Thursday, March 25, 2010

Let’s Play Pretend!

I have idea.

(“Run for the hills!” Her followers cried. “She has an idea!”)


Anyway, I have an idea. I was talking to a friend of mine, Lena (Lena Lothanas on my follower list) about the writing life. She is in the position right now where she is able to make writing her job, but she’s not published.

Now, while I may be envious of her ability to stay home and write all day, she has some unique issues that I do not. For most of us, writing is a hobby. What we do in between work and our other responsibilities is write. Writing is her work, so now she’s left without a true hobby. Now she has to find other ways to amuse herself when she’s not writing.

And you can’t spend all your free time writing. You’d drive yourself mad. We who have day jobs like to think it would be fun to spend every waking moment writing and editing but eventually your brain would tap out, and you’d have to take a breather.

I for one have a list of hobbies I would like to do when the magical day comes when I can quit the day job and work as a writer full time. But I thought about something yesterday, and it still seems like a good idea.

Why not pretend like you are already a full time, best-selling writer? Obviously you won’t be pulling in a paycheck, nor will you be published, but why not treat your writing like it’s your job?

Not that I don’t already do that via setting goals, and working on my books everyday. I am talking about the mindset. Why not also take up those hobbies you plan to do during your writing career, and exercise, and go to conferences, and whatever else you tell yourself you will get to do as a full time writer?

Now, if part of your full time writer plan is to take a trip to the Bahamas, then you might need to save up some dough for that, but most of those events we hold out on could easily be done now. We just don’t do them because we don’t feel like “real” writers.

Like when you tell yourself you’ll buy a nice desk when you get published. Or a new computer. Or whatever. Make plans for those things now, and you will start to feel like a writer. You don’t know how long it will be until you get published so you might as well buckle in and act like a published author now. That way, when you DO get published, it won’t be so shocking or such a change in routine.

Aside from all the free stuff you get as a published author, and the millions of adoring fans and dollars you’ll make. And your name engraved on a National Monument.

It’s just a thought. What do you think?


  1. From the sound of it, most authors have to keep their day jobs. But if, for some FREAKISH reason I was published AND became a sensation *coughnotlikelycough* then I would paint more. It's not that I don't have the time, since I can paint instead of write when I feel like it. It's that I can't AFFORD to paint. Most days I can't afford milk. So, if writing actually leads to money and more free time, I'd return to painting.

  2. Writing is not my hobby, it's my second job. My first job pays the bills and gives me and my wife benefits. The second is the career I've envisioned from a very young age.

    If I did not have to go to my first job, my hobbies would remain the same as they are now. Play games with friends. Go to the theatre. Watch movies. Go to the symphony.

    If I did not have to go to my first job, I also would make less than I do now, so I'd be less likely to buy things like a new desk or a new computer (my new computer being three weeks old, incidentally). Having a steady, well-paying job makes it easier for me to write because I don't worry about how I'm going to pay the rent or what to do if I have to go to the hospital.

  3. Obviously it's not really a problem as much as an embarrassment of riches. ;-) And a question of mindset. I have to figure out for myself where work ends and free time begins. Also, I've never enjoyed many activities besides reading, writing and drawing. I like doing other things, too, but not on my own and my spatially closest friend happens to be 500km from me.

    Anyway, it's definitely nothing to do with being published. I may well have to get another day job again in the future. I'm just lucky right now that my Significant Other makes enough money for the both of us - and I'm certainly not complaining about that.

  4. Guys, I think it's awesome we're all already living the dream. I try to live my life that way, but I also hear a lot of newer writers saying: "When I get published..." and they finish the statement with something that they could be doing now.

    You guys rock!

  5. Clearly these people need to be beaten with sticks. ;)