Tag Archive for exit strategy

Get the Work Done

“A writer writes,” my editor told me once. “That’s all there is to it.”

It was a good pep talk. It’s something I needed to hear, and something I remind myself of often. If I’m going to make a go at this full time at some point in the future, I need to not just land more work, but produce enough to keep it all selling and keep the cash flowing.

If a writer has nothing to sell, then he’s not going to have anything to eat. Even doing it for the love, or as a hobby, requires the work to be out there and available in some form or another.


When you’re not writing, you need to be thinking.

It took time, but I’m at a point now that things are moving again. The latest draft of Lie with the Dead is sitting on my editor’s desk. I have an invitation to write some novella-length work and I’m now under contract for a graphic novel, both of which I hope to be able to tell you more about in the near future. I have a short story due, a column due, and if I can get it done by 8/1, an invitation to submit a short story to an anthology.

And that’s the firm work. There are still things circulating in the background, some of which may jump to the foreground at any moment to demand my attention.

I told a local friend about all this, and he said, “Man, you must be stressin’ hard.”

Nope. I love this. It’s good to be in demand, and to see fan response to “Bravo Four” and have them demand more.

This is what writing is all about.

So how, then, does one get the work done? The three keys: sort your shit, make sacrifices, develop discipline.

Sorting one’s shit involves a number of things, ranging from resolving personal problems to simply having a plan. Sitting down to develop my Exit Strategy was a big one for me, as was cleaning up some of the personal issues slowing me down last year. I also have a lot of things pulling me in many different directions, and I came to realize tackling them in a catch-as-catch-can manner wouldn’t do any one of them any good. I sorted those, refocused, and figured out how I can tackle each in the appropriate manner.

Making sacrifices doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds. Dumping satellite and switching to Netflix got rid of a lot of my idle television viewing and the temptation to become a couch potato after a long day at work. My family is out of town this weekend, making it a perfect opportunity to catch up on Breaking Bad season 4 and Justified season 3, but there’s work to be done. When I put a dent in all of it, then I can make time for Walter White and Raylan Givens.

Developing discipline, then, is a matter of remembering how badly you want to accomplish something. My physical goals require a lot of effort and practice, and I make it happen every day, whether it’s running, lifting weights, or getting out to karate class. Once I sorted my other shit and made a few sacrifices, it became a hell of a lot easier to develop the discipline for writing.

When this post goes live, I won’t actually be at the keyboard, I’ll be in karate class and then on the way to a dinner celebration with some friends. Keeping up the blog requires the same attention and focus, though, and I’m writing this post during a moment I’m stuck on another project. Discipline means not wandering away from the keyboard when I’m stuck. It means finding some way to keep busy, to jump start the word machine.

And guess where my ass will be as soon as I get home from that dinner? Yep, sitting in the very chair I wrote this post from and working on one of these projects. The wee hours are very productive for me, and I’m going to take full advantage of them until the day job hours go back to normal in August. (And then I’ll either develop a new schedule or invest in 5-Hour Energy.)

Here I come to save the day!

It’s worked before…

On Sunday I’ll sleep in, get a short workout in and eat breakfast, then ride Lenore into town and write in a coffee shop until they throw me out. Then I’ll come home and keep on going until at least two of the current projects are done.

Sort your shit, make sacrifices, and develop discipline. This is how I am balancing a day job, Daddy Daycare, family time, writing, working out, and karate class.

It can be done.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

A Productive Fourth

All fingers accounted for? Check. Both eyes accounted for? Check. Balls still attached? Check. House hasn’t burned down? Check. Excellent. Any 4th where everything survives is a good one, especially with neighbors setting off their own fireworks in the field behind us.

I had the day off at the day job, but I still had work to do. I wrote the last of the ancillary materials to go with “Bravo Four”, the short story I posted a cover for on Monday. I also wrote a column by invitation for a webzine, and if it’s approved I imagine it will go up soon. It felt good to be able to spend a significant chunk of the day at the keyboard.

Not that I didn’t get out and witness some Americana. Check out this Harley-Davidson:

Copper Harley

Copper-colored Harley. Gorgeous paint scheme.

If memory serves, this is an anniversary edition paint scheme, and a friend of mine has a die-cast model of the same bike with the same colors. He almost purchased the bike itself, but concerns of safety and family prevailed and he purchased a boat instead. Too cool to see the same bike out in the wild.

We saw the local fireworks display last night, and this afternoon we saw the flags posted all around the streets in neighboring communities and did a little light grocery and gas shopping like the good little consumers we are. I even managed to squeeze the day’s weight lifting in between reviewing the publication master for “Bravo Four”. All in all I’d have to call it a good day, and it felt especially good to be productive at the keyboard.

Tomorrow it’s back to the day gig. Given it’s the middle of the year, it will also be a good time to revisit the Exit Strategy.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Smoke Blog: Writing Outside

Tonight’s cigar, the Tatuaje “The Face” special edition, was every bit as good as I remembered from the first time I had one: magic right down to the nub. I need to invest in some of their regular lines.

I might have to do so soon, too. This is one of the last two cigars in my humidor. I’m going to empty it out so I can re-season it in an attempt to solve some humidity problems I’ve been having.

Tonight also reminded me how much I love writing outdoors.

I get some of my best work done at night, sitting on the porch with a cigar. The family has gone to bed, the neighborhood is quiet, and everything I need to accomplish during the day is done and behind me. I can get up and pace the porch or wander the yard to mull over a sentence, and I can get comfortable without feeling chained to a desk.

I’m trying to adapt my schedule to do this more often. The words come a lot easier at these times. I hate to go to bed now, but the day job calls in the morning. These are the nights I’m confident I can pull off a full-time writing schedule once all these projects come to fruition and they start paying the bills.

The schedule is a bit off and there’s some changes in direction, but the Exit Strategy is still in full swing.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.