Writing During the Holidays

Ok, so writing isn’t my day job.  I have a ‘real’ job that pays the bills and feeds my 401k.  Wouldn’t it be great to just write for a living?  Yes!  Is that likely?  Not so much!

Seems like most authors aren’t living lavish lives off their work, but for the likes of Clancy, Rowling, Scalzi, etc.  For good reason, obviously, but my point is that even mid-list authors seem to have other sources of income.

When I spent my days desperately sending out query letters to agents, I learned a lot about being an author.  I thought that once you’ve found an agent, everything magically becomes wonderful, trumpets sound, and unicorns deliver fan mail by the trailer full.

Then I started reading the tales of others who got into the field.  I know a guy at work whose wife finally got a 4 book deal to do some romance novels, after a decade and more of trying.  She was excited at first, but then it waned a bit.  The advance wasn’t that great, by the time she got her royalties everyone had taken their share and she got the leftovers, and she was even told what themes to write and given deadlines for it all.

Now, I’m not saying I wouldn’t take the offer of all the resources and publicity that a publishing house and agent could provide, but I also look at the bright side of what I am managing to do.

I write when I can, because I enjoy it.  Sure, I put pressure on myself to met some self-imposed quotas, but if I need to run errands or save kittens from a burning building, I won’t get bent out of shape or receive a nastygram from an editor.

I thought I’d mention some of the reasons I’ve had to conquer while trying to write:

1.Not in the mood

2. Tired.

3. Not feeling the mojo/concerned about writing drivel because I wasn’t feeling the love.

4. Finishing the last of my 1000 pushup daily routine. (and if you believe that…)

5. Defeating a zombie outbreak.

6. Solving the financial crisis here in the US.  I gave them some great ideas, but I don’t think they’re going to follow through…

The thing is, once I start writing, I’m always productive, whether it’s revising or adding new material.  I get so into the characters, that the loose ideas I want to get on the screen sometimes go a different direction once the characters start ‘talking’.  It’s hard to describe, but I know these people well enough that sometimes I feel less like I’m typing words into the computer than just watching a conversation unfold.  It’s a wonderful thing when the people you’ve created as an author reach that point; they take on their own lives, often quite different than what you’d originally intended when plotting out the story.

Sometimes, it’s just the getting started that’s the hard part.  It’s taking that first step- clearing your schedule, not turning on the TV, and yes, putting off more ‘important’ things so you can have a bit of fun with the people you’ve brought to life.

That makes me think about the novel I’m working on right now, the sequel to Out of Nowhere, my young adult sci-fi title.  I really enjoy the characters, and they’re immense fun to write.  Even though it sells less than the military sci-fi books I have, I still can’t help but need to finish this sequel before I get back to the Birthright Series.

Anyway, I hope you all are able to make some time for writing during the holidays, and don’t let the hectic times get in the way of a couple chapters of your dreams!

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