Lately a few brave authors have chosen to make their financial information public. Yesterday I read an excellent post from Kameron Hurley, which I invite you to read here:
What I get paid for my novels or why I’m not qutting my day job
I was lucky enough to start out without a lot of debt, but I might have got my writing career off to a quicker start if financial security hadn’t been such a high priority when I was younger. I don’t regret it now, although it took me some time to come to terms with the fact that I was that kind of person and not the free-spirited bohemian that a real writer is supposed to be. (Pro tip: That is total bull-crap.) As it turns out, I did myself a big favor by developing a legit career on the outside.
When I fell behind on the deadline for FORTUNE’S BLIGHT, I decided to take a month off from my day job to catch up. Because I’m technically a consultant now and working half-time, I can do things like that. It was a nightmare. First, I discovered that my brain can really only handle about four hours of writing at a time before it craps out, but I felt obliged to write for the full eight hours at least, and usually more. So every day included four+ hours of unproductive, frustrating, eye-straining and ultimately spirit-killing toil. By the end of the month I was a wreck and had no more to show for it than I would have if I had stayed the course. On top of that was the guilt that I had let my family down by not contributing to our income.
Another thing about full-time writing: it virtually sealed me off from the real world. Like many writers, my social life isn’t exactly a whirlwind and days would go by when I had no contact with anyone but my husband and daughter. I wasn’t receiving any outside stimulation or engaging with anything that might otherwise occupy my mind for a bit. I became obsessed with my WIP, very much to its detriment.
So, even if I could give up my day job, I’m not sure I would. It keeps me connected to the world and other people, and it provides me with little victories to boost me up when the WIP is kicking my ass – which is often. I may still dream about a little cabin in the woods where I can go for weeks at a time wearing the same flannel shirt and eating macaroni & cheese, but I know it wouldn’t end well, and not just because of all that lactose.