Lifestyle Writing

What Writing Full-Time Is Like – Week One

It’s been just over one full week since I started writing full-time, and I can say without exaggerating at all (okay, maybe a little) that my life has turned a huge corner for the better.

I debated calling this post ‘One Week of Fun-employment’, but decided to go in a different direction, because 1) I left my job purposely and with a detailed plan and, 2) Let’s be positive here, people.  In my mind I’m not unemployed – on the contrary, I now have more work to do than I ever have before, because this is my dream, and I’d be doing myself the world’s biggest disservice if I used this new opportunity to sleep in or slack off.

I wanted to share this one week update so that all of you amazing people can get a better sense of what it is I’m doing every day – both if you’re just curious or if you’re considering doing something similar in the future.  In this post, like my last two, I talk a lot about myself, even though I more generally try to use words like ‘we’ and ‘our’ in my other posts, so I apologize in advance for that, we will be back to normal soon.

So what’s this change been like?

First of all, leading up to the job jump – from telling my family a couple of months in advance, to telling my managers, to telling my colleagues and friends a few weeks before my last day, to the people who are kind enough to read this blog and saw my post last week – the reactions and support have been absolutely amazing, far beyond anything I could ever have imagined.

I’ve joked to a few friends over the past week that it’s a weird feeling, to not have done or accomplished anything yet, but still have people congratulating me and telling me how inspiring and brave they find this leap.  I’m not crowing about myself here (or am I??), those are actual words people have used over and over in our conversations, and as I said I’m completely undeserving of them – I’ve accomplished approximately… nothing?  But even so, it’s a vote of confidence that has muted and crowded out any apprehension or fear and left behind nothing but excitement.  It really warms my heart and makes me feel great about myself (self-confidence, woo!).

Onto the first week (and I guess the first couple days of the second week, now) and the main thing I’ve noticed is how excited I am to go to bed every night (at 11pm instead of 1am now – no more procrastinating on sleep) so that I can wake up early and start the day.  I’m sure this will fade over time as I run into tough stretches where I’m struggling to get work done, but for now weekdays and weekends have almost become one and the same (I almost said “one in the same” and boy would that have been a disaster).  Weekdays are now just another day that I get to wake up and do what I want to do.  Not to mention that the complete disappearance of Sunday Scaries is incredible.

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My writing desk

I’m very disciplined from Monday-Friday, though, waking up early and getting in front of my desk before 8am every morning.  And I know that right now all of my ex-colleagues (and probably my sister) are reading this thinking ‘There is literally a 0% chance that that is true’, but HERE WE ARE jerks, I TOLD you I was a hard worker.  (This is very much directed at you, Annie and Max :-)).

Here’s a loose outline of my day (which, again guys, starts before 8am):

  • 7:45am: Quick breakfast and plan out day in productivity journal
  • 8am: Begin work on editing current draft of novel
  • 9:30am: Go to the gym (going early helps my stay energetic throughout the day)
  • 10:30am: Make a post-workout smoothie and continue editing
  • 1-1:30pm: Small break to take care of chores like the dishes and/or vacuuming the insane amount of hair that Maisey sheds every day
  • 1:30-4pm: Continue editing
  • 4-5pm: Write blog posts, respond to comments, read my friends’ posts to see what they’re up to!
  • 5-6pm: Designated reading time to make sure that I get some in every day even when I’m planning to go out that evening
  • 6pm: This is when Sara usually gets home so I try to be wrapped up by now
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So I haven’t had a chance to decorate the home office yet (Hi, Maisey).  Unfortunately most of my friends think the starkness of the office means I’m probably a serial killer. (To be perfectly clear, FBI man reading this post, I’m not, I swear!).

And that’s pretty much it!  Obviously it changes slightly day-to-day, and I’ve also worked at night a few times, but this is the general outline and it’s been working great so far.  When the weather gets nicer I’ll probably leave the apartment in the afternoon to work outside or in a coffee shop / co-working space nearby.  Seeing as the bulk of my day is taken up with editing/writing, blogging, reading, and going to the gym – all of which are things I absolutely love doing – it goes without saying that I couldn’t be happier at the moment.

And one change that I didn’t expect has been my increased desire to go out and spend time with my friends on weekday evenings, whether that means happy hour or some other, non-alcohol related, activity (just kidding – what’s a non-alcohol related activity?).  Over the past 4.5 years I’ve loved going out, but during the week there was constantly a little voice in the back of my mind asking me, ‘Yo, shouldn’t you be writing?’  It was always an either-or situation – either I went out with friends, or I had time to write after work.  I couldn’t do both.  But now that writing is my main job and I don’t have a ‘second job’ competing for time when I finish the work day I’ve found myself itching to go hang out with friends every day, which is a hugely welcome change.

In conclusion, I’m loving every minute of this and am more determined than ever not to let this chance go to waste.  The goal I’ve set for myself is to get an agent for the book I’m editing by November of this year, and if that doesn’t pan out, to publish it myself and see where we go from there.  The more I delve into it, the more I feel that the story is great and destined to succeed – I can’t wait to get it out there for people to read.

Later this week (and next) I’ll be venturing out to do my first weekly tea tour of DC and writing a post about the current novel that I’m editing as I’d love to hear how other people go about editing their books.  See you then!

36 comments on “What Writing Full-Time Is Like – Week One

  1. Great stuff! Looking forward to hearing about your editing process.

  2. That is exactly what I want to do!

  3. Great first week 🙂
    P.S. Love your home office!

    • Thanks!! Gonna have to put up at least one poster to get rid of that psychopath-serial-killer stark vibe haha

  4. >I’ve accomplished approximately… nothing?

    No, not true. You’ve accomplished taking that first scary step into the unknown. Yes, you prepared and planned for it, but some people still don’t manage to take the next step. They keep putting it off just a little longer until they’re more ready. You’re daring to imagine that you can do this, regardless of difficulties or discouragements that may litter the road ahead.

    There was a rich socialite in the early 1900s named Florence Foster Jenkins. She sang out of tune, had a very poor sense of rhythm and she was very unmusical, but she said: “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

    Like Nike admonishes, Just Do It.

    • THANK YOU for the kind words! I love that quote, I might have to steal it. I definitely wouldn’t/couldn’t have done it without all the encouragement from everyone around me. There was also a book called When To Jump by Mike Lewis that helped, too – it’s a collection of case studies from people who all made a jump from one career to another to follow their dreams; how they did it, why, what it was like, etc. Was a great read

  5. This is really inspiring! It must be terrifying to quit your job to dive into the writing world, especially when it’s so unpredictable, but sometimes you need a break to actually get writing done. I haven’t even got to the stage of a career yet (I’m currently at university) and I still find it hard to find time to write. So I think you’ve taken a great step, and good luck!!

    • So right. I was at university from 2010-2014 and I found it really hard to find time to write, too, between classes, studying, friends, partying and just all of the new experiences in general. I only wrote 1 book in the entire 4 years I was there. Still miss it every day, though 🙂

      • Yeah, exactly. I think if I set aside time I probably could write something, but it’s just finding the motivation and the energy above anything else. Perhaps I’ll try writing something over the summer 🙂

  6. Congratulations on stepping out in faith! There’s never growth in comfort zones! I’m so happy to hear your first week has been extraordinary 🙂 I’m sure that’s a euphoric feeling. After viewing your photos, I simply can’t imagine you doing anything else. That view our your windows have to be inspiring and blissful! Is this true?

    • It is great – mostly when it’s nice outside. It’s a nice view over NW DC. Just this morning it was sunny and 60 outside and I couldn’t believe it.

      And I love that and totally agree – ‘no growth in comfort zones’. Like most people I’m a creature of comfort, so putting myself out there has been a real trip! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. Hmm…sleeping in and slacking off…yeah, that’s why I quit my job last October…cuz that has filled my days this last month or so. I was dedicated at first (okay, once I returned home from a much-needed vacation to Italy) but something happened; my writing mojo disappeared. I honestly haven’t worked much on existing projects but have started a new medical article (prompted by an invitation to do so from a trade journal I published in last year). Kudos to you – you’re brave AND organized! Stay the course and your hard work will pay off, whether you self-publish or manage to get in via the traditional route.

    • Thanks! I’m trying my best so we’ll have to see what happens. Are you still wanting to go back and work on those existing projects at some point or are you totally focused on something new?

  8. This is so cool! Somebody asked me a while ago if I would take off work to write if I had the chance, and I said ultimately no. And it was because I lack exactly what you’re displaying, discipline. Especially the discipline to spend so many hours writing too even if there’s breaks in between. It’s very impressive, especially since so many writers love procrastinating too.

    • Thanks! You’re right, though, that is definitely the biggest obstacle I’m facing. I try to plan out my other activities as breaks between writing sessions for that very problem. If only I were the type of writer who could sit down for 10 straight hours and just work, but I think that would make me go crazy

      • Yeah, I did notice that in your schedule. Usually the only days I’ve managed writing 10 hours in one day is during Nanowrimo. But working numerous hours, even if they’re not continuous is impressive to me.

  9. Hi David! I was recently laid off from my job and instantly knew that this was a perfect opportunity to make a much needed career change and become a writer. I totally relate to wanting to make the most of everyday, not to squander the precious time we have to get this new phase going. I found that carving out a routine to be key.

    Just wanted to say that I wish you much success! It’s exciting, isn’t it to be finally doing what you love? I never imagined I would be excited for the day to begin, but here I am!

    Beverly

    • Now that is really turning lemons into amazing lemonade! It is so exciting, you’re right – and routine has been key for me. Cheers to you, too!!

  10. I agree with other commenters who’ve said that a routine is important. It sounds like you’ve got a sensible one, you haven’t straitjacketed yourself into an all-work, no-play situation, and you’re making progress as well as enjoying yourself. Congratulations, and best wishes!

  11. That does sound like a dream! (And so does the office space – holy wow.)

    I have the same issue right now with the day job – in my free time it’s either write or hang out with people, and when I hang out with people I feel this nagging feeling that I should be working on my novel. It doesn’t feel great.

    Some day hopefully I’ll be where you are – or at least go down to part time on the job. For now I guess I just have to cope.

    Congratulations on all your success!!

    • It’s such a hard choice, I know! What I started doing is saying that I’d write 3/5 days or whatever the breakdown was, and then not feel guilty about going out with friends the other two.

      And thank you so much. I’m definitely lucky my girlfriend let me take over the extra room for the office – it’s become my happy place 🙂

  12. I’d love to be a full time writer as well. There are so many worlds in my head that needs to put to reality through words. But I’ll be needing income for food and bills, may be soon for me. I admire your self discipline and bravery pursuing for what you love.

    • Thank you so much! I feel the same. So many worlds that I want to get out there – good luck getting yours out in the world! There’s always time for a great story

  13. Good for you! I, too, am at my desk every morning either writing, editing, blogging, or querying. It brings me more joy than I ever imagined. 🙂

  14. Omg but where is the income to pay your bills coming from? I’m a single female physician and would quit yesterday if I could get paid to do what I love which is to write. My blog is my baby. Thank you for liking my post. Means a lot.

    • I had to save up for a long time to give myself a solid runway to try and make a go at this. Stressful, but worth it!

      • Wow very disciplined indeed. My daughter graduates college this year so maybe I can start saving after that.

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