So, currently, I am in a position where I am allowed to be a full-time writer. I hope to maintain this. I dream to maintain this. But it is not easy. Not at all. I don’t mean that as a complaint. I like this. I love this. I talk about work all the time. I think about it even during breaks—because it’s too much fun.
The old saying turns out to be true. Platitudes are accurate—but don’t tell you what it takes to make them work.
And the short answer is work. And the long answer is me telling you some of the things you need to do if you want to manage to survive the full-time experience.
A Muse? Hahaha…
I repeat: “Hahaha”. Yeah, there is no time for being all “I need to wait for inspiration”. I had to come up with the topic for this article ten minutes before I wrote it. I have another thing to write after this and I do not even have time to think about it yet. You train to write on demand. In the end, you are in the service industry—but instead of burgers, you serve stories and articles and dreams and ideas. Don’t like it? Well…I thought you wanted to do this full-time?
Editing Time Is for Editing. Writing Time Is for Writing
Do not ensure perfection while you are writing things. You are getting words down at a fever pitch, and that is all you are doing. Editing is a separate step, and you should not be doing any part of it until you are on that step. I don’t care if the article feels terrible—you can fix it later.
I know, roughly, what I have to do every single week, well before I do it. I know who needs stuff, and where I need to send articles, and all the miscellaneous things. You operate on a schedule because otherwise you will get pulled in a thousand directions and piss off the people who need you. If it sounds unsexy that’s because it is. But necessary.
Forget Normal and Expected
When you make a schedule, when you commit to creating your own job through writing, you need to understand your schedule and life will not make sense to anyone else—except perhaps other professionals. People will find what you do baffling, and will try to make you fit into things they’d expect. This will not work for you, and you will need to be willing to hold your ground. If you let someone poke too many holes into your schedule, you will crash and lose entire days. Who cares if you are up till 3 AM, or wake up at 5 AM in the morning? You get to be a writer, and they don’t.
Manage Stress with Health
This is just general good advice, but when you write for people, especially if it’s multiple people who don’t know each other, you will feel always in demand. Which is gratifying, but also will yank your chains until your head hurts. Caffeine and sugar and all the usual society ways to keep up will fail, and the stress will get to you. So, reduce stress wherever the fuck you can. Take nice long walks outside, take vitamins and supplements, eat better. Like I said, general advice—but the words come from you. You are the inkwell, and you need to keep it full of fuel and not clotting into blots.
Does this seem scary? Does it seem daunting? Yeah, it can be. It’s like walking into a tornado and smoothing it out into a gentle breeze. It’s like re-cleaning a teenager’s bedroom every day. It’s madness and fury. And a creative war. And it is worth it. Not everyone gets to do this job. So you have to be better, and ready, and strong.
Do you want to be a full-time writer? Then get going.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, Michael The Comic Nerd, and Pulsatilla Pratensis.
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