Saturday, September 24, 2011

On being a writer with a day job...

...and a family with one dog. I can summarize it with one word; hard.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and ask myself; why do I still write? The amount of times I can is small, the distractions are high, the possibility to learn and better my craft is in direct competition with the time I've to write. With the amount of work I do, I could finish two books a year. Some writer think this is a lot, and if you think that you must be lazy. One can easily produce one book writing thirty minutes a day. It's possible to write 500 words in thirty minutes, having 365 days a year that makes 182500 words. So easily possible even if you have two jobs. (or three, one can always write on the crapper.)

On average I write an hour daily. It's the things you have to do around the writing itself that consumes so many additional hours. Like reading, learning, maintaining blogs and websites, social media, etc, etc. Especially reading is essential for your writing, by reading you will notice techniques other writers use that you can also use; it's learning by example. The social media aspect is to show a face to the public so you don't stay an unknown writer that never sells a book. It's more work for the amount of sales it produce, but still it's essential because with nobody knowing you, you will probably not get any sales. This makes writing something for the long-term, it may take ages to get at the point you produce quality work that will easily sell a lot.

I'm at the start of my writing career, and hence don't produce yet enough to be able to maintain myself only with my writing. That is why I have a regular day job and the commute that comes with it. This job devours the available hours, about 12 hours working and commuting from Monday to Friday. It's not only the time that gets lost, the creative energy is also drained, and it has a lasting effect on the weekend. It's really troublesome. To counter this I try to move and train my body to become stronger and have a bigger supply of energy. Bad thing is, is that training cost time.

I want to spend time with my family and dog, some weekends I put writing aside so I can spend time with them. I feel less drained while I'm with my family (unless my kids are cranky), I dare say they revitalize me a little. It's fun, but fun that keeps me from writing, and slowing me producing books. A slow production of books is less money making potential. However I will not stop spending time with my wife and kids, because I already don't spend as much on them as I used to.

To make it in writing means you should be willing to make sacrifices. I now spend less time I used with my family, I have no time for my hobbies, and I've put my IT career on a hold. And I still didn't answer the initial question. Why do I still write if it's so hard? I write because I want to write. The days I'm not writing I'm thinking on writing. The longer I don't write the more the thoughts about writing will push in my brain till I become so distracted that I've to write. Writing is beautiful. So yeah I guess I'll keep writing as long life allows it.

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