Monday, September 23, 2013

The Shift from Hobby to Job

Once you're an adult, it's hard to justify spending a ton of time doing something that doesn't pay the bills, take care of your kid, or clean up your house. We all have to bring home a paycheck and kids never stop needing us (always wanting to eat and be driven to school, jeez!), so how do you find the time to write when you want to make the move from writing as a hobby to writing as a job? I've been writing seriously since middle school, but it's always come after what I deemed more important things (schoolwork, work in general, housework, things my daughter wants/needs/HASTOHAVE!). After college, I managed to write a novel every year, year and a half, mostly in my free time and *gasp* mostly sitting on the living room couch. Editing was a bitch with all the distractions of family and daily life. Even writing was hard, as I put everything else ahead of it (bringing home dollars, laundry, grocery shopping, watching TV, volunteering at my daughter's school, etc.).

Well, I finally gave myself an ultimatum: either I start treating writing like a job, or I give it up and agree to 9 to 5 it from here on out. This was the kick in the ass I needed. I began spending four to six hours writing at the library Monday through Friday. It opened at 9, so I could get housework and exercise done beforehand, and then leave straight from the library to pick up my daughter from school. This worked really well for several months. Then I landed my agent. To celebrate, I bought a nice new desk (on sale) and chair, and set up an office upstairs. Now that I was used to writing at least 4 hours a day, I figured I could trust myself to work at home. This was last September. Since then, barring holidays and times relatives are visiting, I work from about 7 in the morning until at least 3 in the afternoon, though now that my daughter is in high school, she's busy after class until 6 every day, which means I work until 5. Since beginning this more structured schedule, I've managed to finish a novel every three to four months, which is crazy fast considering it used to take well over a year. It helps to have the support of my awesome husband and my mastiff writing buddy (Zoey literally hangs out with me all day in the office). Now I just need some of my books on shelves available for purchase!

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