top choices, compared submission deadlines, made pros and cons list, just to find out that my top two choices closed for submissions early. My third choice is super competitive and I know I don't stand a chance, but I submitted it anyway because I promised myself I'd get this done today. Now it's out of my rotation again for 2-6 months and it will be rejected.
The rights for the only thing I've gotten published this year reverted back to me and I went to submit it to the only speculative fiction zine I know of that pays for horror reprints just to find out they're not taking new submissions until January due to an influx.
There are now two more markets that I want to submit to in October meaning that I've gone from having 2/7 completed to 2/9. I feel like at this point even if I get them all done by the deadlines it won't matter because they're probably going to close early - since that seems to be my pattern.
I spent so much time writing the rough draft for a specific submission and it's just absolutely terrible. I felt like the idea was solid but it came out terribly. Now I don't know if I want to scrap it or shelve it or try to salvage it before the submission date rolls around.
Best of all is the 2 hours I spent this morning writing and editing my newest flash fiction piece. It's terrible and despite my best attempts to cut it down it's still a good 60 words over a firm 1.5k limit.
It's just so exhausting. I knew this was going to be hard work when I committed to it, but I had no idea just how quickly I could get beaten down and buried under the workload. I had no idea that self improvement and dream-chasing would make me this tired.
Part of me really wants to quit. I could get a regular day job or go back to school, find some other exhausting profession that I'm not cut out for, let writing just be something I do for fun. It was so much more relaxing when it was something that I just did for myself. This wouldn't be the first time that I walked away from something I believed in.
But I'm not going to quit. Maybe that makes me an idiot, but I don't want to be a quitter anymore. I've never stuck with something this long and I don't want to quit just because it's difficult. I don't want to have to say "I used to be a writer."
So, here we are.
Tonight, instead of going to bed and getting sleep like a normal person, I'm going to open up that flash-fiction piece, edit out 60 words, submit it before they run out of slots and start on my next round of market research. In around all of that, I also want to find the time to work on my sites.
This was a long rant, but I do feel better. I'm also not overly concerned about anyone reading these anyway, so that's good. Those of you who are reading, I'd apologize, but you're probably used to the ranting by now.
It's been a busy couple weeks. T realized shortly after I posted my last blog that the September leads I had were all due on the first, so I busted my ass to get them in and now I'm done with submissions for the month. The next thing I want to apply to is due October 15th.
This gives me a little bit of breathing room to work on my October stuff I guess. The earliest one isn't until the 15th, sure, but there are a ton of places. There's a steampunk horror anthology, a space horror zine, a location-specific spooky tales collection, a body horror site, and a religious horror publisher all coming up in the second half of that month, so the extra time is probably going to be really helpful.
It's also going to let me work on my portfolio some, which is good. I've been needing to do that for awhile now, and it looks like I will finally have the time to get a good start, if not finish.
So that's what is going on with me. Hope things are going well for all of you out there.