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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Change to Writing Fulltime – Part I

I thought I’d share a few thoughts on a recent transition in my life; basically, I’ve gone from writing part-time to writing full time. Writing romance is my passion and I now have the ability to pursue it fully. I’m so excited! Many multi-published authors write full time, but not many of us who are yet to be published have the opportunity to do so. On the surface, it seems like a dream come true, and it is, but I’ve found that there are pitfalls just waiting to trip me up.

For example, it is easy, when I have all day, to put off doing the final edits on a manuscript until later. Before I know it, later is 10:17pm at night and I haven’t started them. The more time I have, the less I seem to accomplish and vice versa. Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you need something done, give it to a busy person?” It’s true. This means that somehow I have to create pressure for myself. This can get a little tricky.

Deadlines: As an unpublished writer, I have no editor expecting revisions by a certain date or an agent calling to see how far along I am on my current work in progress (WIP). So I have to create my own pressure, my own stress. Luckily, I’ve had a number of requests lately so my deadlines, while they are arbitrary, are at least actual projects that need to be sent out. Otherwise, it’s easy to research, or read, or promote for hours and not get the writing or revising done that I know needs to happen.

Other great deadline makers are contests, calls for conference workshop proposals, and critique partners. Thanks to these, this month I’ve sent out two contest entries, one workshop proposal, and multiple chapters to various critique partners in addition to my submissions. I have succeeded in “creating pressure” at least for this month :-)

Structure: Here is an area that I’m still exploring. When I worked outside the house, the structure was determined for me. I had to be at work by a certain time, had to check email, make calls, and attend meetings. Then I was able to come home and have dinner. My writing came before or after the work day.

Now the writing is the work day and adjusting to the new schedule is not easy. I still find myself writing a lot at night as if the darkness triggers the habit. In the morning, it is easier to answer emails and do research on the web or update my website. But I’ve heard it’s best to write just before going to sleep and as soon as you wake up. I’d like my schedule to change, but haven’t quite figured it all out yet. So, if anyone has any ideas, I could certainly use them. If you have any tricks of the trade, I'd love to read them. Please, comment to share :-)


P.S. Everyone who comments on my blog or contacts me through my website in the month of May is being entered into a drawing for a $10 Barnes & Noble card.


  1. Good luck Alexis and congratulations on being able to write full time. If you find the secret to changing writing times/places please let me know. I find the story fairy only likes to visit me at certain places/times.

  2. Hi Linda,

    Thank you. It's very exciting to have all day to write now. I will definitely share if I figure out the time/place issue. I'm hoping to get some hints from those more experienced than me :-)

  3. Alexis, the only trick I know of for creating structure is designating a time/place that's the equivalent of your former away-from-home job site and saying "I have to be THERE from 8-11."

    Get dressed for it, same as going to work. Whatever clothes you designate as your Writing Clothes, you have to make sure they're ready to wear for the workday, and literally get changed and ready before you leave for work.

    That place, obviously, can be at home...but treat it as a separate job site. Knowing how scrupulous you were about living up to the job requirements away from home, I bet you'll do an equally good job of living up to the NEW job requirements!

    Laurie, who built into my work schedule one Fun Break every weekend -- that's a nice bonus :)

  4. Thank you, Laurie. This is great advice! I've been so excited about writing that I've felt like I have to be at my desk ALL the time, day, night, weekday or weekend. I don't want to burn out. Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend I was up till 3:30am! I know I have to stop that, but when I'm on a roll I don't want to stop and I can always sleep in :-)