Rick Barry to my blog in the third and final installment of the How Writers
Work Series. Rick is a writer with a full-time job, a published novelist and President of ACFW (American
Christian Fiction Writers)-Indiana Chapter.
I believe most writers understand the challenge of writing for publication while holding down a full-time job of any kind. I have tried writing at just about every time of the day. While I will often cram in 20 minutes here or 30 minutes during lunch at my office, those little spurts can leave a writer frustrated despite the fact that the words add up over time. I make the most rapid progress when I make sure my head is on the pillow by 10 pm so that I can rise at 5 am to start the coffee, read my Bible, and then resume writing. You can get a lot done early in the day, at a time when no one interrupts you.
For me, family time trumps my creative compulsion. Occasionally, we have had family gatherings at stages where my author side is dying to get back to the keyboard, but the manuscript must wait. Real family is a God-given responsibility for everyone, including authors. The same is true of church attendance and the ministries of my church. If I were to start skipping church in order to write stories for the Lord, that would be more than a little hypocritical. So I do attend services, substitute teach for Sunday school, and stay involved in other ways, but at the same time, I don't say "Yes" to every request.
Early in my freelance writing, I was shocked when I heard a writing coach make the statement that most writers have a regular job to earn a living, and then they write on the side. I would not advise anyone to rush a decision to quit his or her day job in order to write full time. Especially not a person who is the breadwinner of a family. It's easy to get stars in your eyes and think of the wonderful literary masterpieces you could produce if only you weren't tied to a day job. But reality bites hard at those who make this jump prematurely. Unless you have a patron who will support you, I would recommend waiting until you have a lineup of editors who eagerly want your stories, an equally long lineup of ideas for future projects, an agent who love your work, and enough money in the bank that you could live for the better part of a year without income.
Thank you, Rick, for sharing your writing life with my readers.
You can read more about Rick at: http://rickbarry.blogspot.com/
you? What is one thing that keeps your writing time consistent?