Are you thinking about writing full-time and quitting your steady job at Wombat Widgets, INC.? Before you do anything rash, you need to address the money situation. On these sites, Kameron Hurley, Jim C. Hines, Scott Berkun share their numbers and give some hard truths about writing and money. Go. Read. I’ll wait.
So, dear reader, you still think full-time writing is for you? Then pull up a chair and let me tell you a few things you’re gonna need.
Routine: Do not underestimate the importance of routine. Mine looks like this: Get up, get kids ready and to school, check email and social media while consuming coffee and breakfast, write, check email and social media while eating lunch, write, get kids. Okay, there may be a lot of Googling my book’s title, checking Twitter, and reading recaps of my favorite shows on EW.com, too. But the point is, if it’s 10:30, I know I should be writing. Don’t be distracted by laundry or dust or Kathy Lee and Hoda. It’s really easy to let a day get a way from you when there isn’t a boss to question how you spend your time. Make a plan and do your best to follow it.
To-Do Lists: I would never get anything done without my trusty daily to-do list. Every morning I write down what I have to get done (write this post and revise one chapter), what I’d like to get done (research book stores for possible events), and what I should be thinking about in the back of my mind (scheduling said book events). Like the routine, I often deviate as different things arise, but it gives me a rubric by which I can measure my accomplishments.
Alone Time: As a full-time writer, you will be in one long timeout from the world. Yes, you have that internet thing that’s like a peephole into the goings ons of the outside, but you aren’t really there. It’s you and the desk and the computer and those stale Cheetos you’ve been nibbling on for three days (go on, get yourself a fresh bag, you’ve earned it). You need to be okay with this. I sometimes go for days without seeing other people I didn’t marry or beget. Get comfortable with yourself.
An Outside Place: When the Alone Time gets to be too much, you’re going to need a place to go with real live people. It could be a coffee shop, library, or the local feed store. Wifi would be nice, too. The important thing is to give your routine a breath of fresh air. I get a lot more work done during these occasional public jaunts because I don’t want strangers to witness my hours of internet wanderings.
Writer Friends: Never underestimate the importance of people in your life who know what you’re going though, who have felt the angst of waiting to hear back on a full request and the pain of rejections, or the struggle of painstakingly filling in plot holes the size of Texas. These are the people you can whine to when you get a one-star review on Goodreads and will understand why you won’t stop looking at them. These friends are gold, treat them well.
A Guilty Pleasure: What’s the point of getting to stay at home if you’re going to be a good girl or boy all the time? Take advantage of your independence by wearing pajamas all day, eating chocolate for breakfast, or hooking yourself up to a coffee IV. Some vices you can do every day, and some are for special occasions — like having a cocktail for lunch when you find out some good news or binge watching GAME OF THRONES after a harsh rejection. Enjoy your new full-time writing career – after all, you aren’t doing it for the money.
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