Monday Mayhem – Back to Reality

Back to life, back to reality

As of last week, I am back to reality-working full time.

Some writers would shudder as they read this sentence, but I am more than a little relieved. Turns out, I’m one of those people who needs stability and structure in her life in order to be creative.

It seems counterintuitive, I’m sure. Most writers dream of being unfettered. I know I did. But having unlimited time to write does not mean you’ll have unlimited creativity to back it up.

The truth about writers

Being a writer is not at ALL like you see on TV. Sorry to bust that myth, but that’s the truth of it.

Authors do not sell a book and become automatically rich. Some never make much money at all.

The reality is, few authors can survive solely on the income from advances and royalties. Most have other streams of income-teaching, content creation, graphic art creation, or another side hustles.

We also don’t hear about the people who may be underpinning this marker of perceived career success. Behind many a good author is a partner with a steady income and employer-based health insurance. But their names are not on the cover so…

The misconception that being able to ditch the 9 to 5 grind is a sign of authorial success endures.

This wasn’t my situation. My unemployment was never meant to be long-term. I didn’t toss a match as I walked away from the corporate world and expect to become the next Nora Roberts. I was downsized, and because I carried our employer-based health insurance, I needed another job as soon as possible.

Still, I thought I might be able to take better advantage of the situation. I was wrong. These months of uncertainty have been hard. I’ve written 40 books whilst employed full-time. I wrote exactly 3 chapters while unemployed.

Lessons learned:

  • I need structure and time constraints. I work well under pressure. Left to my own devices, I spend too much time communing with Netflix.
  • It’s difficult to write happy ever afters when worried about bills and health insurance.
  • I can make enough money to pay the bills, but not to pay my bills and maintain our coverage long-term. Having two self-employed persons in the household can get pretty spendy. Welcome to America 2018, where too much entrepreneurship is highly discouraged.

Summer fun vintage car

I don’t regret my summer of fun.

I relaxed as much as I could. Sally and I suntanned and napped.

Fodder got used to having lunch, because I am accustomed to eating on schedule.

But the reality is, I was ready to get back to work. Happy for life to settle into a pattern again. I like a good rut.

Soon, I’ll be ramping up for my 10th NaNoWriMo, and psyching myself up for crunch time.

How about you? Are you a creature of habit, or a go with the flow kind of person?

3 Replies to “Monday Mayhem – Back to Reality”

  1. Sounds like you stumbled into a ‘be careful what you wish for’ sort of situation. Since I’m a dedicated lazy person, “I’ll do it tomorrow” has always been a trap poised to trip me up. However, I’d still be willing to take my chances! Good luck at the new job!

  2. Great comment by Carol above. I know I constantly fantasize about the day I can retire and be free of the corporate world but then my mind wanders and I think how I will fill up my time. After all of the hustle and bustle of corporate world, can I simply just stop? I think it will be amazing at first and after a few months, I will need another job. I think you made a great self discovery. BTW – I am years away from retirement. Nov 1, 2030 but who’s counting right?

  3. I love how honest you are about your trials and triumphs. I’ve talked about this before, but I really have to dig deep to motivate myself to be productive during my summer breaks. This past summer I was able to accomplish more than I have probably in all previous summer breaks combined, but it was like pulling teeth some days. I’m excited to gear up for NaNo with you! 🙂

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