I’ve been playing around with this writing thing for a while now. (“a while now” in my vernacular means “25 years”) I even went to school to get all learned up on how to do it. I’m finally about to complete a novel that I finished by only writing a chapter a week. It’s taken six months (plus aforementioned 25 years).
I looked at the word count and realized that if I’d worked on it for just two hours a day, I could have written the entire first draft in two weeks. WTF? The crazy thing is that when I actually sit down and write, it’s not hard – not at all. The hard part is the actual sitting.
I have a few things going on. I sell quilt patterns online, which some days is quite lucrative. One day last week I made over $300. This is just from my already having done the work and just kicking back. It’s that elusive ‘passive income’ that they talk about on late night television – and it didn’t cost my life’s savings or my dignity. Those patterns will continue to exist and will continue to make money even if I never acknowledge their existence again.
As you might imagine, this makes me want to make more patterns. But, it also makes me want to write because ebooks would act in the same way and, frankly, that’s what I’d prefer to be doing. So I sit at home and look from my sewing table to my writing table, torn between which one to do… and I do neither. Instead, I sit and feel guilty while I binge watch TNG or Doctor Who, yet again.
Anyway, all that to say that I finally pulled the trigger on an idea I’d been wresting with for about six months. I noticed that when I get to my office in Boston in the mornings, there’s no ambiguity. I walk in the door and my brain knows what it’s there to do – what my goals for the day are, the order I complete my work in – everything is rote. I decided I needed to take my writing out of my sewing, Netflix watching, and reading area and give it a place of its own.
I just took on a second job. I went yesterday and rented a desk in a shared office a few blocks from my house. I’m committing twenty hours a week to writing. If with two hours a night and a few extra hours on the weekend, I can’t come up with at least one piece of salable fiction by the end of summer, I’ll give up on thinking I can do it and find another dream. I’ll still write for fun of course, but…
And to any ‘pure art’ people out there, if life has taught me anything, it’s that ‘money’ is not a dirty word. You can love something and expect to make a profit on it.
So, the line-up of stories I have sketched out dictate that I write under three names. One for paranormal, young adult, and general fiction, one for a possible series (I only have one of these books plotted so far) that would sell much better with a female author’s name – most of my quilting customers already think I’m a woman, and one for stuff that should never be tied to the other ones for decency’s sake.
I’m going to start pushing this stuff out and getting it out to ebook sellers and see where it leads. Realizing that instead of being the guy who starts stuff, I am someone who is actually capable of finishing something, makes every morning feel like Christmas morning. Now it’s time to finish a whole bunch of stuff.
And with everything separate, I will be able to enjoy relaxing again instead of feeling guilty about it.
I’ve decided to take the words of Ron Swanson – from whom all wisdom flows – and run with them…