Monday, September 14, 2015

Misconseptions About People Who Work From Home

Hi, my name is Nikki and I work from home. If you don’t know, in addition to being an indie author, I have my own editing business called Metamorphosis Editing Services. Since last January, it has become my full-time day job and I rarely have any complaints. When I got out of college, like most Litt majors, I had no fucking idea what to do next. I tried applying for jobs and failed. I worked a job at a pet store and hated how draining it was to know I had a degree and was barely making nine dollars an hour. So when I couldn’t find the job I wanted, I created it. I decided that if nothing else, I could put it on my resume and maybe a future employer would appreciate it and hire me.
However, slowly, something that was meant to be a hobby/second job became my full-time job and I started making enough money to quit my retail career. Working from home is awesome. Editing other authors’ work is awesome. But there are a few misconceptions that grate on my nerves. Here are just a few things people say to me/assume.

1.      So you can go to work in your pajamas? That’s so cool!
Except you get stuck in your pajamas for almost the entire day and when you have to get dressed and actually interact with the outside world, you don’t know what to do.

2.      As long as you have your computer, you can work from anywhere! Awesome!
Yes. This is absolutely true—which is awesome. But it also means that I do not get to clock in and out at designated times. Sometimes it’s hard to separate work life from home life.

3.      Can you come over/go shopping/get day drunk with me on a Monday at 10 a.m.?
I know it seems like I can just drop whatever I’m doing, but if I don’t work I don’t make money. If I don’t make money I can’t eat. And I like eating.

4.      So you can just, like, take off whenever, right?
Nope. Not really. See above.

5.      When are you going to get a “real” job?
This one sucks the most. This is the most “real” job I’ve ever had. I have never before in my life taken anything so seriously and passionately as editing. So shut your face.

6.      Yeah, but you didn’t have to DRIVE anywhere. You basically roll out of bed and start your day! Lucky you!
Yeah. I pretty much roll out of bed every day and start working. I don’t get the extra time to settle into my work role and prepare for the day via car ride or talking to my coworkers about their weekends. If I am awake, I am working.
actual gif of me in the morning
7.      At least you don’t have to deal with PEOPLE all day.
Not in person, no. But I have to speak to people all day err day. Email, messages, everything. And I sometimes have to be more in depth than a customer service job because they are not right there with me, able to see what I am talking about. Also, not talking to people has
seriously diminished my social skills (which were awful to being with).

8.      But you get to make your own schedule!
Everything in my life has to be scheduled. Have you seen my planner? If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen and I have no one to hold accountable but myself. I have no one telling me when to get things done besides me. It’s awesome most of the time, but it can also be a lot of pressure.

9.      You must have soooo much less stress being able to work from home!
Not always true. I mean, I don’t have an awful boss breathing down my neck or customers asking dumb questions they could easily find the answers to themselves if they read the directions on their fish tank guide (Ugh. Don’t miss it at all), but as I hinted at already, I am the entire company in most cases. If someone isn’t happy, it’s my fault. If something doesn’t get done on time, it’s my fault. It’s a lot of responsibility, which can sometimes be stressful.

10.   I would never be able to do that. I mean, what would I even DO with myself?
Well, I dunno. Would you be working or just cruising the internet (which is another thing people seem to think I do all day)? I always have something to do (gratefully) and I am never bored. Honestly, I love the job I created for myself and I’m happy I took the plunge to do it almost a year ago. However, it’s not for everyone. It’s isolating, demanding, and you have to motivate yourself. Which makes it pretty perfect for me. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Donor Re-release!

Buy the book HERE

Take a look at what I'm giving away!

And ENTER to win some swag!

Today, I am happy to announce that my little book, The Donor is being re-released through Vamptasy Publishing. It's gone through another round of edits, had its cover revamped, and with the help of many, I have put together a blog tour, party, and giveaways (by the way, you should join the party if you want a chance to win some cool stuff!).

Here is the list of blogs participating:

The Ultimate Fan Blog:
the Violet Hour Book Reviews:
Love Me Some Books:
Moonlight Gleam Book Reviews:
Vampires, Crime and Angels...Eclectic Me:
Mama Reads Hazel Reads:
A British Bookworm's Blog:
Princessica of Books:

And you can also go HERE to see more of The Donor fun (special thanks to Promo Stars)!

It was hard for me to go with an indie publishing house, but I've always wanted to do it, and The Donor had been out a little while and I felt like not enough people were seeing it. This was about oh, I don't know, six months ago. Then I submitted the book, and they accepted me. I have been introduced to a whole lot of awesome authors, bloggers, and an all around great community I never even knew existed inside the indie realm. I really grateful I found them for this project.

Anyway, it's Re-release Day! What does that mean for you? Well, you get a semi-new book from me, obviously. You get chances to win prizes, and of course, you get to see all the beautiful teasers!

About The Donor:

Casey Williams and her family are poor. Her parents work non-stop and so does she, just so they can keep the trailer roof from leaking. They’re getting by fine enough when the headaches start. Then there’s the nosebleeds. And the inevitable doctor’s bills. Fortunately for Casey, there’s an exclusive, quick, and almost easy way to pay it all back before her parents even have to know. 

All she has to do is give a man she’s never met whatever he wants from her body. 
Inside or out. 

Thank you so much for all of your support! I can't wait to see what you all think of this one. It's one of my favorites.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Being A Creative Person

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. What drives me to write. Why I keep going, even when I don’t necessarily want to at times. Here’s what I’ve come up with (most at three in the morning, so forgive me).

Whether you paint, write, design, cook, build, dance, whatever, the thing you do is unique to anyone else: you create something out of nothing. That’s the thrill of it. That’s what keeps us coming back for more. That’s why, despite what little money there is to be made and how much we feel like we’re only shouting into the void, we keep creating, even if it means only a handful of people see it and get it. Even if it means no one wants to look.

Mostly, we’re happy creatures. Give us what we want to make and we will create life from a mound of dirt with smiles on our dirty little faces like a toddler on spaghetti night.
But there’s a but. At least for me.

Some artists have a tough time being creative—not that they can’t find the inspiration or actually do the thing that makes them feel human, but just in general. We have a hard time relating to people on basic levels. Someone can get upset over sugar in their black coffee and we’re busy counting the stained rings on the table cloth, wondering how we can work this one detail into something later on. We have a hard time finding time and when we do, it never seems like enough. We have a hard time making money, or at the very least, being taken seriously. People ask you what you do at Christmas and say, “oh, that’s nice,” in the dismissive way someone tells you to pass the salt. We spend so much time trying to describe the human condition with our creations, but that doesn’t mean we understand it any more than the next person.

And the ideas. The inspiration or lack thereof. I will have ideas that flow through me faster than I can write them down and worse, before they are ready. I fear a lot of times that I pick flowers before they’re fully grown and if I had waited a year or so to write something, maybe it would be fuller and more beautiful. But sitting still is worse. I cannot sit still at all. As soon as I am halfway done writing one book, I have started another. As of right now, I am working on three books.

I wish I could sit still. I wish I could just write something, be happy with it forever and not cringe when I look back on it (sometimes I like things, but not often), and move on. Give myself time to relax and do all the things people keep telling me I should do like see certain shows or travel. Even when I tell myself it is going to be a laid back night at home, I am always thinking. I can never live entirely in this world. One foot is always in fiction.

I am not complaining. These are just things I’ve noticed about myself lately, now that I have even more limited time because of my business becoming more of a full time-holy-shit-I-can-do-this-the-rest-of-my-life job. I used to be able to take a whole day and read anything I wanted. Now, when I have free time, I feel guilty if I am reading something that is not research for another book, or something I can learn from in some way.

We don’t really get time off. We don’t really have free time. Our minds are always running, always shifting back and forth between surroundings, between what we’re going to do next. Ask any creative person what their next project is and they will tell you, vaguely and confusingly, that they aren’t sure, but they have some ideas. Even when we don’t, the pressure to create that we put on ourselves is much heavier than any other. We need to keep moving, keep creating, keep looking at things from different angles until it makes sense.

Even when it becomes hard and even when creating seems to be the only thing that makes sense to us—even if we don’t understand what we are bringing into the world—a lot of times it’s just a jumbled mass of limbs and teeth until the last moment—this is who we are. When people ask what we do, most think of our jobs. We have to process the question a second longer than the scientist or teacher. We have to remember that we are “Insert career here” first and artists second, and in some company, it’s best not to even mention that you sing bars to yourself in the car or keep Post-its in your desk for when no one is looking so you can jot down how to remedy that plot hole in chapter seven. Here, we live in two worlds too. Creative and non. When we find the people who understand us, we can be ourselves, but when we are at our day jobs, waiting in line at the bank, taking the kids to school, or at a family reunion, we are in the so-called “real world” where even though some people make a living as artists, we never talk about it, so as to not encourage others to do the same.

Why do we do this? So many people enjoy the products that once only lived in a creative person’s mind.  Movies. Books. Newspapers. Clothes. Makeup. Food. These were all created for different reasons, but at the core, there is only one important one: to connect. Person to person. It seems simple, and because of that, people in the “real world” think that anyone can do it, therefore, it has no value.
From a young age, I listened to a lot of things adults told me that ended up being wrong, but this was one of the few I chose not to believe. If they could do the things I was doing—create the worlds and people I was creating—then why weren’t they?

The answer probably has many names: hunger, drive, power, whatever. I call it need. I need to create. I need to let the strange thoughts happen and I need to listen and write them down. I need to stay up until three in the morning typing until I can’t find my fingers. I need to spend hours thinking of the perfect way to word something into one sentence. If I don’t, something is utterly and completely off balance. I feel like I left the house with my shoes on the wrong feet or my shirt inside out. It’s acceptable, but uncomfortable.

For some people, I guess it’s possible to get used to. Maybe their feet form to the wrong shoes so that when they walk, they barely notice. I have never been that way. It is so noticeable to me that I’m surprised when other people don’t notice. People close to me sometimes do. They ask what is wrong and sometimes I don’t know. It’s only when I finally get the chance to sit down at my computer and connect with that side of me that I realize what was off, what was missing or backwards. Truly, I never feel more human than when I am creating different worlds—different lives. I’m not sure where this comes from or how to stop it, but it’s always there at the back of my mind, asking when the next chance it will have to be set free.

I’m not really sure how to end this post, but I just wanted to get some of my thoughts down. Maybe start a discussion of what this thing is inside of us that makes us want to connect in such a way; what makes people see our hands reaching out and grab hold.

Until next time,

Friday, June 26, 2015

My Writing Process

Hi there! Long time no see. I've been a busy bee as usual, editing and writing, but sometimes I want to write things that aren't fictional, and I guess that's what a blog is for. I also just finish-finished a new book that I may or may not be querying (gasp!) when it's done being edited. So I guess this is a good time to write about what people have been asking for a while: My Writing Process. So here it is, in all its glory.

1.      Idea Love

This is the first idea that comes to mind. It could be something abstract like an image or word, but for me, it’s often the first or last sentence of the book. Much like a reader falling in love with a book, this is what draws me in and makes me want to learn more. Usually, the initial idea happens when I’m finishing a completely different book and won’t have time to go back to it for a while—sometimes YEARS.


2  The Simmering—or as I call it, The Cake Batter Stage

Yes, that is Tubby Custard, bitches.

This is the time that through no fault of my own always ends up happening. I have this idea I’m super excited about, yet either because I’m already busy writing/editing a book or don’t think I’m ready to write down this new idea, I have to let it sit there and cook. Amanda Palmer calls it the embryonic stage. I call it the cake batter stage. No matter how you refer to it, this is the time where your idea has time to mature and gain strength before all the grueling processes that lay ahead.



One idea leads to TONS of others for me. They all relate to the same story, but unlike the original idea, these are more solid—plot points, character traits, etc. I actually jot down some o this stuff and save it for later. Oftentimes, I wake up late at night/early in the morning/don’t sleep at all and when I look back at these notes, I barely understand what I was trying to say.

4.      Doing The Thing (Writing. A lot)

This is the stage where I write pretty much every spare moment I have. All of this cake batter is ready to go in the oven and I spend the better part of a month or two dribbling it all into paper baking cups. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. The important thing here is to be as messy as possible and allowing myself to write the worst thing possible. NO DELTEING ALLOWED. That comes later.

5.      Take A Break

I've watched Gilmore Girls from beginning to end three times.


This is the first break I take during my process. I find that when I stare at things too long, I end up questioning and hating everything. It’s better to gain some distance, watch some Netflix, and read 
 some books for a few weeks or so before even thinking about the piece again.

6.      Editing Round One


So I’ve watched all of Goosebumps and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I’ve read lots of Neil Gaiman and have gotten over how I will never be as awesome as him, and now I’m ready to look at the book again. I go through, taking notes and trying to make it the best as I can. I may not know some things like names of characters or places, so I either put in a blank (___) or write out what I want (PUT NAME OF PLACE HERE, YOU FOOL). It’s still sloppy at this point, but the cake is starting to taste good (have you had enough of this analogy yet?).

7.      Workshop


I’m so lucky to have the best group of workshopping partners in the world. I send them chunks of my book in sections, they suggest how I should make it better, and I have a bunch of ner perspective on all the stuff I wrote!

8.      Editing Round Two


This is the second round. Ding Ding Ding! During this part, I take all the notes and suggestions from my workshop buddies and go through and edit the manuscript again. Pretty self explanatory.

9.      Hate The Book


There is no exact time where I reach this stage, but it always comes somewhere between the first and last edit. I start to hate every line, all the characters, and I start asking myself who I think I am, writing a book like some type of writer or some shit. This is where I start procrastinating and everything in my house is miraculously clean and organized. I may also pick up new hobbies like baking or scrapbooking to avoid the manuscript. I wish I was kidding.

10.   Print The Book


I love Word’s comments and track changes tool, but for me, there is nothing like editing my own work on paper. I’m better able to see what I’m doing, can write myself detailed notes in the margins, and I can flip back and forth more easily. I don’t do any of this however until I first…

11.   Take Another Break


That’s right. It might seem a little excessive, but I need that second break between second and third edits. I need to get out of my own head and DO things for at least a month before looking at it again.

12.   Send To People


This is where during my time of binge-watching The X-files and reading everything I put off while I was writing, my first writer-friend takes a look at my work. I’ll also send it to my editor during this time so when I get the notes and suggestions back from both of them, I can flip through my own notes and compare them. Essentially, when I go in for the next round of edits, I have at least three peoples’ opinions to work with.

13.   Breathe


This is where I’m slowly coming out of my hating the manuscript stage and heading back into love, but I don’t dive head first. There are strangers reading it and it is no longer just mine. It can be a little nerve wracking and this is probably the stage (except #16) that makes me the most nervous. It’s important to take a step back and realize that I’m doing it. This is happening and it’s going to be okay.

14.   Fall In Love Again


I get my notes back and I have finished my first critical read through of the book. I see what works and what doesn’t, and finally, the pieces are all starting to fit together and look like an actual novel with a point. I fall back in love with the characters and their story. I’m renewed and ready for phase 15.

15.   Editing Round Three


That’s right. It’s round three. I get rid of anything that looks like poop and make sure things make sense. Usually, the only thing left after this are very small and are often caught by…

16.   Beta Readers

Me ten seconds after I send out a book.        

This is different than my workshop buddies, writer friends, and editor reading the book because these are readers, first and foremost. This is the audience that represents who will be buying my book and  most of the time, their opinion means the most because it’s kind of like a test run with a crash dummy in the seat (sorry for yet another awful analogy. It’s late). If the airbag needs to deploy, it’s not on someone who paid five dollars for the book and will get angry and write a bad review when they find the slightest mistake. Beta readers are super important because they’re honest about the overall story and plot, and they’re the last gatekeeper you need to pass before you’re seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.

17.   Editing Round Four


This is the final read through. This is the final countdown. I’m getting ready for promotion, the cover, and release and now I have the opinions of test readers. Usually this last one goes by fast because there are a few easy things to fix and then I’m done. I can see it being a book and other people eventually reading it. I also send out review copies or ARCs to reviewers and readers once this is done, which is super exciting and nerve wracking.

18.   Breathe, Damn It

Yes, that is a happy potato. Dancing.
I let all the review copies be read, format the book, and upload it for preorder. This is the time where I’m at the top of the roller coaster and waiting for it to drop. It’s hard to not be stressed out, but it’s also hard to not be happy. 

19.   Done!


The book comes out and hopefully readers like it as much as I do in the end. Then I’m on to the next book, starting the process all over again.

Thanks for reading. If there are any topics you'd like me to write about in the future, leave a comment below or join the facebook group and post something!