The Importance of Being Mercenary

A thread I posted on Twitter that is important enough (and I think about this stuff often enough) to post it here.

Got Me a Jorb

Last month, as you'll recall, I lost my game design gig. For the past several weeks, I've followed every lead I have and pulled together pieces of several jobs. Unfortunately, none of them are big enough (or steady and consistent enough) to serve as a Family-Providing Job.

But that's the past! I am now officially a remote editor on the roster for an online editing and proofreading firm.

Okay, that sounds super boring, but let me tell you why it's exciting IN LIST FORM!
  1. It's a steady job! Game design is super awesome, but it's hard to consistently find contracts for a remote designer/writer/whatever I am.
  2. It's ridiculously flexible! I can stay on the roster as long as I edit a minimum 10,000 words a month, which is like a day of work for me. That means that I can still do game design contracts, freelance editing, and writing gigs as they come up, and this editing firm will still be there when I'm done.
  3. It'll make me a better editor! I get tons of practice, advice from professionals, and even free training, so every job I take for these guys improves my skills for my private clients as well as my skills as a writer.
  4. I set my own hours! Do I need to make extra money one month? I can work crazy hard and do that. Do I need to take a week off suddenly without asking for permission? I can do that too. Nobody cares, so long as I meet my minimum (and feed my family, which my family cares about, I guess).
  5. I work to a task rather than to an arbitrary number of hours! On Torment, I was paid monthly no matter how much I worked -- and I worked a lot. I don't regret the time I put into that game (the opposite, actually; I wish I could have put more time into it), but it wasn't really sustainable. On the other hand, most projects pay me only for the hours I do, which is more fair but gets tricky when they don't have enough for me to do or when there's too much for me to do in the hours they've budgeted for me. I much prefer to get paid for a task and then be left to work at my own speed. I don't have to stress about working too slow (within reason), and if I work fast then I get bonus freetime.
  6. As I said on Twitter a few weeks ago, I freaking love editing! I get to help people! And clean things! And make money doing it!
Reasons #2-6, by the way, apply to freelance editing as well. And freelancing pays better. AND I get to work on awesome projects like novels and RPG rulebooks. But yeah, that Reason #1 is kind of important. Editing resumes and college essays and dissertations might not be a manic dream job, but it's exactly the glue I need to hold all these other job pieces together while still keeping my family alive and junk. (And I do get to edit novels sometimes).

Other theoretically more exciting updates, in no particular order:
  • My Sea of Souls outline is still in the hands of the person who will decide its fate. That's publishing, man.
  • I'm working on a gamebook for a mobile game company. It's no steady job (and no contract has been signed, so I can't say anything concrete), but it's pretty exciting. Gamebooks are basically my prestige class.
  • I'm doing some proofreading and editing for Monte Cook Games and enjoying every minute of it (and not just because I get to read all this awesome stuff before anybody else). I love all my clients, but MCG might be my favorite.
  • On Sunday nights (US time), I'm currently streaming Ori and the Blind Forest, which is one of the prettiest most explory-fun games I've played.
  • I might MIGHT be able to breathe new life into ye olde Cunning Folk (which could be exciting for the two of you who've been reading this blog since forever).
As always, more on these if/when I have it.

In the meantime, how are you doing? What are you playing? Or watching? Or whatever you do for fun?

Let Me Edit Your Book

While I'm in between design gigs, I've decided to offer up my services as a freelance editor. I've been critiquing and editing novels for years (in addition to virtually every single conversation in the incredibly verbose Torment), and I'd like to use that experience to help you.

If you'd like to have a professional author with an obsessive eye for detail take a look at your novel, I'm your guy. I'm offering several different levels of editing, including a sample edit so you can try before you buy. If you can't find what you're looking for... well, I'll be surprised.

Details on the Editing Services page, here.

Update, August 2017

Hey, guys! If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you probably already know this, but for those who don't: my new game design gig (mentioned in the last post) has ended and I am currently looking for new work.

Being unemployed is weird, but I think I'm through the emotional worst of it (he says, just before his family runs out of money entirely and he discovers new meanings of "worst"). I have a few leads, though nothing concrete yet as of this writing. Honestly, I'm excited at the possibilities, but that's easy to say, isn't it? Possibilities are always exciting.

Here are some other things that are going on:

1) I'm still thankful. Remember that gratitude posting I talked about last year? I'm still doing it, day 257 and counting. And I'm really glad I have been. Not even counting the rotting landfill that is American current events, I've had a number of depressive times in my own life this past year. Forcing myself to literally count my blessings has really helped me get through them.

If my notifications are any indicator, it's helped other people as well. So no worries. I'm gonna keep going.

2) Sea of Souls. Last time, I mentioned a Middle Grade novel tentatively titled Sea of Souls. This novel has been outlined and the outline sent to the person who requested it. We'll see what they think. Me? I'm excited. This novel feels important to me, more so than most things I've written, and I'm anxious to see what comes of it.

3) I'm streaming on Twitch. What's streaming, you ask? Basically, you get to watch me play a game while you and other fun folk chat at me (my family, in particular, is pretty fun to chat with). I've been playing games like Thimbleweed Park, Black the Fall, and Old Man's Journey -- mostly games with strong narratives because that's the kind of thing I enjoy. If you'd like to watch, head over here on US Sunday nights:, or you can catch up on old streams at YouTube here:

(Yes, I realize I stream the same time as Game of Thrones. Whatever.)

I've got some other things going on, but I can't talk about them yet as they're all just possibilities at this point. None of them are guaranteed provision for my family, but they're exciting possibilities with the potential to provide. I'll tell you more when I can.

How are you guys doing? Tell me in the comments.

Current Status

For a long time, not a lot had changed, hence the lack of updates. But here's what's going on in my life right now that you may (or may not) be interested in:

1) Torment is out. You probably already know this, but if you don't let me say it again: TORMENT IS OUT FOR PS4, XBOX, PC, MAC, AND LINUX. It's also getting some pretty great reviews, with a metascore of 83 on Metacritic. I don't think I could be happier with all of our work.

2) I have a new game design gig. I am not (currently) working for inXile and instead am doing narrative design for Nexon. I do very much hope I get to work with the fine folks at inXile again in the future, but I'm also pretty excited about what we're doing at Nexon. Such is the life of a freelancer.

3) I'm currently drafting "Secret Middle Grade Fantasy Project." I want to tell you more, but I can't. Suffice to say I'm excited about this project.

4) I'm also writing another Middle Grade novel. This one tentatively called Sea of Souls. It's very different from anything I've written, which makes me both scared and excited. I think it could be pretty great, but we'll see!

5) I'm considering starting a Twitch stream. Because obviously I have all this free time. If you don't know what Twitch is, don't worry about it yet (I'll explain more if/when I do). Right now, I'm just trying things out and deciding what I want to do with it (and why). Any thoughts you have on the topic are welcome.

6) I'm finishing up Rurouni Kenshin. Thinking about what to watch next. Probably Iron Fist (since I'm fully invested in the Netflix Marvel universe), but there are so. Many. Shows.

7) I'm (finally) playing Banner Saga 2. And discovering I really suck at it, but also discovering how not to suck at it, which is fun.

As for other things you might be interested in -- like Izanami's Choice, some kind of sequel to Izanami's Choice, Post-Apoc Ninjas, etc -- I have no new news on these things (hence the long periods of silence). But that doesn't mean they have disappeared. As always, I'll let you know when I have something to share!

So that's what's going on with me. What have you been doing lately?

On Being Thankful

I don't remember why, but decades ago I decided, as part of reflecting on the day, I would name whatever good things had happened that day. Whether they were big, awesome things like getting to speak to the girl I had a crush on (it happened once!) or small, stupid things like getting a green light on my way home from work. My teen years, like most, included some dark times, but I believe that habit helped me through.

Today, when I'm having a crappy day or bordering on depression, I'll force myself to name five things I'm thankful for that day, whatever they are. The first one or two are easy but have little effect. The third or fourth is always difficult to think of. I often want to give up. But by the time I get to number five -- for some weird, nigh-magical reason -- I actually feel better (and usually name one or two more things because it's easier all of a sudden).

With social media, I've seen at least a couple of people now post one thing they're thankful for each day for a year. My brother, in particular, has kept going and is now on year four. These posts don't often make me laugh out loud or inform my day (the two main things I hope for in social media), but they make me smile. They provide pleasant bright spots in what can sometimes be a dark feed.

They remind me there are things to be thankful for.

With all the crap my feeds have been filled with, I don't know why I haven't started the same thing sooner. But I have now. You are more than welcome to follow on Facebook or Twitter, but honestly it's not for you. It's for me, to remember that there is always something good -- there is always light.

And if that light touches even one other person? Well, that's awesome. That's the one thing I want most to do.

In the comments then: What are you thankful for today? There is nothing too small.

5 Things You Might Need to Hear Right Now

My hand-crafted echo chambers are full of mourning and outrage (with a sprinkling of praises and celebration). Reading through it is hard and not good for anything useful of any kind. Expectations have been shattered, and some are genuinely afraid for their lives or livelihood.

If your echo chamber is similar -- or if it's your life or livelihood that's endangered -- I'm not going to tell you it'll be okay or it will get better. I don't know that. I don't. But I do know a few things you might need to hear right now.

1) Take care of yourself. If you fall apart, nothing else you take in or put out will matter. There is no shame in taking a few days off to cry or laugh or escape. In fact, there may be shame in not doing that.
2) Turn off the Endless Browser of Outrage. I'm in a much better place than I was a month ago, but even I feel the gravity of the downward spiral with each turn of the scroll wheel.

STOP IT. Your life is not in here. It's out there, with friends and family. Nothing here will affect what you do out there, so if the Browser of Outrage is stealing your life, kill it. Take that life back.

3) Love someone. Love everyone. Be nice to nobody in particular. Be the change you want to see in the world.

I mean in real life. You can love people online too, but it's way more effective in real life.

4) Do you create? Then create. If you can't create for anything right now, then don't. Create for you. If you can create for a purpose, do that too.
5) Have a booplesnoot.