Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Fricassee

Dear Ones!

I'll get straight to it.  (My Friday blog posts are often cathartic.)  I applied for a job, and I've made it to the second round.

This isn't earthshattering; people apply for jobs and make it to the second round all the time.  I'm not asking for gasps of admiration or even polite applause.  I'm just asking for your ear.

Here's the thing--I have a Life About Which I Say Nothing (in order to remain anonymous, obviously), and I have my Writing Life, into which you are fully and joyfully invited on an ongoing basis.  My Writing Life comprises a certain amount of my time, and that time includes this blog and MY WRITING.

You get where I'm going, right?  This job (which entails writing!) is a 10- to 20-hours-a-week, work-from-home, how-could-it-get-any-easier job that would theoretically fit like a puzzle piece into my Life About Which I Say Nothing.  But...and this is a gargantuan but...that 10- to 20-hours-week?  THAT IS MY WRITING AND BLOGGING TIME.

If I am offered the job, and if I accept, I don't know when I will write.

No, I'm not being melodramatic.  We all have the Things we do every day -- our jobs, our relationships, our lives.  And there are only so many other Things we can add to the daily lineup.  So, seriously.  I'm feeling like the fact that I'm even flirting with this job is like admitting that I'm considering, even unconsciously, the fact that it's time to move on.


Believe it or not, I do have other work in my life that isn't Authorly Work.  But I'm sure it's obvious by now that I don't have a 9-to-5 office cubicle job that takes me away from the writing world every day.  (If I did, I don't think I could handle the blog.)  I work from home, which is a huge blessing for many reasons.  So this New Potential Job fits into the way my life is already shaped.

But, oh.  Those hours-that-should-be-writing-hours.  They are sacred to me.  And now I find myself considering filling them up with something that isn't writing.

Well, it's writing.  But it's not WRITING.  What it is, actually, is copywriting.  Which I have discovered is something I can actually do.  I don't love it the way I love writing stories, but I can do it.

Mr. A has been so supportive over the years.  But it's been getting harder and harder for him to watch me work so hard and have nothing to show for it.  I think it seriously pains him every time I get another rejection from an editor.  And there's the whole money thing.  Writing stories is great, but, frankly, there's no stream of income attached to this.

I was supposed to be the one to jumpstart our retirement fund.  I was supposed to be the one to dig us out of the financial hole left by an epically failed business venture that left us with a debt load the size of Alaska.  (Lesson learned: Find investors. Don't use personal credit to fund a business.)

Big dreams, those.  "Don't worry; I will save the day!  In a few years, I will have some books sold, and we can pay off the rest of this debt.  And then we can put the rest in the bank and feel like we actually have some sort of nest egg."

Wow.  These were deeply private dreams, and I've just spilled them to the masses.  But this is raw stuff, and I know that, for many of you, the decision to keep writing or stop writing is pretty raw, too.  There are dreams, and there's reality.  There's the ROI on our time spent.  If warm fuzzies are enough to keep a person writing, then warm fuzzies it is.  But after 10 years of writing novels, my fuzzies have gone cold.

So.  This may all be for nothing, as the job may never materialize.  And even if they offer me the position, I may ultimately feel like it's not a good fit for me.  (I mean, ugh. Copywriting.  How does this compare to writing kiss scenes and making things explode?)  But I had to throw this out there, especially to those of you with full time jobs and super-full lives who STILL FIND TIME TO WRITE.  Like those of you with nine children and six dogs and a job and a volunteer position at the local food pantry.

Writing at night isn't a good option, because my brain doesn't function well after 8 pm.  I've tried.

And I already get up at 5:45 each morning, so getting up even earlier probably isn't an option, either.

(I'm not being difficult; I'm being realistic.)

(Also, I don't do caffeine, so I can't even artificially wire myself up.)

So.  If you have a super-full, super-busy life, but you still write regularly, how do you manage it?  Do you feel like you spend enough time on your craft?  Is it worth anything else you might sacrifice (like, I don't know, sleep or food or possibly shaving your legs)?

I feel like I'm at a crossroads.  And I really, really hate being here.  I need your words of wisdom today.

Thanks for being wonderful!


  1. I have two thoughts on this. The first is that, if it's important to you, you'll find the time. I know that's something people say and blah blah, but it's true. Maybe you won't be writing at the pace you're used to, but 5mins here or there, you'll fit it in.

    Second. I once turned down a job opportunity (at my existing job) because I knew it would interfere with my writing too much. It would have been a raise, I think I would have liked the job and I think I would have been good at it, but I knew if I accepted, my writing would take a big hit. And at the time (this was maybe two years ago) I felt like I was just on the horizon of reaching my goals, and I didn't want that momentum to stop.
    Obviously it was the right decision for me, because here I am with a book deal and all that jazz (and, also, I still have my same old day job that pays well and lets me work from home, so not quite the same spot you find yourself in) but had I not sold my book? Had I gone another 3,5,10 years of writing, of trying to get there and just not quite making it? I think maybe I'd have some regrets.

    I guess, adult Sarah says, try not to worry too much until the job is offered (there's no point in worrying if it comes to nothing) and then maybe accept if it does. Because, if it's really just not working out for you, you can always quit. But I'd say give it some time, a few months at least, to see how you can adjust (while making money at the same time)

    1. Thank you, Sarah. The job may not actually materialize, so that would make things a little easier. :) And yes, you were fortunate to get your book deal, and if I were under contract with a publisher right now, I wouldn't even be considering outside employment. But yes, you're right -- worrying is not a good idea! <3

    2. Sarah, thanks for sharing. I have been reluctant to take on a promotion because I also get to work from home in current job which allows me a ton of flexibility--2 hours saved commuting every day too.

  2. Obviously I don't know you but after following your blog for years, I feel like I do. I can't imagine you not writing. If you take the job and don't write for a while you may find there's a hole in your life and carve out some writing time.

    A few years back I took a part time job with feelings much like yours. The job is in a library and today I have no regrets as it has enhanced my writing life (even while decreasing my writing time). Surrounded by like-minded people has helped in many ways: networking, meeting other authors, hearing about events, advice and encouragement. I don't know if your copy writing job might have the same benefits, but who knows what new people and a new walk of life might inspire?

    As humans, we resist change. The unknown is scary. Yet we persevere and usually find that things aren't as bad as we thought they would be. Whatever you decide, you seem like the kind of person who will make it work for you.

    Best of luck!

    1. Thank you, Barb! I think you've really hit on something with the resisting change this. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right--part of this angst is simply the fear of change. Definitely changes the way I look at this!

  3. Authoress, I am so sorry that you are having this career crisis. I can relate.

    Aside from my novel writing, I also write fiction and non-fiction for a magazine. At first I worried that it would cut into my other writing too much, but I discovered that when I focus on the magazine writing for a day or two, I can dive back into the novel with greater focus. To be honest, a lot of my novel "time" is spent staring at the screen or getting another cup of coffee (followed by another trip to the bathroom). In other words, my novel time became more productive when I had mental breaks and focused on other work or other story lines.

    This blog is a daily part of so many lives. I sincerely hope you don't choose to give it up, and I do want to say "thank you" on behalf of your readers. I am amazed at the effort and professionalism that go into the site. (On a side note: is there a way to monetize the site? Sell ads? Something? Sorry to sound so commercial, but I am just throwing out ideas.)

    1. Thank you so much, S.D.

      Yanno, years ago, Mr. A set up ads for me on the site, as a way to monetize. It was AWFUL, because it kept picking up these scam artists -- you know, the "we'll publish your book!" ones. And it's impossible to police that, and even Miss Snark herself emailed me and said, "Do you know you have scam artists in your ads?" So down they came.

      Now SELLING ads would a different story. I have done that before, in an Ezine I used to publish. But it's not a lot of income, and it's just that much more work. And incidentally, you don't have to apologize for sounding "so commercial", because it is what it is! It's nice to generate income from things we invest time in. Thank you for your thoughts!

  4. So. I have a 9-5 job and two small children. I do get writing done, but I'm *slow*. I rarely clean the house. Shaving the legs is, indeed, optional. And I find I have to be careful not focus *all* of my free time on writing because that just makes me miss my husband and miss the other things I do for fun without actually making my writing much more productive. So it *is* a juggling act, and it *really* involves paying attention to what it is that I really want at any given time. Am I avoiding writing because I've been away from it for a bit and so it sounds scary - then I need to get to it. Or am I avoiding writing because my creativity has gone thin - then I should probably hang out with my husband and watch some sci-fi.

    In terms of when and how much to write: a) I am *hugely* envious of my husband who needs about 2 hours less sleep than I do and so has about 2 hours more creative time after the girls go to bed than I do. b) I personally can't get writing done in 5 minute little chunks. I need about an hour at least or I can't concentrate. So that means I can't write every day. However, some people report great productivity writing at lunch time. And you might want to consider what about your daily structure is required, and what's actually flexible. Knowing almost nothing about you, I would say "So, you can't write after 8pm? Okay, write at 6pm and eat dinner at 8." Obviously it's easy to wave my hands and say such things, but you *do* have the power to discard some things to make room for the things most important to you. I personally can't remember the last time our toilets got cleaned, but that's part of where my family has flexibility so that my husband and I can work full time, raise two girls, and still create.

    1. Thank you, Hepsebah! You know, my husband needs less sleep than I do, too, and I am also insanely jealous! I love getting up early, but I wish I could stay up until 11 or 11:30 and still feel fresh at 5:30. Just doesn't happen! And then I end up fighting HUGE sleepiness right when it's time for me to sit down and write.

      But yes, you're right - I will have to flex. And that's actually something I've been getting better at in recent years--no small feat, I assure you! :)

  5. If it makes you feel any better at all, you are not the only one who dreams big like this. We are also light in the retirement funds area, and while there's this really pragmatic part of me that actually knows we're going to just have to slog, scrimp, sacrifice, and save to get ourselves on that track, there's this other part of me (the same part that thinks I'll lose 40 lbs before the next family holiday ;) ) that says, "It's okay, I'll just dump the money from book advances into the retirement fund and it'll be like I've been saving for years!" Or better yet, "Retirement? Why would I retire? I'll just write until I'm dead, silly."

    I have been where you are, more or less. I had this nice, little, work from home freelance gig. When I wasn't working, I could write. But then the freelance work started drying up, and I was offered a full-time, cubicle job with one of my clients. Basically, I angsted about the choices: take the job and pay rent or reject it and have my writing freedom. I ended up taking the job. I still write. There was an adjustment period where I really, honestly didn't know where the time would come from, and I sort of mentally sat on my hands and didn't try very hard. Then I started making the time for it again. Then I got married, wondered where the time would come from now that I had obligations to someone else. And eventually, I made the time. Then we bought a house and moved farther out from our jobs, and I wondered, with the additional commute, where the time would come from. I'm just now exiting my hand sitting period and I'm starting to write more.

    You just... do it. You know? When something new comes along and takes up your time, you're going to stand at this end of it and wonder how on earth you're going to find time to write. At some point, though, things just start falling off your radar. You start to give up other little things (and sometimes big things) to write again. That's how you tell what's important to you. If there comes a time, when you look at your life and you know, really know, that your time is full and you wouldn't give up any of these other things to make more time for writing... I guess that's the point at which you give it up, instead. And that's okay. If you get to that point, then the things you are doing are making you happier than writing would.

    As for the things that I gave up... I used to play writing games with online friends, but it wasn't writing toward publication, so I gave it up. I used to play more video games and watch more tv, but I've cut way back on that. I don't hang out with friends on the weekends as much. Instead of going out to a gym, I got hold of some stuff I can use at home. I have quite a few "projects" in the garage that I haven't gotten back to... And frankly, there are always dishes in the sink, something somewhere needs desperately to be vacuumed, and we occasionally have to dig something back out of the laundry basket and sniff test it because I don't jump on some chores like I used to.

    1. Thank you, hibrixey! You're right -- things fall off your radar that you don't even realize don't need to be there in the first place. This is just the sort of insight I need right now -- thank you for helping me to see a little more clearly!

  6. I started this before, and I think I might've accidentally hit publish too soon...

    People have told me that if it's important to you, you will find time to do it, and I mostly believe that. I currently work 2 part-time jobs (a total of 44-46 hours a week) and attend grad school part-time (2 classes, 6 credit hours, 6-7 hours actually spent in class). I've pretty much always had 2-3 jobs since I started undergrad in 2009, and I've written 3 books since then. I'm revising the newest one in hopes of querying late next month.

    My words goals are very small. The first novel I wrote I wrote a lot during class when I should've been listening and then finished it on summer break when I had no classes and only one job. (My second jobs during undergrad were work study jobs at about 10/hrs a week where I would also do my homework). I spent much of any free time on campus writing in my laptop, which I brought pretty much every day.

    For grad school, I implemented a sticker reward system. I set a daily word goal (600 words because 1,000 was unrealistic and 500 felt too small), and each time I met that goal, I got a sticker. That's how I wrote books 2 and 3. For reference, book 2 is a YA fairy tale retelling in serious needs of revising and a 4th draft. Right now, it's about 88k. Book 2 is a MG fantasy, on a 3rd draft, and about 53k words. I started Book 2 in August of 2013 and finished the first draft in February 2014, during which time I had 1 job, and full time grad school, and had an aunt pass away unexpectedly. Book 3 was started in August of 2014 and finished a rough draft in January 2015 (second job was acquired in November and grad school was one class until spring semester when it was 2). Both were written on a 600 words a day goal. I probably only spent, at most, 30-40 minutes writing every day. If it was a good day, and the ideas were flowing, or I was super short on time, it was 20-25.

    I've always been a night owl (years of retail spent working until 10:30 or 11:30 at night will do that to you) and writing at night works best for me, but I also write on breaks. I brought my laptop to my day job and wrote on my hour lunch breaks. I wrote Book 3 in a journal and then typed it up and would write in the journal on almost every break I had at both jobs. I didn't leave the house without that journal.

    I also discovered that word sprints work magic for me. It may only be 10 or 15 minutes,but deciding that for the next 10 minutes, I'm going to do nothing but write? Magic. If it all works together, I've gotten 200-300 words in those 10 minutes and that's half of my daily word goal.

    None of this is to say this is easy. It's not, especially not right now, while I'm editing. I'm way less motivated to edit everyday than I am to write every day. I'm at work now since my supervisor isn't here to tell me not too. I do quite a bit of writer related things at work because otherwise, I have no time to do do. By writing things, I mean reading blogs. I am exhausted from working, but writing is my dream, and I haven't yet got a MS to a point where I'm ready to query, and I want to get there. There are days when the tiredness wins out, and I do nothing writing related, but I try to make sure they don't outnumber writing/editing days.

    I obviously don't know you, but if you're determined to keep writing what you want to write, then you may just need to rethink how and when you write. Cutting back on the hours you write does not have to mean you stop writing all together. It just means you need to have new realistic goals once you determine what is most important and most practical for you and your family.

    Good luck with your decision!

    P.S. I obviously love the blog and would hate to see it leave, but you have to do what's best for you. As my friends and I say, "You do you, boo, you do you."

    1. I must say that I am absolutely blown away by the amount on your plate. Yet you continue to pursue your craft, and your attitude is so upbeat! You have really inspired me. Thank you for that!

  7. This is Amy Neeren-can never understand this post thing. My 2 cents is to think years and years from now; when you reflect back on your life, what will matter most -relationships, travel, learning, writing, etc. I'd say most people will say relationships. Yet, it is important to be challenged daily; and inspired. SO the writing IS a must. But a steady income I feel is not something to turn down; especially because it can give you the luxury of some of these other things like travel, etc. or a sabbatical where you can take time off to just...wirte. I think because you have a Mr. A, i would throw out the leg shaving and grooming-hey u are off the market! My mr has just realized his mrs (me) has turned into more of a man.and he;s ok w that. keep on keepin on!

    1. Well, Amy, when I'm a hairy mess and Mr A is wondering when the testosterone kicked in, I'll be sure to tell him you said it was okay for me to stop shaving. :)

  8. Dear Authoress,
    You've gotten much wonderful advice here but your decision must be yours and no matter how credible the arrangements others have made of their lives, you still must find a way to make things work for you. I'm not going to bore you with details of my life because they won't reflect sufficiently in yours to make a difference that can help you.
    I think the place to carve your writing time is obvious, but maybe it's obvious only to me or far too painful for you to consider. You've built an amazing community of grateful bloggers. It's brought you friendship, admiration, respect, support, but it's also the expendable part of your life (as I see it, sitting here in front of my computer and not knowing you at all as an actual person.) If you want a job that will pay real income while you continue to hone and pursue your writing dreams, this site is the place to cut back. Perhaps blog once a month, perhaps secret agents only twice a year. You've graciously built an adoring community. Now perhaps this community needs to let you build your personal scaffold.
    My best wishes to you and your husband in your future endeavor, in whatever way you make that commitment.

    1. Shari -- Thank for releasing me, in a way, to do that. It would certainly be difficult to walk away from this blog -- I really have a fairly strong "mother hen" attitude about you all, and I love the connection and community here. You're absolutely right in what you're saying, though, and this is something I'm throwing into the mix as I think through all this.

      I so appreciate your comments. :)

  9. I loved this blog post - glad I'm not the only one who struggles with stringing together minutes of writing time - there just aren't enough hours...

    I'm a 9-5'er, with a couple freelance gigs editing, and a husband, and two children under 3... so my own writing time is extremely scarce, and I also don't function well after 8PM. My solution is early writing - VERY early. Like 430AM early - which is actually not as bad as it sounds. Once you actually get out of bed and get moving, doing whatever you need to as a wake-up mechanism (coffee, shower, chocolate, etc. Whatever works), it's really no worse than getting up at 5:45. I also use my lunch break to write, and those rare weekend nap times when both kids sleep at the same time and I'm not under any editing deadlines. So I think you can do it - it'll take some experimenting with schedules and you'll have to be diligent about it - but you'll get there! Writing is worth the effort :)

    1. Your 4:30 wake-up time is VERY appealing to me. I LOVE early morning. LOVE to see the sun rise! My problem is that I'm married to a night owl who insists on pouring me a second glass of wine at 10:30 pm. O___O If I start going to bed at 9:00, I will have precious little time with Mr. A (who often has to do work between dinner and our "evening together"). Sleep is such an annoying necessity!

      Thank you for your encouragement. :)

  10. Hello Authoress --
    I can definitely relate as I took a part-time job a year ago (20 hours a week) which basically was my free time. I also do freelance writing, have two children and a husband and make an effort to exercise and be social. So you might wonder -- when do I write?

    Three things happen when you're writing anything but what you really want to write (fiction) -- 1. You hone your craft in ways that you don't realize because you're forced out of your comfort zone and forced to think about things that you never thought about before (which can be great fodder for your stories). 2. You crave fiction writing as it is so much more creative and fun. And 3. You become a lot more efficient -- you find time where you didn't know you had it -- when you're waiting for your car to get fixed, or chatting with the neighbor over a cup of coffee -- and you make time by letting the laundry go or by ordering take out instead of making homemade spaghetti sauce. These little sacrifices make it worth it though. You will make it work. And there are always writing retreats that can really help you focus on your craft. Good luck and thanks for sharing.

    1. I love this -- the honing (wow, so true!), the craving, the efficiency. You've nailed 3 things I hadn't thought of. Thank you, Patty! :)

    2. I do some of my best writing/brainstorming when I'm getting my car worked on! Fortunately/Unfortunately, my little Accord Coupe never needs anything but routine oil changes. But I look forward to that time every three months!

  11. I pray you will have peace with the decision you ultimately make when they offer you the job. You do great things for so many of us. I know I will be following you even if you can only find time to blog once a month or every other or whatever.

  12. There's a lot of wisdom being shared here! Since I came out of the closet with my dreams about being an author, I have periodically given up the effort to take full- or part-time marketing/copywriting/PR jobs for the same reasons you mention. Bills. Retirement. The validation of a paycheck. I don't hate copywriting or developing marketing strategies or even overseeing special events. I enjoy my colleagues and the thrill of stringing together words that will move people to feel or act a certain way and the excitement of having thousands of people show up at a particular place and time. However, I find that I burn out faster and faster in those jobs because they are not the dream. The Grail. They provide experiences that make their way into stories, but they feel like delays. I would never say don't take the job. You don't know how you'll be blessed by it. For myself? I have to make a choice. I am not one of those people who can do it all. I have never successfully written fiction and marketing copy in the same day. Not more than a paragraph or two, anyway. And yet--lots of people manage. They squeeze it in. They force the words out. I--uh--I fall asleep.

    1. I hear you, Chris. A number of years ago, I taught a teleseminar based on a 6-part e-book I wrote. This was on a topic about which I was passionate, but I actually HATED writing the book, and HATED editing it. I loved teaching the teleseminars, because I love people and I love to talk. But the writing really burned me out, because it wasn't fiction, and it just felt like I was wasting my word energy on it.

  13. I have a 20 hour a week job and home school 2 girls another 20 hours a week and we have activities for the girls 2-3 nights a week and I have an activity for myself 1-2 nights a week. I write on the weekends. I have 10 hours set aside for writing on Saturdays (one 3 hour session in the morning, one 3 hour session afternoon, and one 4 hour session in the evening) and another 3-4 hours on Sundays. I'm actually amazed (when the words are flowing) how much I can accomplish in 14 hours a week.

    My writing time has actually INCREASED after I started home schooling the girls. Previously I worked 20 hours a week and had 20 hours set aside to write in the afternoons. But I often squandered the time. Now that i have so little time, I guard it like a dragon! I also do yoga and Bible time/prayer daily to deal with the stress of such a busy lifestyle!

    1. Wow, I admire your discipline! Reading your example makes me realize that I am absolutely capable of more than I've given myself credit for. Thank you!

  14. Hi Authoress - I haven't posted before, but I just wanted to say, don't give up. There are creative ways of finding time. And copywriting, I think, is a pretty good skill to have -- any writing is extra practice for the writing you most want to do.

    1. Thanks so much, aym. You're write -- extra practice is extra practice. Thanks for the perspective! :)

  15. To be honest, if you want to write you will find the time to write. I am the primary money-earner in my household and have always had fairly demanding jobs, yet writing is important enough to me that I make time for it. So is blogging and all the other things that go around writing. So I get up at 5:30am and write and blog and stuff. I write at night after the kids go to bed. An hour or so a night. Not a lot, but enough time to write 1500 words a day when I'm drafting. If I get a few free hours in the weekend, I write then too. And my books get written. Little by little. Day by day. Maybe you think you're not an evening person and can't write at night, but if you really want to, you can do it. Or maybe you can do your job writing at night and leave your days free for your own work. I'm not a morning person at all, but I've forced myself to get up and write because otherwise I don't have time to do everything I need to do in a day. You'll make it work. You just need to figure out a routine and stick to it.

  16. I work two jobs to the tune of 50+ hours per week. I work M-F, plus Sunday. One job sometimes requires out of business hour commitments. I also have friends I get together with regularly. Plus my boyfriend and diabetic, middle-aged kitty.

    I make time to write. Maybe I steal ten minutes at job #1. Maybe I brainstorm during my break at job #2. Maybe I eat and write between jobs #1 and #2. I write when I get home from job #1. Sometimes, I write all evening. I have Saturdays off, so I take full advantage of that.

    I sacrifice a spotless house, but that's okay. My house isn't squeaky clean, but it's clean and looks lived in. And I still find time to read (weekend bubble baths) and write (whenever I can). I will never let work interfere with writing so long as I can help it. But I 100% get where you're coming from. The trick is to find that precious time of day that's just yours. Even if you're sitting in the living room with headphones in while Mr. A. watches TV.

  17. I see myself as juggling two careers -- the one that pays the bills, and the one that's my true calling, whether or not it ever makes me any money. (So far my lifetime total earnings from writing are just over $200!) And I confess I struggle quite a bit with managing my time. However, I think if I were more organized and efficient, I would be able to stick with a manageable schedule and not feel overwhelmed (although I'd probably still have dishes in the sink and a pile of unwashed laundry!). :D

    But I certainly get the impression that you are very organized and probably a much better time manager than I usually am. So although of course I don't know what other commitments you have that can't be rescheduled or cut back on, I would guess that you'd be better at making time for everything that's important to you, and that's something I really admire.

    I had noticed from several of your blog posts that you put a great deal of importance on making money from writing, which surprised me a little, but after reading this I now understand why you've been approaching it from that perspective. I really sympathize, and while for me simply not writing would never be an option, as there are too many books in my head screaming to get out (and I don't ever plan to 'retire' from writing), it would certainly make life a heck of a lot easier if I could make most of my income from writing rather than being forced to essentially always have two jobs.

    And it would be awfully nice to have time for those little things -- you know, like shaving your legs! ;) Or, seriously, spending more time with friends and family and doing more activities purely for enjoyment. But I'm sure that whatever you decide to do you'll figure out how to fit in all the pieces that are really important to you -- and you'll probably always be better at staying on top of everything than I am!

  18. Someone has mentioned lunch breaks, I feel I should also mention that one of the most productive times of my writing life was when I commuted to work. Instead of driving to the new job, can you take public transportation and use the time you would have spent driving your car to write instead?

    1. My husband and I arranged our schedules so that we can commute together. I often write in the car while he drives.

  19. Authoress, you can still write and have your new job. It might just take longer because you will not have as many big chunks of time, but I'm betting you will not be able to give it up entirely. Maybe try writing and selling some shorter pieces (with a pen name) just to get some gratification. What about publishing a book about blogging or some articles or magazines or short stories until the novel sells? My husband and I are both writers and we have two kids with developmental challenges (OCD and learning delays). I work full-time and he works PT and is a stay at home dad. I struggle with the time issue a lot and never feel like I have enough time for writing, but that lack pushes me forward. I write early in the morning and in my head and sometimes slip away on the weekends for a few hours. I also have to take breaks and focus on my health and doing fun things or I would go insane. My husband also needs way less sleep than me and is actually compulsive about his writing. It is not healthy in some ways, but it is what we choose for now. We also so not have clean toilets or made beds or mopped floors. I try to give my kids and husband time, but I don't always succeed. I keep thinking there has to be a sweet spot in there somewhere--a perfect balance. You can adapt and change, if you need to. If you don't really need the job, don't take it. And maybe just when you turn your attention to the new day job, magic will happen on the writing front. Hope this was somewhat coherent. Good luck!!!!

    1. Wow, Heather -- you've got a lot on your plate. And yet you continue to write. Admittedly, Mr A would be absolutely miserable if we had dirty toilets, so cleaning them is one thing I won't be able to let go. ;) Thanks for the encouragement!

  20. You and only you will know when it's time to stop. And maybe it's not stop, but a pause. When the warm and fuzzies are gone, I think it's that time. Sure, we all hit writer's block at time. We all question ourselves and wonder if we really are up to the task, but there's a difference between losing our keys in the dark and dropping them in the ocean. In the dark you can feel around blindly for a bit but you will eventually find your keys and your way. In the ocean, well, it's time to get some new keys.

    Also, taking this job and stopping writing for now may be just what you need. Maybe in two months you'll realize, damn, I MISS it. Or maybe in two years.

    There is nothing wrong with taking a break. Dreams come at a cost; only you will know when the cost is greater than the payoff.

    Good luck in your decision. It is a hard one to make, but for what it's worth I do think that the writing and reading community would suffer greatly to lose your words.

    1. Thank you! I'm still in the middle of my never-ending WIP, so it's not like I WANT to stop. But, yeah. Breaks are good, as I've learned in the past year or so. You're absolutely right!

  21. What wonderful, thoughtful comments! I read them all, and agree with the general gist of everyone else. Yes, writing can be added to your routine while adjusting to the job (if you get it). It's all about when you're most creatively productive in the day and adjusting to take that opportunity, making it your writing time.

    I also think that having your brain be occupied by something bigger than the creative stuff will be beneficial. I work from home, and I recently started to going back to school. I was really worried about what it'd do to my writing time I held so dearly. But once I adjusted to the workload of school, I realized that having something else to take up my brain power left time for my writer brain to do all the work behind the scenes. I can't spend time overthinking, overplotting things.

    I had been stuck in neutral, writing-wise, creativity-wise. Drafts never went anywhere, just trunked part way through, I never got to really know my characters, or fall in love with them. Overthinking spending too much time on it just left me second-guessing everything. After going to school for about a month, I was able to come up with an idea I adored (and CPs noticed how much better my writing was), and I finally feel like I'm hitting my writing groove.

    So it might not be that bad to give your brain something else that takes up to your time. It just makes that writing time more special, more important than it used to be. And there'll always be work to help take your mind off it, let it sit on the back burner.

  22. You've had tons of great advice, so I'm just going to say HUGS and I hope whatever you end up doing, it leaves you smily and unregretty :)

  23. I have a FT job, 2 small kids, a dog, a marriage, a community, issues I care about, you get the idea. ;) Another writer, quite well-meaning, told me last year not to even try to write because I have too much going on now. "Wait until the kids are older," she said. She was trying to help assuage my guilt and frustration at not having anything to show for the very little time I had to spend writing.

    The reality of my life is that I don't write every day and I don't even write as often as I want. I do scribble things down here and there. I brainstorm. I visit with my characters. But the writing happens in spurts. And that's what my life is. For now.

    I've accepted that it's not as much as I want, but I take every moment I can grab. I am a night owl, unlike the rest of my family, so I can write after everyone goes to bed. If I'm not too tired. I make time to write on the bus (my work-from-home days ended, sadly).

    Honestly, I think TMeuretBooks above me gas said it all quite well. You know best if you want to spend your spare moments writing your stories or not. And maybe, just maybe, a break is what you need.

    Ten years is a long time to receive rejections. It's so hard. And then to have financial pressures, makes it all the harder (I applaud your courage in sharing something many people are also experiencing and feel they can't discuss publicly). Maybe having another income stream will make the moments you do scribble something down just a bit sweeter.

    Whatever happens, I send you a whole lot of love and gratitude. This blog has helped so many people, including me. You have been so generous with your time, your energy, your resources. Maybe putting those into you and feeding your dreams in a different way will replenish you in ways you couldn't have foreseen.

  24. Authoress,
    Your getting ahead of yourself. If you wait and see how things unfold, instead of concerning your self with possibilities, you'll be much better off. Flexibility helps us to embrace change. Here's to your beautiful new beginnings, whatever they maybe.

  25. My experience is similar to so many others here: when my available writing time is shorter, I guard it and use it efficiently (and spend other time--at the gym, driving, running errands, thinking about my plot or characters so I'm ready to go when I sit at the keyboard).

    For your own sake, I would cut back on the blog rather than your personal writing time. Are there aspects of it you could outsource? A partner could administer Secret Agent contests and alternate posting thoughts with you.

    I love this blog and the supportive community tone it provides. But there might be some creative ways to keep it going with less involvement from you.

    Good luck in your decision! We're all rooting for you.

  26. It's efficiency for me...and priorities...and realistically, sometimes I get way overbalanced and let writing take over more of my life than it should, and I have to pull back. In the last few months I've discovered a "half hour" rule that has rocked my world. It started as forcing myself to confront the blank screen for half an hour a day--just half an hour, to get the new novel moving forward. Now it's morphed to "only half an hour, and then you have to do something that generates revenue. Or gets your house clean." It's not perfect, but it's something.

  27. I don't post here often, though I delight in your Friday Fricassees. I feel as if I'm in the same place as you are in a way, though I don't work at the moment (three kids and lots of volunteer work, none of which pays). I have found in my life that sometimes my best writing happens when I'm too busy to write. It's like my subconscious is in overdrive and I'm looking at my story sidewise most of the time so when I get to the page, I'm ready to roll. When I've got more time to write, I spend a lot of time fretting and overanalyzing and deleting. So maybe it's a wash, time gained to write is time lost to over-working and fretting. And time lost to writing is gained in focused writing once I do get to the page.

    I came across Linda Richard's great interview of David Almond, you can find it in January Magazine, here's the link:

    Almond talks about writing Skellig, how it was a gift after writing for fifteen years with very marginal success. His last comment in the interview was especially pertinent to this discussion, he's talking about his teaching job and being a teacher and a writer at the same time. He taught three days a week and it was "perfect because I had a salary and I had time to write." He goes on to say, "I always wanted to avoid feeling anxious about the writing, feeling anxious about not getting published as much as I thought I should. I wanted to avoid bitterness, you know? Because the world is full of bitter writers." He said if he had left his job to just focus on writing, and then his novel was rejected (which it was, not Skellig but a novel he wrote before Skellig), he would have been stressed and bitter.

    I worry sometimes that I am becoming jaded, stressed, maybe a little bitter. I've been writing off and on, between kids, for seventeen years and I've been holding out for the publishing contract from the big publisher. I have an agent, a wonderful agent, but nothing has sold yet. I've recently gone back to the drawing board to try again, and I swear if this was all I was doing, if I didn't have my kids and my jobs at the school and the church and writing community stuff, I would really be pulling my hair out. In fact, I kind of feel like I should take on a little more, because I'm starting too long at the screen, spending too much time deleting, obsessing, and it's not a healthy place.

    I don't know if you should take the job, but I found Almond's insight helpful so maybe you will, too. There will always be time to write if it's what you love. Maybe not as much time as you'd like. But maybe you're the kind of person who will work more efficiently looking sidewise at your work more often. That said, I realize this blog is a huge commitment, you inspire and connect and jump-start people in ways you never know. Maybe the next opportunity will allow you to do it more, and maybe making a salary will do wonder for your weary writing soul.

  28. I write during my lunch breaks. I've been taking shorter than normal breaks this week, so I feel like I'm not accomplishing nearly as much as I'd like, but it's better than nothing. Evenings (and often the better part of my weekends) are for family, and I'm usually too tired to do much writing after the kids are in bed. I'm not a morning person at all, so getting up earlier doesn't work for me, either.

    I've been working part-time for the last three years, and my days off are great for writing (at least while the kids are napping), but I'm going to have to make a change in that area of my life, and I know it's going to cut into my writing time more than I'd like. But I also know that it won't be forever; someday I'll have my evenings back, and I'll be able to get more writing done.

    But I'm also impatient. I don't like waiting for things to be the way I want them to be. And since the lottery doesn't feel like giving me all their money, this is something I struggle with often. *hugs*

  29. Honestly - you start cutting and sacrificing. I am a morning person too, but I have to be to work by 7:20 am. I go to the gym at 5:00, get kids (10,12 &14) going in the morning, and teach all day. Then mom to kids until about 5:30 or 6:00 each night.

    Writing at night seemed impossible, but I will tell you that you can retrain your brain. The first three weeks of retraining are HARD, but then it works. And when you have limited time, focus tends to increase dramatically.

    So good luck to the almost job, and with what the future holds. But don't give up on dreams - you can make it work. I promise.

  30. I had a very similar crisis a few months ago. I don't know why writing is important to me. I just can't imagine a future that doesn't have writing in it. If you can't write everyday, don't. I also write at night and sometimes I have other plans. If I want to write bad enough on those days, I'll write in the morning, during the day, during dinner, whenever I can. Or I'll just wait. We always find time for the things that are important to us. Sometimes we just have to give up something less important to find it.

    But when it comes to quitting. I say, go ahead and quit and see how long it lasts. I quit all the time. I quit so much it makes me looks bad. Seven years ago it would last for about six months. Not without me thinking about but without me trying to write something. These days it lasts about two weeks. In fact, I tried to quit last night. Not one hour went by before I made some more notes on a current project, without even thinking about it. If you were truly put on this earth to write, there is no way you'll make it too long without writing. If the thought makes you sick to you stomach, you have your answer. If the thought breaks your heart, you have your answer. If you're too scared to do a gut check, quit and see how long it lasts. If the stress is getting to you, quit. You may just need a break. We all need a break from even the things we love sometimes.

    I take a pemissistic approach when it comes to the future of my writing. Maybe it sounds terrible, but it keeps me sane. I'm going to write anyway, I might as well write stories I love. I'm going to send them out anyway because why not keep trying, so I might as well edit them to the best of my ability. I've been querying for seven years and last fall is the very first time I've gotten requests on a story. A few days ago I sent in a revise and resubmit. It may come to nothing. It doesn't matter. I'll try again. I don't want to, but I will because I KNOW I'm going to keep writing anyway, no matter how many times I try to run away. So...I might as well keep trying.

  31. I used to work 60-80 hours a week at a high-stress job and my writing was my stress relief so I found snatches of time to write. I couldn't write at work but I wrote in the morning before I got up or at night before dinner and after dinner. No TV except on weekends with family time. It can be done. Is it easy? No. But if writing is your passion as it is mine, you can do it!

  32. I'm at an opposite crossroads, which may or may not be helpful. I took a teaching job five years ago. I didn't quit writing. Quite the contrary. During those five years I've written three novels and quite a few picture books. The problem is that none of those novels are finished enough to sell. I know this without querying them because I read, AND I know that the stories aren't what I want them to be yet. I just don't feel like I have time to do the intense kind of revising the stories need when they reach a certain point. There's always something else that has a more urgent claim on my time. For instance, last summer (the precious months I don't teach), I accepted a temporary job as the main writer for our local newspaper. There went my writing time. I'm still trying to revise my stories. But I'm exhausted all of the time, and I mostly feel like I'm failing.

    Besides, I'm wrecking my health by not sleeping. Sleep is important.

    In January, I told my boss I'd finish out the school year, but this is going to be my last year. I'm going to let myself chase my dream in earnest for a couple of years. The craziest part about this is that nobody at work thinks I'm crazy. After the initial attempts to talk me out of leaving, they all think I should go for it. If it doesn't work out, I can always go back to teaching. I haven't burned any bridges, and I like teaching. But I'm going to regret it if I don't give myself a REAL chance to do what I actually love.

    I'm excited to change things up. Maybe you need some change in your life, too. After all, even if you accept the job, it doesn't have to be permanent. I don't regret teaching, or even writing for the newspaper.

    Wishing you the best, whichever path you step onto.

  33. The hard facts are that not many authors can make a good living solely from their writing. I was sobered to find out that a favorite SF author, one who has garnered a number of awards in the field, is still having to watch his pennies.

    That said, you are fortunate in finding income opportunities that let you work at home and set your own schedule. I also have this setup, doing contract engineering and book formatting from my home office. This allows me to support a disabled wife who does work full-time outside the house in the medical profession.

    As many writers have pointed out, setting a specific time for writing can be very helpful, even if it's only an hour a day, or even less. Some writers prefer to set word goals. Stephen King talks about 1,000 words a day, but even if it's 300, it's something.

    I would be the first to admit how difficult it is to pull out writing time when you are freelancing for a living. When you come home from work at 5:00, you don't have as many excuses for doing other things as you do when you are home all day and there's paying work sitting there waiting. It's easy to snub television and other distractions, not so easy when you have to set real work aside.

    On the bright side, you're getting outside work that involves writing, and you get to work at home! Beats the hell out of a job with a paper hat.

  34. No words of wisdom just a (hug). I understand exactly where you're coming from. Things happen for a reason- you know that. I took a year off from my writing and it helped me gain a lot of perspective about writing and life and all sorts of things. This may be time for you to take a break from the blog and the manuscripts and come back reinvigorated. You may get all sorts of ideas, inspiration, contacts from the job itself. Who knows? When we take new paths we just don't know what may turn up. But you can do it, whatever it is, I'll be rooting for you.

  35. If you take the job, see if you can get 4/10s. That's a 10 hour work day 4 days a week. This will allow you an entire day to devote to writing. It's worked wonders for me.
    Now I can have the weekend with my family and run errands, my 40 hour workweek, AND a delicious day all to myself! Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too? Evil dieters, that's who! ;)

  36. The hour long bus commute to and from my 10-hour-per-day job has surprisingly been a godsend for my writing. You might think an often-cramped, stuffy, giant, swaying cylinder that flies 80 mph down the freeway wouldn't make an ideal writing oasis, and you'd be right--but it's all I've got, because when I get home there is my lovely wife and energetic kiddos and soccer practices and chores and blah blah blah. Home time for me is NOT synonymous with quality writing time. So yeah, the bus has become the place where I chase my muse. Those are the only hours I seem to be able to get! I'm confident you'll find a way to make it work.

  37. Here's an idea. I do not know if it is a good one, but it is an idea. There are websites where funds can be raised. I've donated to these at times. You know, someone has a great business idea or a noble cause (both of which you have with this blog). They decide on an amount of $$$ it would take to make the idea/noble cause happen. Then they put out that amount and let people know about it. People can donate to the idea/noble cause. I'd bet, with your following, you would get much more than you set up as the amount! I've just recently joined and I would donate! You have given so much to so many. Why not let them support you? What do you think?

  38. So I'm currently in college, which is a huge time suck. Every spare minute I spend studying, the time I'm not studying I'm getting some much needed R&R or spending time with friends I haven't seen in ages. I love writing (and reading!) and it's a big part of my life. The fact is, I don't have time for it right now. Not faithful, everyday kind of time.

    I sneak some hours in here and there, sometimes I go on writing binges where I abandon everything else for a time before coming back to reality. But writing does happen. I have felt, in the past, like an 'unfaithful' writer. "Writers write!" everyone says. "Set aside two hours every day!" But there are times in life where that just isn't realistic. That doesn't mean you're giving up on writing, it doesn't mean you're abandoning your creative integrity, and it doesn't mean you've failed. It just means that, at this time in life, writing has to sit on the back burner. And that's totally fine.

    I'm graduating soon and hoping I'll have more time in the future, and eventually I will. In the meantime... well, the moments I can sneak in here and there are enough. For now. As nice as it is to say, "writing is the most important thing, and you must fight for it no matter the cost!" - it's also foolish and, oftentimes, selfish. Family comes first. Real life comes first. So if you can take the job and find time to write, awesome! But if you can't, don't let ANYONE look down on you for that - yourself included! Life changes quickly, and before you know it you might be in a place you can write again.

    *phew* there's my speech. I just know what you're going through, and I know it sucks. Good luck, no matter what you choose!

  39. Authoress,

    I wanted to say first that I love your blog, and that I'm so impressed by your willingness to discuss a frequently touchy subject. I think it's great that you have a job offer, and I think it speaks a lot to your writing talent that you could potentially copywrite and fiction write, because the two require pretty different skill sets.

    Like you, I can't write well in the early morning or drink caffeinated anything. I can write up until 11 pm or midnight if I'm well rested, but really no later than that. I also work 40 hours a week and volunteer one night a week, so I completely understand your scheduling worries.

    The best advice I can give if you wind up taking the job is to make it a point to write as often as you can. I never really feel like I spend enough time on my writing, but I try to compensate for that by steadily chipping away at it every day if possible. I also schedule large blocks of writing time for myself on weekends and inform my boyfriend that I'm not to be interrupted during those time blocks. It can definitely be frustrating to have so little time to work with, but I've found that even an hour a day adds up.

    I don't have many hobbies outside the writing, but I enjoy telling stories so much that it doesn't really feel like a sacrifice. If I ever stopped enjoying myself, I would stop writing, or at least stop pushing myself so hard. That's the best piece of advice I can give you, frankly. If you still enjoy the process, try and pencil in an hour a day where you can sit down to write. 30 minutes even, if an hour is too ambitious. And if you're feeling burned out because of your financial situation or because you're lacking free time, then give yourself a break. It's perfectly okay to set the writing aside for a little while because work, or family, or real life are getting in the way.

    I know that my situation is not an exact replica of yours, and I'm constantly trying to practice what I preach. I still hope that some of my advice is useful to you, because I'd hate to think of you being too stressed to continue pursuing something you're so clearly passionate about. Sending you lots of good, cheerful thoughts, in any case.

  40. I'm a big believer in pros and cons lists and we've used them every time we moved cross country for my husband's new jobs (yes, multiple times). But ultimately, you have to involve your gut in the decision.

    We relocated cross country yet again last year, which meant I sold my part-time, work from home business. I decided that I wouldn't restart that business here. Instead, I've taken a part-time (hopefully temporary) job at a big retail store that's 5-minutes from my house as well as my kids' schools (4 kids spread across three schools). I have to be available since my husband commutes a distance into a big city. For now, I'm okay with the job since I don't bring home any work from it and they've been amazing about scheduling me around my kids' and husband's schedules. We've used every penny of my pay so far to pay off the last of a major debt that's been lurking. Now, we are using it to fund projects on our house.

    I have begun to consider options for starting another work from home job that will make me more money. It's something I'm passionate about, maybe more so than writing. So while I research that idea, I'll keep this low-paying job.

    My point is that if you get this job offer, you can always attempt to have it all. Maybe you'll stumble, maybe it will slow down your writing. You've stuck with writing this long, so I find it hard to believe that you wouldn't make it all work. Perhaps with minimal time to devote to writing, you would find your attention more laser-focused.

    All you can do is try. I attempted Nanowrimo two years ago. At that time, I wrote really slowly. That month I proved that I could hold myself to a higher level. Not only did I reach the word count, but I did it with my husband out of town many of the days (and relatives around for Thanksgiving). I just completely the final edits on that manuscript and passed it off to a beta reader and my critique group for a final read.

    Dare to believe in your ability to aim higher than you ever have. You may surprise yourself.

  41. I feel you. I juggle several jobs, an internship, as well as my own blogging and writing. I totally understand the fear of losing your writing time. I don't have as much as I like and sometimes I foolishly don't use the time I do have. But it's possible. I write on the train to work. I write on my lunch break. And when I get home I do a couple of 30 minute sprints to make sure I get in my 1,000 words for the day.

    Like many other commenters here, I love your blog and I support whatever decision you think is best for you! I think that if you took the job, you would set goals for yourself. Sure, they might be small ones, but a house is still a house even if you build it one brick at a time!

  42. "Like those of you with nine children and six dogs and a job and a volunteer position at the local food pantry."

    Actually, I only have one dog ;-)

    You of all people know how full my life is. I manage it BARELY. I personally have no problem prioritizing the work people pay me for and/or expect from me. I have trouble prioritizing the work that doesn't pay and might never pay.

    So what little advice I have is this (if you got the job, or any other similar job): go easy on yourself, especially in the first couple of months when you're making the transition. If you gotta pay the bills, then you gotta pay the bills and it's okay if writing goes slowly for a while.

    On a completely selfish note, if taking this job increases the chances that you and Mr. A get to come out here and visit us, then I heartily recommend you take the job ;-)

  43. So basically with the job and writing there's just no such thing as sleeping anymore. You wake up early, go to bed late, and if you get a good 5 hours of sleep you've had a good night. Or, if I really need the sleep, you don't watch tv or youtube. I don't know what any of the hip shows are these days (do people still say hip?... do people still have TVs?... What year is it?). Congrats, I know you'll get the job!

  44. I totally get where you are at. (Don't use personal credit to fund a business.) Been there. Done that. One VERY expensive lesson learned. I feel guilty when I'm at my day job thinking I should be spending more time writing. I feel guilty when I'm writing...I should spend more time with my family and friends. I keep looking for signs (or a Crystal ball) that would tell me clearly whether I should pursue my passion or 'get real'. Sorry for the lack of wisdom here. Pray and let God lead you in the right direction. Best of luck either way!

  45. If this puts bread on the table... 20 hours a week isn't a lot (less than a day - divided up or done in a bunch) BUT that depends on how many hours you need in the other slots. I find that having a job has always disciplined me. I know I have to do things in the hours I have. No work - all procrastination. But you have the blog... the job... and family life. I used to love getting up really early in the morning but now I linger in bed - not good but I have difficulty getting me out of this... sigh
    Life isn't perfect is it... (Zara Penney)

  46. Ooh! It is not impossible! I'm in med school, which means I no longer talk to my friends and family, and I don't sleep, and never leave the house or the library--somehow I'm magically transported between the two--and I forget to eat. But somehow time to write still creeps in. Not 10-20 hours a week, mind you. It was the same back when I was working two jobs and running my own business--somehow, time to write creeps in. I know doctors with full practices who find time to write! So it's not impossible, and because it is part of you, it will creep in. How?

    I don't actually know how, but I have some theories. : p My first theory is time dilation when you get too exhausted suddenly gives you a portal into another dimension where time is--
    Just kidding. No, for real, sometimes Living Life is the most powerful boost for writing fiction. I'm reading this book On Doctoring about doctors who write, and they all say that practicing medicine is an amazing way to become a better writer--you just get inspired. Maybe doing something Else will inspire you, too, and Life will seep into your writing and give it that edge. As far as time goes, yeah, maybe it's not twenty hours any more. Maybe if you want to write you can't watch shows, or have to cancel a dinner party or two. Or maybe you'll just find those flashes of inspiration here and there, and your writing time will be less, but more efficient. The lady who wrote Because of Winn-Dixie once told me (and a room of other writers) that she sets her goal at two pages a day.

    That's it! Two pages a day? And yet she's wildly prolific! She's won awards! You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and maybe it's gonna have to be a page a day. But a little, and slow going, is sometimes better than a lot anyway. Especially if it's not the all-in-all of your time. I think my own writing got way better when I stopped doing it full time. Maybe because now it's not so high-pressure. It's my thing I do, and it's not a zillion hours of my day. Sure I'm slow, now. I finish about a novel and three short stories each year and a half. If you can only write two pages a day, you have all day to be inspired and learn and live so they're the best two pages ever.

    That's my theory, anyway. I don't know if it applies to you, but I do know even if 14 out of the hours of your day are occupied, ten minutes after lunch, every day, is better than nothing, and sometimes it's even better than More. You may find this is the boost your writing needs. It might give you clarity, something to sing about. Don't be afraid! What you're meant to do, you will do.


  47. I read the first few comments and your responses.

    I just want to say - you are right. There is only so much time in the day (or week). And, well, that sucks - both the finite time thing and the fact you think you may need to give up almost all your writing time. So my well wishes are going out to you.

    But I liked the one commenters suggestion that potentially taking on the new job will open up previously unseen possibilities and that sometimes change is exactly what we need. Good luck and try not to worry too much until you "need" to.

  48. I can relate on a different level, Authoress. I've been working as a writer full time since 2003. Well, in earnest since 2004. I thought I'd need a few years to learn what I needed, revise what I'd written, and get it into the hands of the right people for publication. Then reality set in. After critique groups and conferences and more writing books than I care to mention, I'm still unagented. Not, I understand now, that getting an agent is a sure ticket to the magic land of publishing.

    Along the way, I realized I needed to make some money--I'd figured on 3 to 6 years before I'd have to give up on the full writing gig. But here I am, still writing. Sort of. I've become a freelance editor, which brings in money and keeps me engaged in the writing world. I've also "monetized" my writing blog by turning old writing-tip blog posts into ebooks on writing (not quite as easy as I'd hoped). But the truth is, working on my own fiction has become spotty.

    So why am I commenting? I've learned a couple things.

    One: working on writing all day (I also blog daily along with the editing), even when it's not my writing, does use up my creative energy. In other words, for me it would be impractical to take a copywriting job and still hope to write my own stories. I understand what other commenters said about squeezing in time here and there or learning to write at night. That might work if your job was something other than writing. I'm not convinced, for me anyway, that I could do that on top of a writing job.

    Two: I saw you did an ebook based on a seminar you taught. (And hated it). I was going to suggest you take posts here and create a writing life ebook. I don't know if you'd like that any better, but I'd think you have the platform to sell it. And ebooks are passive income for . . . well, pretty much as long as you have people finding your blog and buying your book.

    Three: I could be wrong on this, but I wonder if looking for a job is born as much from your discouragement as it is from need. And who am I to say, Hold onto your dream, don't give up? I mean, I'm not a published novelist though I've been working at this for . . . well, longer than you have. But I would say, Be sure. I don't think it's a good idea to make a change out of discouragement. I know I have a bit of pit bull in me, so I don't always know when to let things go (and as a result God has sometimes had to rip them from my bleeding claws!) but I'm of the mindset that it's better to move toward something than away from something.

    Four: are you writing the kinds of books you should be writing (genre, audience, thematically)? That, of course, is between you and God and your agent, but it's a question I think we need to ask ourselves every once in a while.

    God's care as you think all this through, Authoress.

  49. Your return to the rat race may seem like the end of a dream, but for all you know, it's the start of a new and even better one! We are all thrown curve-balls in our lives, but you seem to handle them with grace, just as I know you will this one. What cracks me up is how you question, analyze and fantasize everything to death, because I do the same thing! I think it's a writer thing- we have the ability to see situations from different viewpoints, playing them out various ways in our mind.

    But like anyone, we have blocks when it comes to ourselves. Maybe your "new" life will breathe some fresh insight into your work; a co-worker or situation might trigger The Perfect Story. Just the other day, a local roadside attraction sent me home to scribble out a new story line for my SIP (Series In Progress). You never know what the universe has in store for you. :)

    I shook my head in amazement as I read through some of the posts on here. My fellow writers have overcome obstacles that would staunch even the most dedicated writer, yet they forge on. Myself, I never planned on taking 14 (and counting) years out of my life to deal with a life-threatening illness, especially since I was such a nutrition and exercise buff (ironically, it was the exercise that did me in. The public rec center I was exercising at five times a week turned out to be moldy.) But fate had plans in store for me, and even though it's been absolute hell at times, I have learned things through my illness that I never could have otherwise. And those insights have made it into my writing, allowing me to dig deeper into my psyche than I would have been able to before.

    The evil space chickens in my MG Mystery came from the mold hallucinations, a big lesson in "Use what you're given"! :> (That's supposed to be a chicken emoticon!)

    And speaking of chickens, you're just a spring chick yourself, My Dear Authoress, barely a hatching. You have achieved so much at such a young age, and you've only just begun! Stop beating yourself up and start looking at what you've accomplished, not to mention the legions of us you have helped through your amazing blog! You are a leader and an inspiration, and we love you no matter what!

    Now get out there and experience what life has in store for you. Learn, observe, enjoy. You may never achieve what you had thought was to be Your Perfect Life, but chances are there's an even better one waiting for you to come and find it!