Category Archives: Finances

Money and a room of one’s own

It’s been a while, guys. That wasn’t the way it was meant to be, but there are a series of unremarkable things that happen in life that can push an author in unintended directions. Case in point: what happens (or doesn’t happen) at work. A vast majority of us indiefolk have to do other kinds of work for a living. Many of us belong to the so-called precariat: we hold casual positions at work which don’t allow us to think in terms of earning so much a month, because there are months in which we don’t earn anything.

Gone are the days in which an academic like me had the chance of being employed full-time. Managing money has become “a thing” in itself and it saps my creative energy. I happened to be discussing this with a dear friend of mine this arvo when she nodded and said something like ‘Yeah, having money and a room of one’s own.’ It was Virginia Woolf who wrote those words in an essay that would become a classic in feminist thinking:

…a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved…

I can’t complain about the little room where I do my writing (when my mental state allows me to). Even the local library where I live counts as a “room of my own” with a breathtaking view of the Blue Mountains. We can discuss “the true nature of woman” till the cows come home. In any case, this isn’t what I intend to do here. I guess that what I want to discuss is the role of money in the life of a writer. Yes, that unspeakable monstrosity, that hideous vulgarity. Money, or lack thereof, that can hold back many a creative soul and their creative career.

Every time I want to find an answer to life’s dilemmas, I ask Google. Yeah, effin’ Google and its nerdy relative Google Scholar, my true ally in these days of post-truths. A couple of days ago I came across a very cool website run by Mark McGuinness, poet and coach. In this well worded article he discusses the uneasy relationship that creative people have with money, and he does nail it on most counts. Many authors think that money isn’t important; they don’t know how to get it or don’t know how much they’re worth; they don’t want to sell out or look greedy; not to mention that in countless cases they don’t know how to manage it or spend it.

Make no mistake, one-hundred dollar notes could put a huge, lasting smile on my face.

If I use the third person singular “they” it’s because I’ve got a very clear idea of the role of money in my life. I’m also painfully aware that the need to have a “day job” will be there for who knows how long because very few creative writers make a living as such. I’m not saying I’ve given up; on the contrary, I believe there could be a future working as a creative writer for me. But in the meantime I have to support myself in a different way, namely through a “day job”. A stable “day job”.

‘These are hard times for dreamers,’ said the porno shop assistant in the movie Amélie.  I’d say they’re hard times for those of us that want to make a living without making a fuss. Of course I want to make a living selling novels and collections of short stories, but in order to write them I need the peace of mind that comes from knowing that my bills are paid.

Must leave you now. I need to continue fighting the bad guys and keeping the wolf from the door. Catcha later 🙂

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Five months after

It seems like a lifetime since I last wrote a blog post, five months ago. A lot has happened since then and I’m going to save you the intricate details that probably don’t mean anything to you, but I surely need to put some of it out there.

Calendar by Andreanna Moya, available at
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A day job can be hard slog: certainly I can’t complain about my “day job”, but it takes up a considerable amount of “neural real estate”. Being a university teacher who’s also a postgrad student uses up a lot of my mental resources and more often than not I need my free time just to “switch myself off”. Tied to this is financial worry. Part of me yearns for a steady income stream to replace casual teaching contracts. But casual teaching contracts is all there is—at least for the moment.

Sadly tragedy stroke once: my best friend Kev had rapid onset depression and ended up taking his own life in the middle of June. I lost one of my pillars of support, someone who’s protective wings were readily available for nearly ten years. Grief is so weird that I felt I was in the clutches of depression myself, for a good couple of weeks after Kev’s passing. In a conversation with my psychiatrist, I was able to finally frame those dark feelings as grief. I knew that life went on and found a way to honour my friend’s memory by joining his “tribe” of friends and adding my bit to help Kev’s favourite organisation, Petrea King’s Quest for Life Foundation.

The “Bedroom Short Stories…” lay idle in the hard disk of my laptop. I finally contacted Paul Mattingly—my editor—and started working on the final manuscript, which as you know has been published recently.  You can find it on Amazon, Smashwords and Google Play.  A few months after the intended publication date, my second book reared its head in the e-booksphere.

Where does inspiration come from? I wish I knew … One thing I do know is that it doesn’t come from outer space, or from the fringes of wishful thinking, or from writer’s blah blah. But I didn’t know I was in for a nice surprise that really galvanised me into going ahead: on August 14 I received the unexpected good news that “Bittersweet Symphony” had won the Bronze Medal in the Global Ebook Awards in the New Adult Fiction category. In the same way as I have always reacted slowly to very bad news, this supa good piece of good news took a few days to sink in. I need to organise serious PR work, but I’ve decided to try my luck again at another award. Stay tuned!

Writing assignments is taking up most of my time these days, but I’ve decided to restart blogging with a vengeance. I also have written some 3,000 words that could well become my second novel. I know what it is I want to write about. It all seems to indicate that the main character will be another female, this time a young woman who could actually be Lena Foch’s daughter. Somehow I see myself as a feminist writer … but I’m also a a fringe critic of some of its radical forms. Honouring this view, I’ve decided that my “gals” will be intelligent, honest, strong, independent, sexual and with “dark pasts”, whatever that means. Women of action and substance.

A few days ago I participated in an unusual experience: a casting for a modelling job. Luckily I didn’t get it because the clothes I had to wear made me look like a matron. They’re good pics, but they’ll never find their way into cyberspace. Had I been selected to participate in the project, my image would’ve been splashed all over Australia, wearing clothes that aren’t my style at all and putting on a persona that is as far away from the real “me” as being a creature from outer space.

Well, I’m back. Something has shifted and I’m not quite sure of what it is, but it feels good. Catcha later 🙂

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