I once read an interview with an author who had recently given up her day job to focus on writing full time. In it she said she was amazed that she didn’t seem to be writing any more words than when she worked in another job full time. This scared me a lot and put me off the idea of quitting work to write.
Now, taking WorldCon and other commitments out of the equation, I have been writing full time for three days (so can confidently call myself an expert). I can now see how it can feel like you write less, indeed I thought I had written very little until I actually accounted for all the words and saw there were a lot more than I had realised.
Sticking to the ‘write every day’ rule (which I think all of us have adopted since WorldCon) I have so far managed to write a full short story from start to finish and I planned out the next steps in five of my writing projects. These things alone would have taken weeks in my ‘old life’ so three days is quite a feat! And to think that it still feels like I’ve done very little just makes it that much better. Imagine what it will be like when I have a week where I feel like I have worked hard?!?
The thing is, writing full time does not mean sitting down and banging at the keyboard or scratching away on a pad from 9am – 5pm every day. It means giving yourself time to think about the plot problems and story development and then being able to write the solution as soon as you have the answer. It means writing every day, and once you hit the flow nothing breaks you out of it. But most of all, it means exploring everything you want to write, not just limiting yourself to the things you think you should finish first.