Benjamin Sperduto

Fantasy, Horror, & Science Fiction Author

Don’t Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out, 2017

So this is a few days late, but whatever.

Goodbye, 2017. And good fucking riddance.

Seriously, 2017 was a rough year. And while the mere gesture of flipping the calendar page from 2017 to 2018 doesn’t really change anything in an existential way (marking the passage of time being an arbitrary human construct, blah, blah, blah), it does provide a nice way of being able to close the door on a period of time and wipe the slate clean in order to start something new.

For me, that means a lot of things. The biggest change is the fact that I quit my day job as a teacher. Quite frankly, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I’d sort of fallen into teaching again a few years ago and while there were some good moments, I don’t think it’s a job I’m temperamentally suited for. For starters, teaching requires you to be an authority figure and I’m pretty much a pushover when it comes to asserting any kind of authority. More importantly, to be a good teacher, you really have to be willing to dedicate a lot of intellectual and emotional energy to prepare coursework and evaluate students. And that’s even before you get to the performative aspect of getting in front of a class of students every day.

As a creative, that kind of job creates major problems. I only have so much energy to devote to any one thing during the day and if a ton of my mental energy is soaked up with teaching, I don’t have a lot left over for creative work. It got to a point where I was engaging in self-destructive habits to cope with the frustration and emotional fatigue. Teaching also isn’t a job you can just phone in without consequences. When you’re not doing a good job as, say, a banker or a web designer, you’re just letting down clients or customers. While that’s not ideal, who really cares in the grand scheme of things? You’re inconveniencing people or costing them a bit of money, but whatever, that’s nothing they can’t recover from. When you do a bad job as a teacher, you’re literally damaging a kid’s future. So in addition to being miserable, I also knew I wasn’t doing right by the students. Since stepping away, I’ve felt like a massive weight has been lifted from my chest.

Of course, this means I have to find something else to do. Unfortunately, as a creative personality, I pretty much hate every type of job in existence. I want to be writing and creating, not slaving away to make other people money in some way, shape, or form. Since I’m far from being able to support myself as a writer (BUY BOOKS HERE!!! AND HERE!!!), I can’t do without a day job. Or in my case, a night job. Slinging lattes at the neighborhood coffee shop isn’t glamorous, but it does pay. So the current plan is to write in the morning after dropping my son off at school, and then work in the evenings.

How’s it going so far? Probably too early to tell, but I’ve gotten a decent start on a new novel over the last three days. I didn’t get a lot of writing done in 2017, so I’m a little rusty. While I’ve never been a fast writer, I’m hoping to push my average pace a bit higher over the course of the next month. Even at my usual middling pace, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be cranking out two to three books every year. It would be nice if writing success was simply a matter of consistency and determination, but you need a fair amount of luck as well. All I can do is do the hard work to put myself in a position to make the most of that luck when (or if) it comes.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get my gaming venture, Last Redoubt Games, off the ground this year. This is an idea I’ve been kicking around for at least ten years, but has never gotten beyond the conceptual stage. Last year I spent a lot of time working on a tabletop game that turned out to be quite fun after some initial kinks got ironed out. I’ll share some more info as the project gets closer to reality (in other words, once I figure out where to fit it into the schedule).

I’m still working on the next Morana’s Breath album, Dust. It was supposed to be done by now, but it fell to the backburner for various reasons. The 12/12 Project Podcast sadly tailed off when I no longer had time to run the gaming group fueling it. I really enjoyed podcasting, though, so I’d like to get another podcast started up. While 12/12 is probably dead, a Culture Tsar podcast might be doable and I’m trying to figure out how to fit it into the schedule.

Long story short, 2018 should be exciting. I’m making a lot of changes in my personal life that will hopefully fuel a more productive creative life. I would say that I plan to blog here a bit more frequently, but I’ve made that promise many times in the past and failed miserably so I’m not going to set myself up that again. I guess we’ll see what happens!

1 Comment

  1. Good for you, Ben! Making significant life changes takes enormous courage. And Jesus, writing/creating is a difficult way to make a living, but if you’re compelled, you do what you gotta do.

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