By Edith Maxwell
North of Boston
I have a big announcement. After almost twenty years of writing technical documentation for my day job, I’ve decided to segue into my next career. I’m now a full-time fiction writer! (And to celebrate, I’m giving away an advance review copy of A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die to a randomly selected commenter on this post.)
This is a big step, one that both scares and excites me. It’s a little frightening because I don’t have a million or two squirreled away for my retirement income, and while I have two published books and several short stories out there, the money they pull in isn’t quite enough for a lavish lifestyle (okay, any lifestyle, really, although so far it’s covered my writing expenses). On the other hand, when we moved last summer we landed in a lovely smaller house with no mortgage, I already drive a Prius, and I know how to be frugal. And I can get Massachusetts low-cost health care.
But it’s exciting on several fronts, which all center on the theme of time. It’s been very stressful to try to fit in writing, revising, and promoting my books around an eleven-hour workday away from home. I can’t wait to have time to stretch and do some yoga and other forms of wellness exercise.
I look forward to having time to have lunch with a friend, to write letters (yes, handwritten on paper) to my sons, to connect more.
Mostly I’m excited about having time to write the best books I can. It surely takes time to crank out the shitty first draft (as Anne Lamott called it), but you have to put in the hours with butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboard. Then crafting and polishing until the language rings and the plot twists surprise is a lot more work. It’s hard work, for sure, but it’s work that makes me so happy.
Just before and after the book comes out, getting the word out to readers also involves a big investment of time. Arranging guest blog posts and then writing them. Contacting farmers who might like the Local Foods Mysteries series and then let their customers know. Visiting book clubs. Speaking and reading at library events. Traveling to conferences. All while polishing the next book and working on the synopsis for the book after that.
And then there are the next books. I want to continue the Speaking of Mystery series with Quaker linguistics professor Lauren Rousseau and murder on campus and in small-town Ashford. I hope the Local Foods Mysteries series contract will be extended. And I have a whole new historical mystery series I’m working on. Being a full-time fiction writer will let me put in the time to make the next books happen.
How about you? If you write, do you fit it in around a day job or do it pretty much full time? How do you make that work? Readers, have you taken the plunge to follow your passion in one way or another? Or do you have a five-year plan to do so?
We’ll randomly select one of the commenters here to receive an ARC of A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, which releases next week!