Thursday, June 6, 2013

Okay, So I Could Have Been Wr...Wro...Wrong....

That was a tough admission to make!

I've always felt writers needed to devote all of their time to their writing. And if they did have to have a "day" job, it should be something that wouldn't be too mentally demanding, allowing them to save all that mental energy for writing. When I sold my first novel back in 1984, I had a plan: make enough money to write full time, then keep making money. I wanted to work at home, and I wanted to get rich. I believed that was the only way to go. I'd already quit my job. If I was wrong, I was seriously screwed.

It did work out. My agent had the same objective, and she was the one I'd put my money on in any negotiation. Sometimes I suspected she could even make Godzilla run for cover. I was glad she was on my side.

But there's a downside to writing full time. If you're dependent upon your writing for a living, you don't have the luxury of being able to dig in and fight if you're having a disagreement with your publisher...unless you're Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or Dan Brown, in which case you're making enough money to keep your publisher waiting until Doomsday! But if you're King, Rowling or Brown, they'll give you whatever you want anyway.

Maybe, then, it's best for most of us to have other jobs or careers and write on the side. Maybe it's best to have the luxury of being able to write what we want to write without having to worry about what's currently popular. Maybe my father was right when he urged me to have another career. It's a bit late in the game to pursue another career now, but there was a time I wanted to be an astronomer. I might have pursued that, had it not been for the math requirement in the curriculum. Or maybe zoology--I love anything to do with animals.....

What do you think? Is it best for authors to write full-time, or should we all keep our day jobs?


A few notes of interest: Authors for Oklahoma is still taking donations over at Facebook--money or, from you fellow authors who wish to donate books or ebooks. It's for a good cause!

He's baaaaack! My partner in crime, William Kendall, is finally getting back into blogging over at Speak of the Devil....

At Beishir Books, I'm featuring the cover--done beautifully by Collin, of course--for Shelly Arkon's upcoming short story release, The Partner's Progeny...

And today and tomorrow, I'm giving away ebook copies of my 2009 novel Final Hours at Smashwords. Just use this coupon code: QC75P!

Also posted at WordPress.


  1. I think it depends on the writer. Some writers choose to work at least part of the time for non-financial reasons. Meaning it stimulates their creativity, etc. to get away from their writing desks on a regular basis.

    Some writers only have a novel every two years in them regardless if they're writing 40 hours a week or 4. It's just their pace, so they wouldn't do well being locked in a room to write 8 hours a day.

    Although, I do think marketing is more important than ever for a writer, so it's easier to fill those extra hours with non-writing stuff now than it was 20 years ago.

    Just downloaded my copy of final hours! :D

  2. Thank you, E.J.!

    I used to be able to write fast--I was usually way ahead of my deadlines--so writing full-time made sense. But now that I'm older, my focus isn't so good and everything takes me five times longer, so I couldn't depend solely on writing anymore.

    As for the marketing, I've found it's not as important as most people think....

  3. Right now, I'm glad I have a job. My books sales wouldn't pay my bills. I'm thinking maybe in 3 years I'll see a profit after I've written several books.

    Good post, Norma.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  4. I'd like to do it full time, so we'll see. Marketing does seem to take up so much time....

  5. I am not a writer, I only write articles for (my research) work, but I really like what EJ Wesley said. It seems to make a lot of sense that not everything will work for everyone. I found that lately, I do need my writing time to be broken up by other things occasionally, just to use another part of my brain. People talk about physical fatigue and it's the same for mental fatigue - nice to switch gears and maybe come back a bit more ready to write...

  6. I'm basically a free-spirited person -- except when it comes to money -- there's always got to be a back up or I'll get stuck in a rut (if that makes any sense).

    1. My dad always said I had no respect for money. I was never quite sure what he meant by that. I suspect he was saying I was free-spirited about it, too....

  7. I have nothing enlightening to say about writing because it is so different from completing an art project especially time-wise.
    So as we grow older we all change the way the way we work, I think ? Job or no job I would think one would/should benefit from going out side of your "writers world". Doing something/anything that is different from writing must help to change the way you look at something.

    cheers, parsnip

    cheers, parsnip

    1. I used to be able to complete a manuscript months ahead of deadline. Now? I haven't finished a project since 2009! If I had to depend on my staying productive to make a living at it, I'd be really hungry by now!

  8. I'd love to write full-time if only real life and finances will allow!

    Take care

    1. I think that's what most writers dream of, Old Kitty. And then reality sets in....

  9. I think you can't rush the artistic mind Norma. On a different tack, I'm having some artwork done by my Niece who is extremely talented, but it's taking her so much longer than it should have to finish the project, but somehow I totally understand, you have to be in the right space, and when she is she comes and paints, when not, she doesn't, she gets the money for each section she completes, so eventually it'll be finished and will be fabulous! So maybe there are times too when you feel uninspired, a part time job perhaps!


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