Michael Startzman’s beautiful rendition of my This Body of Work poem, “The Devil’s Curious Cats.”

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Beginning in April of this year — shortly after my 40th birthday, in fact — I left my freelance life behind to put all of my energy into writing creatively. All my life, I’ve written on the side, in my spare hours, between jobs, if I found the time. Like so many of us, I’ve fit creativity in wherever I could.

The last few years I have not found the mental or physical space to fit much creativity in. You write, but you write at stand-still. You do the work but it’s hard to get better, because you’re piece-mealing everything. You can’t take the time to step back and look at the big picture.

And yet, I knew what the big picture looked like: It looked like a plateau. I’d come as far as I could in my writing and could go no farther without giving it the time and space it deserved. So, I did a scary thing: I told all of my freelance clients that I was going to stop freelancing until 2013. A whole year (or almost a year) of focusing on my writing. Such a risky thing. Such an oh my fuck thing. Such a beautiful thing.

The goal is two-fold: One, come out of the year being self-supportive with just my creativity. Two, get past the plateau and learn enough to increase my skillset. Will either of those happen? I have no idea.

What I do know is that I have the support of my loved ones. I have the drive. I have some of the skills. I have a belief that if you do the work and you do it as best you can, the rewards will come.

This is what has happened so far:

  • My sweet and sexy novella, “Safe Haven, is hanging tough at number 5/6 on the Amazon Bestseller list for the UK. That puts it right under 50 Shades of Grey. Which is something like insanity, truly. And pretty damn awesome. (Unless, you know, it’s not. Which is something that I wrote about here). Of course, if you want to help me rise, it’s just .99 to buy the book, and that’s a pretty cheap way to invest in me (or you. or writing. or erotica. or, well, pretty much anything).
  • The Bound by Lust tour is happening — both online and in-person. Check out this listing for the dates! (And here’s my pretty please plea: If you bought the book and liked it (or even if you didn’t) will you consider leaving a review or a rating on Amazon? It’s really, really good for sales, and would help me out a lot.)
  • The lovely Ooligan press did a nice piece on some of the ways that I use Google+ as a writer, complete with a photo of me looking like a happy little “techie.”
  • I have a story called, “Filthy Rich,” in the new Big Book of Bondage, edited by Alison Tyler.
  • My poem, “Aerial Feeding,” is up in the new edition of Feather Lit.
  • Geek Love, an anthology of nerdy erotica, art and comics, is in the works and will have a Kickstarter very, very soon.
  • My This Body of Work project (writing a poem or short piece every day for the year of 2012) is still going strong, and is getting some lovely responses from readers.
  • I’ve had some other acceptances (and a ton of rejections, of course) that I will share in another post (probably one that’s specifically about acceptances and rejections).
  • I have two other lovely and exciting tidbits that I’m not allowed to share yet, but suffice to say that I’ll be spreading the news and the joy as soon as I’m able.

What have I done to make this happen?

  1. I’ve showed up every day and done the work.
  2. I’ve sent the work off.

That’s it. At the end of this year, I might fail. I might not have gotten better. I might not be able to make a living writing what I love.

But so far, after just two-plus months of doing this? So far, all signs point to yes.

Kiss kiss bang bang, s.

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