Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Make No Mistake Writing IS a J O B

J.C. Lynne
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by J.C. Lynne

I did the one thing most writing blogs warn against, I quit my day job mid-2012 to write full-time. Think of any of your most intense phobias, spiders, snakes, clowns. Think of finding a huge one in the shower with you. A little nauseating?

That's precisely how I felt when considering the prospect of quitting a full-time job. 

Apparently it's a thing. Sorry if it's yours.

The factors involved made the decision easier. Our son had become critically ill and needed full-time care. At the time, we could manage on a single income. Teaching had become a gauntlet of helicopter parents, clownish bureaucracy, and budget cuts that meant I'd never recover my full salary. Gearing up to publish my first novel helped ease my anxiety. 

After all, if I had written one novel, I could write another. 

The Beard and I had done all of the research. We knew one novel wasn't going to make a career. It typically takes an independent author three or more books to see a return on investment. No delusions of grandeur or Shades of Grey (still a terrible book, IMO) in our process. We were making a business decision.

Even with all of that research, I wasn't entirely prepared for the minutia involved with running J.C. Lynne & Co. 

I could teach a two-hour workshop on how writing is a business. Cough, cough....April Moore. Seriously, branding, website management, social media management, marketing management, budgeting management, time management....that's the short list and doesn't include any of the domestic details still waiting in the queue. Good thing I'm so commanding.

I may not be the most popular, but I step up, maybe not always for the vacuuming.

I'm always working. Note I didn't say I'm always writing. The idea I would be sitting in my garden shed office with a cup of coffee and a cat in my lap while I write ten thousand words a day was always a pipe dream. The Beard has yet to build my office. I can only drink two espressos a day, or I don't sleep (which is dangerous to society), and neither of my cats would deign to sit anywhere not involving food or shooting death ray stares at poor Fintan the Whipping Boy.

Fintan would gladly sit in my lap, but he's not exactly size appropriate. 

Come on Mom! I only weigh eighty-five pounds. You could totally write with me in your lap.

Do I worry about our budget? Hell yes. Do I spend a good portion of my time working the business rather than garnering a word count? Yep. BUT, did I write a second novel since I quit? Sure did. Do I get up every morning and think, Man, I love what I do? Without doubt. Am I earning what I pathetically made as a teacher? Not even close.

However, this year my writing is at last paying for itself. Not the bills, not retirement, not for my dream writing retreat in Iceland or Bonaire but my writing is now a zero sum activity. I will complete my third novel this winter and begin the process of edits, cover design, and marketing plans. 

My docket isn't any less crowded. I'm gearing up to write a non-fiction yoga book (yoga horror stories accepted at A non-fiction yoga book means a new business/writing platform and marketing plan. I have a completed outline for a literary fiction novel, and I'm maybe a third of the way into a mystery. 

None of that includes working for NCW, teaching yoga/fitness, being a mom/wife, or cleaning the house. And you know how much I LOVE cleaning the house.


April Moore said...

Well, I didn't have a phobia of finding a clown in my shower...until now! Thanks, JC.

My problem is that I don't treat writing as a job often enough. I need to force myself to stick to certain hours of writing and have hard deadlines. (I already have casual Friday down.) And yes, let's talk writing-is-a-business workshop . . .

JC Lynne said...

Between my two bosses, some days I don't know which way is up! What is it with strong headed, driven women these days? ;)

Funny, I have Fridays down as my writing day as well. We should meet up once a month to watch each other write for a few hours! I promise I won't tap my foot.

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