Janus Goes Both Ways

Janus Small

No, I have not been blogging much lately and I apologize for that. I’ve been taking advantage of the holidays and the wintry weather to revel in the silence of the season by getting caught up on Netflix and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition while dropping the F-bomb vigorously. I had every intention of posting a wrap-up from last year, but as I started to review my project updates I realized that I had already done a pretty good job of sharing what was going on work-wise already. Or, at least, what I could share due to non-disclosure agreements, professional concerns, and the threat of another deadline whizzing by(1). The biggest change, last year, was a shift in scheduling from a long-term gig based on a number of books to a regular day-to-day freelancing. I thought I was prepared for it, because I had a number of gigs lined up, but sometimes even worst case scenarios fall through. And, in my experience, that’s usually when Life, the Universe, and EverythingTM sends a stunning reminder that yes, mortality is a “thing” and bodies do have an expiration date (2).

To cope, I traveled a lot. Whined and bitched. Read a lot. Whined and bitched some more. Drank. Felt bad about the whining and the bitching, then played TetrisTM with the projects that slowly ramped up again. Did not feel bad about the drinking, though, as I did keep THAT in moderation. But, all things considered, I did wind up sliding back-and-forth, teetering over the abyss. It happens to everybody. It, going through a depression, happened to me. And yet? Over the holidays, I realized how very normal last year was, and how upset I was because of it. Normal, for all intents and purposes, didn’t feel like progress because it wasn’t extraordinary in any way shape or form. So over 2015!

Anyway, I hinted that work was variable last year for a variety of reasons in my progress updates. Part of this, I feel, was due to the fact that some potential employers would look at my slate of releases and assume that always applies to what I am doing right now, right this minute, with no flexibility or room for discussion. Mistaken impressions do seem to be a constant battle for me, because I’ve benefited from posting my progress updates in many ways. For example, they show I don’t just work on games(3) and, as another, they also help explain gaps in a release schedule. Ironically, my slate of projects is typically filled with releases that will be coming out in six months to a year or more. If there’s a huge rush of books, comics, and games announced here, it’s a reflection of work I’ve already done–with the exception of short-term projects or my own stuff. The moral to my story is this: if you read something posted online and come to a conclusion, try not to make decisions based on what you read. Ask! While I am a WYSIWYG kind of a person, I (like every other author with a micro-public profile out there) post different kinds of blogs for various reasons. Posting a progress update to avoid getting hired on a project is pretty much the exact opposite of what I’m hoping for.

Moving on. As the title of this blog post suggests, Janus (e.g. the Roman god January was named after) does look both ways: forward and back. Looking ahead, I’ve plotted out my annual goals based on what I want to do as opposed to what milestones I didn’t achieve last year. I feel this approach is giving me a better, more optimistic outlook and, to be perfectly honest, it switches up my strategy a bit to include That Which Is Uncomfortable in order to grow(4). I’m also thinking more holistically in terms of travel, health, etc. and started a fresh routine to balance sitting on my butt (e.g. writing) with hoofing it. It’s been a challenge so far, but it’s also giving me a new perspective to kick off the year and–super bonus points–I can achieve smaller milestones that keep me motivated.

Speaking of motivated… Apologies for cutting this off now, but I’ve got a manuscript that begs my attention. ‘Til next time!

(1) Without fail, every time I talk about deadlines somebody quotes Douglas Adams to me. That quote is so old and tired, Hrotsvitha herself is rolling her eyes.
(2) Deep Thoughts, by a writer who is decidedly not Jack Handey.
(3) Yes, believe it or not, I can/have/do write more than just games. Grammar be cursed.
(4) Go ahead. Say it. “You’re such a blah-de-blah INTJ blah-de-blah nerd.” YES I AM. If I don’t take my writing seriously, how can I expect anyone else to?

    Mood: Strangely zen.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: My ass is dragging today. Doesn’t matter how much I drink.
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: 42
    In My Ears: Pew! Pew!
    Game Last Played: Plants vs. Zombies II
    Book Last Read: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
    Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Empire Strikes Back.
    Latest Artistic Project: Um… Let me get right on that.
    Latest Fiction/Comic Release: Gods, Memes, and Monsters
    Latest Game Release: Dread Names, Red List for Vampire: the Masquerade and Ghosts in the Black for the Firefly RPG.
    Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update and My Departure from the Conan RPG.

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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