And by "Full Time," you mean...?

This past Wednesday marked my first day as a full-time writer. In actuality, I've been a full-time writer for a while now. I just also had a part-time job. I'd gotten to the point where I was choosing to go without one or more of the following any given day: free time, sleep, exercise, showering, household chores, bill-paying. Hence the decision to quit something.

The first glorious change: getting enough sleep several nights in a row. I'm not sleeping later, either - I'm going to bed earlier. Weird! I found myself able go to bed when I was dead tired rather than pushing another hour or two out of the day, from the simple awareness that I could get up the next day and start writing instead of getting ready for work, commuting, working, and coming home to a storyline that was long gone.

The Plan:

After coffee, check book rankings, email, Facebook and Twitter for anything I need to reply to or anything that's gone nuts overnight. Allow an hour to get all of that out of the way, and then close those browser windows. WRITE. Take a short break between noon and 1:00 pm to get something to eat, feed cats, move laundry from the washer to the dryer, and return texts. Write until 3:00 pm.

(Expected words/day: 1000-1500)


Day 1: Before noon, two friends and my mom called. How are you enjoying your first day off work? One child texted. What's the plan for tonight? No emergencies. Just chatting. Um. What? I didn't retire for Pete's sake - I quit a part-time job so I could do my full-time job during my most energetic, creative time of day. I wish I was one of those people who could write with kids running circles around the table, or late at night while everyone else was asleep, but I can't.

(Approximate word count: 1000)

Day 2: Better. Mom called before noon. I think we talked about squirrels. I can't remember.

(Approximate word count: 1300)

Day 3: OMG. One kid texted several times. Phone conversations occurred with two family members. (Again, no emergencies.) And finally, a big fat personal not-signing-into-facebook-or-twitter-or-looking-at-rankings fail. While trying to do afternoon catch-up, son wouldn't leave the iHome alone. I said, "Leave my study, please - I'm at work." He made the mistake of replying: "You're not at work. You're home." Cue cursing and possible head-spinning.

(Approximate word count: 700)

Day 4: That would be today - and yes, weekends count. If Stephen King can write every day, then dammit, so can I. I informed my family that they weren't respecting my career (that went over well...) and issued the following stipulation to keep me from... well... issuing a far more strongly-worded stipulation:

I may be interrupted before 1:00 pm under the following conditions:

  1.    Blood
  2.    Fire
  3.    Car accident
  4.    Broken heart (to include emotional and physical complications)
  5.    Aliens have landed and you can see them from here

(Approximate word count: 700... and still going)

Tammara Webber

New York Times and international bestselling author of contemporary romantic fiction