As with any career in life (no matter what age you start), it takes time to build up success to the point you’re actually making good money at the profession. Let’s look at my day job. I didn’t graduate with my bachelor’s degree and start making what I make now. Nope. I had to get a masters and PhD and then work for another ten years before I reached the point I am at now. It takes time and lots of hard work.
A writing career is no different. Even young authors that I know who published successfully in their early twenties, spent all their teens writing and perfecting their craft. If you want to be good at anything, you have to work at it, practice and practice some more.
It took me three years to write and publish my first book. I spent a year planning and studying every craft development book I could get my hands to teach myself what I needed to know to successfully write a book. Then I wrote it and it was crap. I had to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite to get it right!
I lost count of my number of revisions, but that’s not the point anyway. The point is I wanted it so badly I was willing do whatever it took to get that book right before I published it to the world. That took me three years!
Now I sit here, totally taken over by the writing bug, and I want writing to be my full-time career. I already have a full-time job that pays the bills. And unfortunately, publishing one book does not always make an author a lot of money. I can’t exactly quite my day job. The real financial success comes after multiple books are published (typically, but there are always exceptions).
A recent analogy I read (I can’t remember where) is that we need to view our first book as the associate degree, the second as the bachelor’s degree, the third as the masters and after we’ve published our forth book, we’ve earned a PhD in publishing! That’s when the magic happens for most authors.
One down, three to go!
So how am I going to expedite this process so it doesn’t take me another nine years to reach this goal. Well, just like everything else in my life, a lot of hard work and determination.
I’ve figure out a thing or two after writing a couple books (yes, I already have a couple drafts written!!!). I can easily write 400 plus words in a thirty-minute word sprint. That’s an average. Some sprints I do worse and some I do much better. If I extrapolate this word count and set aside an hour and half every day to focused, uninterrupted writing, that’s 1200 words/day. If I did that for 365 days, well you do the math!!! (438,000 words; an average novel is 60,000 to 80,000 words!) That’s like five or six novels!
That doesn’t mean I’ll publish five novels in a year. There’s still edits and rewrites that would have to happen. But still, can you imagine if I reached that daily writing goal! So, I’m going to do it, starting yesterday.
That is my new non-negotiable: 1200 words/day. And here’s how I’m going to do it!
I am a part-time writer! I’m gonna say that again (for my benefit!) I AM A PART-TIME WRITER!!!! And as such my boss (that’s me!!!) has asked that I commit a minimum of 20 hours/week to my writing career. I have graciously accepted this part-time job (even though the pay she offered me sucks).
My first priority is to write 1200 words/day, but that is not all I need to accomplish in my 20-hour work week. I also need to budget time for rewrites and edits (this will not count towards my 1200-word count), planning and outlining what I’m going to write, book cover design, social media posting, blog post writing (this also does not count towards my word count: my boss is a b$#&!), marketing and advertising. I plan to work on this part job for three hours/day Monday through Friday, six hours on Saturday and at least three hours on Sunday (did I mention I’m a workaholic). So that’s 24 hours/week and this gives me the flexibility to take Sunday’s off (except that 1200 words) without guilt should the family decide we want to do something!
It’s a lot, I know. But I am committed (hourly planners are my best friend!). And if there’s one thing that everyone who really knows me knows about me, is once I make up my mind to do something, it’s on!
Join along on my new platform to cheer me on, call me crazy, laugh at me when I start to lose my mind (it happens at least once/week), and celebrate with me when it all becomes a reality!