I am now a full time writer. Woohoo!! I have been working towards this goal for three years and now I sit, computer at hand, ready to conquer the world of Young Adult/New Adult fiction.
Okay granted, it’s pretty early on. But still. I feel a little frenetic and lost in figuring out how to approach this. What’s that you say? I simply need to write? Well, not so fast.
Even though I’m an adult, I am still learning the lesson about other people’s lives and way they approach things is not necessarily how I have to. Sounds like a pretty easy thing to get, but I have to keep relearning it every day.
Initially coming into this full time writing gig, I was thinking I’d have this set schedule of half day of writing and half day of editing just like one of my favorite authors. Day one was my first attempt at it, but I have to admit I felt like an abject failure. I found I’d write for an hour and then need to focus somewhere else for a moment to give my brain a break. Then I’d want to chide myself for not remaining steadfastly focused.
On day two I decided to try again and about midway through I flung off my self imposed expectations and just do what felt right. The writing felt easier and cleaner and quiet honestly, I felt as if I could breathe. I listened to where my thoughts wanted to go. If I was going along and I wanted to say stop for a second and check my phone, I did. I know that sounds silly that I had to give myself permission to do that, but I living under a demand to simply write and not allow anything in there that wasn’t…well…writing.
Admittedly I have a touch of OCD. If I think too hard and long on something I need to shift to something else to allow for a break. Maybe I’m normal that way, maybe I’m not, but this shifting didn’t fit into my mold of what it is to be a full time writer. The author whose scheduled I had initially crafted my own from is incredibly focused and has been doing this full time for many years. It is a rhythm that works for her. She may have developed that schedule after many trials and errors, but the bottom line is that it’s hers. It doesn’t necessarily have to be mine.
It’s funny, but I find that my ridged expectation of my writing schedule was exactly the opposite of what I eventually did when I decided to quit to write full time. I had felt a call to write full time, but I had some authors who openly chided me and told me that I should wait until I was moderately successful, because that is how they did it. If I didn’t do it their way I would be surely to fail. That really scared the ever-living crap out of me. Another writer told me that they only way they succeeded was they simply quit their traditional job and wrote, wrote, wrote until they were successful. I was in a war zone between the “don’t do it” to the “throw caution to the wind” parties. Eventually I had to decide to do what was right for me and no one else. I had to quit listening to both camps and be who I am.
Therefore, that is what I am going to do from here on in with my approach to my time. I’m going to do my schedule in a way that feels right to me and only me. For those of you who email me and ask how you should do it, I’m sorry, I can’t tell you that. Eventually you will find your own approach because there is no right or wrong way.
Wish me luck, throw a penny into a well for me or say a prayer. I think I’m going to need it.