Thursday, January 07, 2016

Transitioning into Full Time Writing, Pt. 1 (sort of)

I'm waiting for the ferry at Tsawwassen, on my way to Victoria, on Vancouver Island, BC. I'm feeling the Vancouver going on. Coming from east of Vancouver, WA, not going to Vancouver, BC but to Vancouver Island. It's weirdly like I'm not actually going anywhere, even though I'm no longer in the same country as I was when I started my journey this morning.

Abandoning a perfectly good day job and writing full time feels like that too. I'm not on anyone's payroll anymore, yet I'm doing most of the things I've always done. It's been six days and I still have the same to-do list as before. I have a series to finish, an outline to finish, emails to go through, etc.

Just a couple of things got added on, and those derailed any sense of actually having nine more hours a day to work.

First off, my son got married. (Yay!) That translated to quite a few hours on facebook coordinating with everyone. Also, that made January 6 and today, January 7, completely disappear from the writing schedule. I might sneak in a few paragraphs tonight after we've settled into our new environment, but making serious progress is not going to happen. So of the (almost, the day is not done yet) six days I've had since my last day of work on January 1, I've had four actual work days. One of those was spent cleaning. One I spent catching up with email and communicating with writers, convention organizers, as well as doing some business stuff.

What kind of business stuff? Writers contemplating full time writing for-reals might want to know!

I had to finalize health insurance stuff. We actually started the process in December, with a landing date of January 1 for our insurance to begin. Well, that worked out, but after they approve you in Washington they want proof, including former tax returns. So about the time we thought we were all set, we had more to do.

•  I had to start a new, fresh action list and prioritize it.

•  I had to clean up a backlog of paperwork and file a large to-be-filed pile that I'd allow to build up for too long because I felt like I never had time to work on it. Found bills. Paid bills.

•  I had to update my freshly-written action list and reprioritize it as I discovered notes buried in the to-be filed pile.

•  I had to go through my business email file to make sure I hadn't promised anyone any stories 'as soon as I retired'.

•  And I had to update my freshly-written action list *again* and reprioritize it as I added stuff I found from my emails.

That ate, as you can imagine, a huge amount of time. I'm still sifting through emails, though most of them are older now.

An immediate pitfall I found with being home all day was that now that I *could* be on Facebook and check my email all day long, I did. In lieu of writing. "I would never do that," you might think. "I'd have my designated time during which I'd be online, and the rest of the time I'd be putting sell-able words on the page." I thought so too. The temptation isn't to socialize, but to hunt down business and networking opportunities. Danger! Danger! When I get back from vacation I'll have designated online hours for real. There's no other way to manage it. With Facebook sending little notifications all the time, it's almost impossible not to check in for 'just a minute.' I have to be able to tolerate those missed opportunities, the ones I'd been missing all along because I was at a day job, and get the real job of writing done. Which is writing.

So this is day six. I'll keep reporting on this process as I sink deeper into writerly despair. Joy. Whichever comes first. Both at the same time, I'm sure.

1 comment:

Sondra Miller-Prowett said...

Congrata Lady! you might want to actually shut down your network connection while you are writing, or log out of FB. I have my phone that is connected as well and can do fast fact checking on the internet on that if I need to...but that way I don't get sucked in anymore for hours at a time.