Struggles and WIPpet Wednesday! October 23, 2013

I’m going to be brutally honest in this post. I’m struggling. It’s not just that I’m struggling with writing, because I am, but I’m also struggling financially. Writing isn’t my main income; simply, it can’t be. I in no way make enough to live off it, so my writing has been pushed the back burner.

I’m a full-time student, and this semester I was forced to max out on credits (has to do with requirements and when things are being offered). Three of those classes are history classes, meaning I’m bogged down with reading and papers. This week alone I have three papers due. Next week I have three papers due. On top of this, I work two part-time jobs. I work at a church; it’s supposed to be 10-15 hours a week, but it usually turns into 20-25 hours a week. They pay me gas money, but since this is also related to school, I can’t go and quit.

Secondly, I’m a freelance copy-editor. I usually average one novel to edit a month. However, me editing a novel doesn’t necessarily mean that someone pays me. While I ask for 25% of the fee upfront before I even start editing, people often push back paying me the rest of it. This is currently happening with a client. I’m struggling because I need the money, but I know (at least if  said person is honest) that the client doesn’t have it to pay me right now. Copy-editing is my primary source of income. Sure I have loans and the income from the church, but on average I live off about $800 a month ($500 of that is actual income, the rest is loans). That’s it.

Most people, I don’t think, really get that. That $800 includes rent and utilities, gas and food and anything else that I need during the month. It’s tough being a student, and it’s tough working two part-time jobs that don’t really pay and one where clients can just walk out on me without paying.

In the meantime, between school and church and copy-editing, I write. Or at least I’m supposed to be writing. I have four books coming out in the next year and plans to have books coming out in 2015, but I haven’t written any of them yet. Since September, I think I’ve maybe sat down four or five times to actually write. Writing has always been an outlet of stress for me, and since this semester started, I haven’t been able to do it at all.

We all struggle, and these are only a few of the big things that I’m working through right now. In this day and age, it’s hard to be a full-time student and pay for school. I get no help in bills from parentals, and most people assume that all parents help their children. Well, I got help as a undergraduate to a very small extent, but as a graduate student, it’s all on me. As a graduate student, I’m supposed to be able to live independently and still be able to provide for everything that I need.

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to have a life, have a boyfriend who I actually spend time with, have time to watch television shows that are just airing for the first time, have time to sleep and play with my crazy kittens. It’s just not feasible. So what is it that I’m doing wrong? And how do I fix is so that I can survive in this world I’ve been thrust into?

Now…aside from the struggles, I’m going to share a WIPpet today. I just wrote it. Or will write it in about two seconds.

WIPpet is where you post your current WIP (Work in Progress). Make sure that what you post relates somehow to the date and then link it up with the rest of them. Go read and share the love! Today I wrote for ten minutes for the month of October…I was in class while writing this. Shhh…don’t tell the prof!

Grace’s heart started to pound as the waddling whale got even closer to where she stood. She glanced back and saw Toulouse stood dumbfounded behind her with the punk in tow. The punk’s jaw had dropped and his dark cheeks had a rosy-purplish tint to them.

“His mama,” Grace muttered and took another two steps forward. “Ma’am!”

She didn’t listen. She pushed past Grace and straight to her son. “What you doin’, boy?”

“Oh Mama, I ain’t do nothin’, you know that.”

“I swear to you, don’t lie to me again, boy.”

The punk straightened his shoulders and strained his arms against Toulouse’s hold. Grace skittered over behind the woman and tried to get her attention, but there was nothing she could do.

“Mama, I said, I ain’t doin’ nothing’. These motherfuckers—”

The smack rang throughout the street. Grace wrapped both her arms around the woman’s upper arm and held on as she ripped her hand forward, smacking her child again. Toulouse tugged the punk backward and shoved him into the open car before turning on the woman. Grace had her leg around one of the woman’s large thighs as she tried to knock the heavy woman onto the ground.

Toulouse jumped onto the woman’s back, gripping her hand as they went down. The woman face planted onto the asphalt, wailing out as the air rushed from her lungs. Grace’s head hit the street and then bounced into the tire as she was thrown from the woman’s body. Toulouse was still on top of the woman as Grace shook her head, trying to clear the black spots.

The punk stepped out of the vehicle, crunching his foot down onto Grace’s leg. She cried out in pain before fisting her hand and gritting her teeth. Grace caught a flash of dark blue as two other officers raced over. One wrenched the punk out of the backseat, pulling him through the vehicle backward and the other jumped down to help Toulouse.

Grace rolled over onto her side and grimaced, the pain still radiating through her body, up her leg into her hip and up to her shoulder. She took deep huffing breaths as she tried to work through each passing second. Tears leaked out of her eyes as she scrunched them shut. Sound disappeared as she focused on shoving any bubbling hurt back down and away from her body.

A hand on her arm caused her to pause, and she took two deep breaths before she pried her eyes open. The punk was nowhere in sight, and his mama was sprawled on the ground ten feet away, hands twisted behind her back with cuffs on and her skirt around her waist. Grace released her muscles and melted into the asphalt. Toulouse’s eyes were above as she nodded at him.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah…just dandy,” she replied and rolled onto her back, hitting the tire of his cruiser. “Just fucking dandy.”


20 thoughts on “Struggles and WIPpet Wednesday! October 23, 2013

    • I know right?! But they couldn’t! I was trying to work in that Grace is still recovering from her leg being broken but I didn’t. Not yet anyway. =(

  1. Sorry to hear that you’re struggling Adrian. You’re in my prayers. Life can be very hard sometimes. I’ve had my ups and downs – some really low points. I hope you can get through this and manage financially. And find the time to write, which is so important. There are so many distractions aren’t there? Loved the excerpt. Really exciting and gripping. I was right there with Grace and could almost feel it when she gets thrown. Good stuff!

  2. Dang, Mama shoulda beat that boy’s arse. I might have been tempted to let her. ;) Nicely done.

    Sorry to hear about your struggles. It’s been a long time since I was a student, but I remember well the hardships of juggling life-school-jobs. Back in my day, if you didn’t have cash or a credit card you paid by check and it usually took about a week for the check to clear the bank. I became an expert at writing out checks for cash with no cash in the bank, and timing it with a check later in the week for cash to deposit to cover the first check. I don’t think that would even be possible in today’s instantaneous world. All I can say is to find what is truly important to you right now and make that your priority. And believe that things will fall into place. Nothing ever happens as quickly or as grandly as we’d like. If it did, life would be pretty simple and what would we have to write about? ;) Have you thought about asking for more down on your copy-editing jobs? Or a percentage down, then another percentage when you reach a certain point, the balance due when you’re finished?

    • Yeah, my mom used to be the master of that and still is in some respects. I haven’t thought of asking for more down, but I might as for about 50% the next time around. I’m not taking any editing jobs in November (at least that was the original plan) so I can actually focus on writing. But people just keep pushing stuff off. The current client has paid me about 50%, which is good.

      Thanks for the tips!! I know I’ll make it, just gotta keep pushing through.

  3. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Adrian.. I so remember those college days of working two jobs, full load at college and trying to make ends met. I managed to survive then, but I am about to be thrown into another scenario of a fixed income and making it on my own again. Very scary! I pray you make it as I pray for my own courage. Your excerpt was exquisite! I was right there with Grace through it all. You did a wonderful job of characterization, dialogue, setting and description. Loved it all!

    Oh, I live in Oklahoma.. not because I want to, but because I have no choice at the moment.. so I feel for you having to live in Texas right now.

    • Haha I think living in OK might be worse than living in TX. No offense =P

      The struggles of life never go away. They just change into something different. We’ll both make it through, of that I’m sure. You’ll be in my prayers as well.

  4. *Hugs* I hope journaling here helped release some tension, if only a little. I wish those silver linings and golden nuggets were a wee bit bigger for you in the financial/time category.

    Grace sure gets thrown around a lot, huh? We do like our main characters to go through a rough and tumble time, don’t we? *grins* I could feel the tension in the excerpt. I did NOT want to be Grace, although she held herself pretty well.

  5. That’s one formidable woman that Grace gets thrown about by but she manages to hold her own. Your fight scenes are always so vivid and the dialogue was spot on too.

    With so much going on at the moment and taking up your time I’m not surprised you’re struggling and it’s really difficult when what you really want to do gets sidelined. Being a graduate student is not easy – that lack of money, pressed for time etc. – I’ve been there. Glad to see that when you do find the time to write (even if it was in class!) it’s good stuff. :-) Sounds like you’ve got ambition and focus that will see you through this rough patch.

  6. Grace is tough in her own way… boy. Though it sounds like she had her work cut out for her.

    I can relate too well to your financial woes. There’s a reason I didn’t go further in college than my AAS. I wasn’t even allowed to get a loan until I was 24 and officially not my parent’s legal responsibility. So from 17 to 24…

    I wish I could say “hold on, it’ll get better”, but I only have hope and faith that will be true, not experience, Adrian. But I do think it will be true. >HUGS<

    • Thanks! That was a huge part of me getting my master’s…because I couldn’t do anything with my BA (stupid me picked a bad major).

      Grace is Grace. She’ll fight tooth and nail until she wins.

  7. WIPpet: Nicely done. :-) I like the mama.

    You: I get it. I got married at 19 (NOT because I was pregnant – we planned for a whole year and waited). I worked two jobs and went to school with the max load. I was going to get my degree (the money maker) and then Beloved was going to go back to school. In order to afford everything, we lived in a ghetto. I’m not exaggerating, either. We’re talking murders every week, our neighbors were mostly prostitutes, drug-dealers, and parolees. We figured we both knew how to behave in those kind of areas – and we dd, our neighbors liked us even though we weren’t anything like them (I never mentioned my dad being a cop) – and we were planning to wait 10 years before having kids. Guess what my midwife told me a scant 6 months later, when I finally got prenatal care at 5 months along? Condoms are actually manufactured with a 4% failure rate, not the 99.99% they tell you. I was so tired my first trimester, I could drink a gallon of coffee (before I knew I was pregnant) and still fall asleep on my feet – not good when you are messing around with acids and bacteria. I had to quit school. We lived in that rotten neighborhood until my daughter was over a year old, when we packed everything we could into my Honda and drove up here. The cost of living is much higher up here, so we had several years during which we often had to choose between bills or groceries. I was always dumbfounded when I told someone I had trouble affording day to day expenses and they assumed I could cut out something like going to restaurants. As if we ever went. Seriously, McDonald’s was a guilt-inducing splurge. So, yeah. Hang in there. :-)

  8. Wow, maybe that Mama should’ve smacked her boy a little bit more when he was younger and this wouldn’t be happening now. Poor Grace for being stepped on. Though, after reading that the boy had gotten away, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe the mom deliberately created a scene like that so her son could get away… hmmm…

    While it has been awhile since I’ve been in school, I totally understand your financial problems. The husband was let go from his job about a month ago, and unemployment still hasn’t kicked in, so we’re constantly having to decide which bills are more important than others. This is the third time we’ve gone through this in as many years, so, yeah, it totally sucks.

    It does get better though. I know it doesn’t seem like it right now, and this sounds so cliche, but just keep putting one foot in front of the other and eventually you will get through this.

    I second the suggestion to charge more for your editing services up front. I also wouldn’t release the final copy to them until they pay the rest of your bill.

    • haha, mama might have done that!! would be an interesting take on it.

      deciding on bills suck. usually I can rely a bit on my mom but she was on furlough. So that’s a fun thing! I’ll make it, it’s just annoying and stressful when you don’t need stress. I’m sorry about your husband’s layoff.

      I’m definitely considering charging more…and yes, I’m still waiting to be paid on that one. 7 more days until I yell and send another nasty email. =P

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