Mark Terry

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Writing Life Is Weird

October 25, 2007

On Monday I received an e-mail from a gentleman who lived in the same town as I do and wished to purchase several copies of my novels. I said I'd be glad to sell them to him, but I encouraged him to go to the bookstore and buy them because then, presumably, the bookstore would order more.
(That's the prevailing wisdom, anyway, although many of us have discovered that it doesn't always work that way. I have discovered more than once that the bookstore sells all the copies it ordered then seems to brush the sweat off their brown, say, "Well, thank God I got rid of those" and doesn't order any more. Welcome to bookselling, boys and girls!).
This gentleman said he would prefer to get them from me and he would like three copies of each: Dirty Deeds, The Devil's Pitchfork, and The Serpent's Kiss. Did I take cash?
So Tuesday night he swung by the house, paid cash and I asked him where he'd heard of me, because, frankly, this was kind of strange. I don't know that I'm particularly paranoid, but we're at least somewhat security conscious and my wife in particular was a little uneasy about this. Anyway, he mentioned the name of a guy we knew pretty well--his wife works with my wife--and it all made sense. (Well, except his enormous enthusiasm and generosity at buying nine books and telling me he'd probably contact me to buy more. As lovely as that is--and it is--I've never run into that before, although trust me, if anyone out there wants to buy MULTIPLE COPIES of my books and give them to ALL THEIR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES and you know, even PEOPLE THEY'VE NEVER MET BEFORE, by all means, I encourage you to do so.)
So that's really cool. And he seems like a good guy.
Work had been slow lately. I've been contracted to do this big project that I had expected to complete in September, but the data I need to do the project--supplied by the people hiring me--hasn't shown up yet. I had scheduled around this and pretty much planned on the money. This is not a wonderful part of being a freelancer. I'm confident it'll happen soon, but in the meantime, I have bills to pay and not a hell of a lot of money coming in...
Then Monday the same client asks if I can do a two-week project for a significant chunk of change. Another potential client contacts me and sets up a time to talk Thursday (today). When I was first starting out, I had talked to a guy whose company cleans up marine toxic spills about writing for them. This was three years ago. My wife bumped into his wife at the grocery store last week--she and her daughter used to babysit our kids--and she asked if I was still writing. Leanne said yes and the woman said her husband, Mike, needed some writing done. Monday, she called and asked and assures me Mike will be calling to set up a meeting.
Then, about an hour later, another possible client (I've signed the contracts, but the work hasn't started yet) called me and asked if I had any experience writing for the Web. I said yes and gave her some examples. She said their website people needed some work done and she'd give my name to their web people.
This all happened on the same day!
Y'know, life is just strange. Good, but strange.


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

Yep. That's how it goes. After being deluged with work since before last Christmas I suddenly find myself in a very slow period. I just tell myself that the work has always shown up again, and before I've even had to start looking hard. I've been using the time to research and plot the next novel but I have learned something. I could have made a lot better use of this lull if I'd already had something semi-researched and plotted and ready to write.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yeah, except the lulls, if they go on more than about two weeks, tend to cause me to sort of panic. Then I go out and start beating the bushes for new work and I find myself deluged with work. That's a good thing, overall, but although I try to stay calm during the lulls, knowing they don't last, it's hard not to feel some urgency.

10:47 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Somehow, mysteriously, it all works out. I'm usually fine if I just trust the universe and don't think about it too much. But DH has a way of stressing out at me for an hour, then going to bed and falling immediately sound asleep. (I suspect this is his way of telling me I need to write faster.)

Then he can't figure out why I'm up at three in the morning completely panicked, and can't understand why I can't write a single word the next day. (But, really, he's a great guy. He's otherwise amazingly supportive.)

11:30 AM  

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