2017 is starting to look like a great new year. I started a new job this week. I am a writer-editor for The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington, D.C. This is a wonderful opportunity to grow as a writer while, at the same time, being part of the process of helping people find good, affordable housing.
Now that I’ve started work, I’m finding it difficult to find the time to work on my own writing. Whether it’s my blog or my books, I have greatly reduced the amount of time I put into it. It’s hard to transition between a “work-writing” mentality to a “free-thinking” writing mentality because I am trying to learn the style and types of documents I’ll be working on in my new job.
I fear this is a challenge that many fiction writers must deal with at one time or another; at least, maybe not those who write novels as a full-time job. Balance is the key. I need to find that tipping point between work writing and “me-time” writing to keep the creative juices flowing from my brain to my fingers to the keyboard.
I also don’t want to make the mistake of working on my novels or blog while at work. I already made that mistake once in my life and it cost me my last job, so I don’t want to do that again. Word to the wise, don’t save any parts of a manuscript on your work computer. “Big brother” is watching all the time.
It’s not just finding the time to write, but it’s also getting back into that creative mindset to write. After working on public notices, press releases and social media blurbs, it’s a challenge to get my mind back to the world of fantasy that exists in my novels. The best way I know how is to watch and listen to a movie while I write, usually a fantasy movie like Star Wars or one of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings movies.
This is one of those occasions where some people just don’t understand the difficulties of being a writer. They think we just sit on our posteriors and gently type away at a keyboard with such ease. The words just magically flow from our minds to the paper. We all know that’s not the case at all. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat and stared at the keyboard after writing just one sentence and not knowing where to go next. My train of thought just completely derailed.
I’m not trying to make excuses, rather I want to demonstrate how difficult it can be for many writers who don’t do it as a full-time job. We all want the same success story that Steven King, J.K Rowling and James Patterson had. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out that way for all of us. It’s all about the balance to keep the dream alive. The dream of being a successful writer.
We all love to write, and we write about what we love. Whether I make a million dollars or .35 cents a book from Kindle, I will continue to write. It’s what I do.
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The Dark Tides is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniverse. The Outlander War can be previewed at Inkitt.