Are you a freelance writer slowly dying inside as you wait to hear back from editors about your latest story pitch? You’re not alone. Here’s how to stay sane when stuck between projects.
Freelancers have to master the art of living in a state of quantum uncertainty, of existing simultaneously within several different realities. I spent most of June and July this year waiting for editors and publishers to get back to me on pitches or to discuss future projects. I was peering beyond the gulf of summer (when it’s tough to get hold of anybody and even I have to take a little time off), and was chewing my fingernails at the sight of several months crammed with so many projects I may have been unable to complete them all. Yet those very same months were also completely, terrifyingly empty.
You’ve heard of ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’, right?
Nobel Prize-winning Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founding fathers of quantum theory, came up with a thought experiment in 1935. He was trying to explain how new scientific theories can be considered both correct and incorrect until the point in time where they can actually be proved or disproved.
He stated that if you sealed a cat inside a box containing a substance that could potentially kill the animal at any time, then you wouldn’t know whether the cat was alive or dead until you opened the box. Until then, the cat can be considered simultaneously alive and dead.
While waiting for confirmation on their next project, the freelance author’s schedule exists in a similar state of quantum uncertainty...
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Writer and reviewer Matt Dillon recently invited me onto his excellent blog The Tabletop Lair to chat about role-playing games, Warhammer and writing in general. (You can also read Matt's sister-publication Recut Reviews right here on Substack.)
The Tabletop Lair: When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? Were there any pieces of media that were particularly influential?
Alec Worley: I always had comics and books as a kid, but it was Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy gamebooks that really snagged me as a reader. As a writer too! I think maybe it was that sense of telling a story that plays out as a result of choices made by the main character. That main character being me, the reader! I started writing my own gamebooks soon after, full of Hammer horror and illustrations copied out of comic books.
I got into RPGs soon after and got my hands on West End Games’ Ghostbusters at one point. I only played it once, I think. I had no idea how to run a comedy adventure without things going completely off the rails. Plus, all my players wanted to do was blast civilians in the face with an unlicensed nuclear accelerator!
To read the rest of this interview, head over to The Tabletop Lair by clicking right here.