Being a Part-Time-Full-Time Author

WriterLast year, in July, I took a vacation week from work to write Hard Vacuum 2 and managed to get the entire first draft written in that week. Then, a month ago in January, I did the same and wrote the whole first draft of The Bite of Forest Dark.

Since I have five weeks of holidays a year, I can only really do that once per year, but it’s a tantalising glimpse of what life as a full-time author would be like. A glorious glimpse, if I’m honest. While it’s difficult to write that much that fast, it’s very satisfying to finish a book so quickly.

Writing books doesn’t pay the bills, however. At least not yet. So I have to work a day-job in IT. A job that’s pretty dull and very stressful at times, but also pays a lot more than most jobs, so I can’t complain.

However, writing full-time for a week then makes going back to part-time a little difficult. When I wrote full-time, I got to do a lot of things that I don’t when I’m writing part-time. Since I essentially have two jobs when I’m working my day-job, that means that all of the other things have to get pushed aside.

Writing, for example, only works in two hour blocks for me. After writing for two hours, I need to take a break and that meant I went for a walk. Usually when I go for walks is when I get my best ideas for stories, so that had the added benefit of improving the book I was working on.

When I’m both writing and doing my day-job, I then have about an hour free a day. Which I could use to go for a walk, but after fifteen hours of work, writing, driving, minding kids, making dinner and whatever else crops up, I tend to be pretty wiped out. So I just watch TV or read a book.

I know what you’re thinking: that’s self-inflicted, you first-world-problem complainer. That’s true, I am complaining about a nice problem to have. I get to write for two or more hours a day, spend time with my kids and, not least, drive home instead of walking. Still, when compared with the paradise of writing from home, it can be draining.

The one thing it does give is a drive to make the full-time writing happen. I’m pretty far off it, at the moment, but I’ll get there. Every day I gain new readers, which is incredibly satisfying. My books are definitely not for everyone, but the people who like them really like them and tell me so. And writing full time is a dream worth struggling for, for the next few years.


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