Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The Insecure Writer and Writing Full-Time
Today is April's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
Why am I an Insecure Writer this month?
Because I’m contemplating what it might be like to be a full-time author.
Before I go any further, however, I feel it necessary to post the following disclaimer, just in case any of my bosses at work happen to stop by.
“I’m very happy with my current job and I have no plans to leave anytime in the near future.”
Okay, now where were we? Oh, yes. Full time writer fantasies. Sitting at the computer all day, doing nothing but writing, drinking tea, and watching your sales numbers climb on Amazon. What’s not to like?
Since I'm such a slow writer, I often wonder what it would be like if I had all day to write, instead of relying on the random thirty minute snippets I depend upon now. Because every great once in a while, when I’m lucky enough to find a three or four hour window in which to write, I often make more progress on my story than I normally do in two weeks.
Now it would be easy to conclude that if I had eight hours every day in which to write, my weekly progress would skyrocket. But I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work out that way in real life. For one thing, I’m almost always thinking about my story when I’m away from the computer (much to the consternation of my wife). If I sat in front of the computer all day, I’d lose a lot of that free association time so important to my productivity.
But that’s not the main reason I doubt my productivity would scale with writing time. Some of my ideas take a long time to percolate through my head. I mean a looooooong time. It’s not at all unusual for me to dream up better ways to write a chapter several months, sometimes years, after I think it's finished.
In fact, just yesterday I thought of a way to change one of the scenes in my current chapter so as to increase the emotional tension between two of the characters. I can’t tell you how many dozens of times I’ve gone over this chapter in the past two months, yet this idea just came out of the blue today. I fear that writing at a faster pace would rob me of many of my best ideas and my chapters would suffer.
In the final analysis, I suppose I’m okay with not being a full time writer, if only because I’m pretty sure that if I were a full time writer, my family would starve. So I can confidently state that I have absolutely no intention of quitting my day job in order to write.
Of course, should I win the lottery, all bets are off.
How many of you are lucky enough to write full time?