Life in 2017: An Update From Lost Luggage Studios

By Jamie Alan Belanger on December 17, 2017 5:00 pm · 0 Comments

2018 Is Almost Here 😮

It’s very strange to think that yet another year has just flown by. Where does all this time go?

I’m very well aware that we’ve been quiet around here. Far too quiet. There is a good reason for that: I work too much. Now that I’m back in the work force (as of February 2016), I’ve been having a lot of trouble figuring out a work/life balance. I had gotten used to self-employment; rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn, working on projects that Paul and I dreamed up, going to sleep whenever I got tired. Sometimes I’d work a few hours, then head out to wander through the woods with my camera. Sometimes I’d get involved in a project and work 60-70 hours straight. My schedule was total chaos, and I loved it.

Now I have a routine. A normal, boring routine.

Between waking, working, and all that goes along with it, I’m usually running from the time I roll out of bed until I get home around 5 or 6pm. The last thing I want to do after staring at computer screens all day is to turn on my computer at home. Alas, it’s just not in me to do anything half-way, so I found myself slipping into my old routine of working too much, then arriving home so mentally exhausted that all I could focus on was a movie, or a video game, or sometimes I just eat dinner and fall asleep.


Projects and Work

A strange thing has been happening to me lately. I find that I actually like my day-job. I’m not supposed to; I know that (you probably shouldn’t tell my boss, or my coworkers). For some reason I actually enjoy what I do. It’s challenging, it takes a lot of skill and I still have so much to learn, yet it is oddly fun. And not “FUn” as Paul and I sometimes say (notice the capital F and U) but something I actually do look forward to doing. I don’t roll out of bed in the morning dreading work; rather, I want to get the job done, and do it well, and move on to the next task. Strange, I know, but what can I say? I’m pretty sure it’s not supposed to be like this, but it happened nonetheless.

My previous day-job extracted so much from me that I was pretty much mental mush by the end of each day. My commute was long and annoying (45 minutes to two hours, each way) and I worked a lot of hours. I was gone 12 to 16 hours a day. Sometimes I’d work from home on the weekends too. After a few years of that, something clicked. I rebelled… I rebelled by working on my own projects at night. Every day, I’d spend at least one hour on something I wanted to create. During that time, I managed to create the first versions of several pieces of software I still (mostly) maintain: Batch Image Converter, WebLinks, and even helped Paul as he wrote the first version of our card game Catalyst. I also wrote and edited my first novel, Pariah.

I really didn’t have the energy to do all this, but I dug deep down and found the energy because I wanted to break free.


Very Early Retirement

In 2008, I “retired” from that job and moved up here to Maine. Self-employment presented other challenges, but I relished the chance to create and work on my own projects. I accomplished a lot over the years, but eventually the fiscal reality of life in this country kicked in. Maine isn’t exactly a cheap place to live. For all the snow and ice and single-digit temperatures we deal with, they should probably have a reverse income tax and pay us to stay. Nobody will deny that it’s beautiful up here, and the air is cleaner than any other place I’ve lived. I’m not planning to leave any time soon.

It’s taken a while, but I think I’m finally starting to find a work/life balance. My employer actually encourages me not to work as much as I do. I’m not sure why I have so much trouble letting go at the end of the day. Maybe it’s just my nature to hit the ground running and never stop or slow. I’m still trying to learn how to pick my battles, and how to be more effective at everything I do. Some things are bound to fall to the wayside, and regrettably, most of those things appear to be my own projects.


Scribings and Then Some

Earlier today I announced Scribings, Vol 6: Regatherings is now available. We actually started working on this volume back in late 2015. Starting a day-job and trying to find the balance in my life was a large factor in the delays for this volume. Everyone in the group worked so hard to make these stories ready, and I totally dropped the ball, several times. Like I said above, I find it very difficult to focus on anything creative after pouring so much of myself into my day-job. I’m starting to figure it out though. So I’m declaring that this is just the beginning. A new beginning, of sorts.

Paul and I have both been working on several projects. In the past, I’ve talked about my writing experiment, where I wrote more than half a million words in 2014. Paul has also been very busy. We’ve started to review and edit some selected items from all that behind-the-scenes work. I don’t want to go into too much detail yet, but we’re planning to publish a few things in 2018. And that does include more Fireteam Zulu stories. Stay tuned; we’ll announce everything here first.


Oh, One More Thing

Another thing to stay tuned for… Smashwords will be launching a sale after Christmas, and I’ve enrolled nearly every book in our catalog. So if you are hoping to get a shiny new ebook reader, phone, or tablet for the holidays, I’ll be posting about this sale next week. There are going to be a lot of great books participating in this sale, so get ready to stock up on sales and freebies. 🙂

Stay happy and safe, and have a great holiday season!

– Jamie


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