Full Time Writer

I have taken a leave of absence from the workplace this spring to concentrate on my writing. This was long planned. I really like my colleagues and have great respect for the people I’ve worked with, likewise for the ethos of the company. But I knew in advance that the novel would start to require my time again and this time I wanted to be energised and ready to give it proper attention.

When I was completing the final draft to send to my agent, I was doing a rewrite and working full-time during a very busy period. I was exhausted. My health was not the best – I was wiped out, severely overweight and unable to engage with the novel the way I wanted. I was so tired I got it into my head that everyone would get fed up of waiting and move on. When I eventually spoke to my employers and explained I needed more time to complete the novel, they were very supportive and kind.

I’m aware that I am lucky. Firstly, I was old and ugly and long in the tooth enough to know what I wanted and secondly, that I had an agent and publisher who were interested in my work. And thirdly, colleagues who were interested and rooting for me. And fourthly, the time to financially prepare for this.

Today, my decision was vindicated. I’m just getting stuck into the development/storyline edits for my novel White Feathers and they really are going to demand all my concentration – and this process has a deadline. I know there are superwomen Β and men out there who have jobs/families and write a novel and pull it all off. I’m not one of those people. I’m not Superwoman and I can’t do both. And if you aren’t one of those people, consider this post a voucher you can show your doubting mind.

I hope to return to the non-writing workplace sometime mid March, but that date is not set in stone. For now, I have a job already, and I’m going to get on with it. And really enjoy it πŸ™‚

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12 Comments

  1. The very best of luck with your move to full time writing for a while. I so admire anyone with the talent and stamina to write and edit a novel.

    1. Thanks Deirdre. I really do believe that once things start getting serious (e.g. agent representation, publisher or the like) that society in general – family and friends – should be supportive of an author if they want to block out time and go for their objective. There’s too much of the “wow, she’s amazing, she got up at 4am to write and then went and worked at her incredibly demanding job then looked after the family” etc. etc. implying that full time writers are just sitting on their bum being parasites.

      Nobody is going to give you a medal for stretching yourself thin, so the martyr ideal should not be upheld for writers. Leaving the workplace is a valid career decision if you have a novel to get out there.

      But then again I’ve declared time again that I’m “mentally weak” (i.e. can do one thing at a time only) and don’t give a stuff what people think about that!

  2. I think it’s a great choice Susan. I also think there’s a lot to be said about having the time to enjoy the process, and not being so overstretched that it somehow passes you by. Best of luck with it!

    1. Thanks, S! I’m now making notes for scenes and it’s a pure joy to have my brain waking up again. It’s been a while since I wrestled with the manuscript, and I’m ready to really do it justice. This is an exciting time and I’m glad to have it.

    1. Thanks Tracey. I feel positive πŸ™‚ I am sure there are moments when I’ll be tearing my hair out, but now that I’m pointed in the right direction, everything seems a bit easier!

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