Thursday, April 29, 2010

Business Plan Part 3 - Time Commitment

Currently reading - My Zombie Valentine by MacAllister, Fox, Mancusi, Cash

Make no mistake--writing a novel takes a lot of time. Sure, Nora can whip out a first draft in thirty days. But she's got decades of experience under her garters, not to mention she can write full-time. Most of us just starting out don't have that luxury. Day Jobs are necessary to keep that roof over your head.

Sit down and put together a schedule of your commitments for the week. Now look where you can shave extra time for writing. Be realistic! Your Day Job co-workers would like you to take the occasional shower. The dogs want to be fed because, let's face it, while the couch provides plenty of fiber, it lacks in protein.

For most folks, it means giving up a few hours of TV or social networking in the evening. Originally, I carved out time by writing during my lunch hour and taking a couple of hours on the weekend. I was lucky to get 1,000 words written per week. So I was looking at taking two years just to write a first draft. Not good if I want to be writing full time and making a certain amount of money. I learned through the education process that most writers making a living at commericial fiction (my ultimate goal, remember?) are putting out two or more books per year.

I ramped up the education factor by taking a hard look at how the professionals do it. Stephanie Bond eliminated most social obligations until her first book sold. Then she negotiated with her employer to work part-time until more books sold. Christie Craig worked as a freelance photojournalist to have the flexibility to work on her fiction. Stephen King taught school during the day, then spent his evenings typing furiously to produce Carrie.

I plotted more extensively, typed faster and coerced my family into leaving me alone for certain portions of the evening and weekend. And this is where most writers (especially the female writers) hit the guilt wall.

I can't tell you how to let the guilt go, but you've got to find a way. Trust me, no kid (to my knowledge) has died of a Pop-Tart overdose yet. And research shows we humans eat about two pounds of dirt per year anyway.

Now we've educated ourselves and made the time commitment, tomorrow we need to take a look at our support system.

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