Answering a couple reader questions today.
Edit to add: But first: IT’S SNOWING HERE! Probably won’t be much and won’t last but yes, it’s snowing!
1: Where is your favorite place to write?
Answer: My office. I know that sounds boring but I get the most work done and am at my most efficient while at my desk, with all my tools around me. I do a lot of thinking while I’m playing games on my iPad on the bed, or while I’m out riding around in the car with my husband. But most of my actual writing is done at my desk. It also helps me separate work from the rest of my life, since I work from home and try to leave work in the office, so to speak.
2: Do you ever get to go on, say, a month-long sabbatical from writing? Or is it something that you are compelled to do?
Answer: Um…that’s a big NO. One of the common misconceptions is that writers have long periods of time where they can sit around doing nothing. This might be the case if you sell millions of copies of each book and/or have a LOT of reserves, or a guaranteed second income in the house.
Bluntly put: this is a full-time job for me, not a hobby and at the moment, it’s our only income. My husband is a contract IT worker and doesn’t always have work. So I can’t afford to take long periods of time off and still expect to pay the bills or the mortgage. Life doesn’t work like that for most people.
Like any job or career, a writer has to show up and do the work if she expects to get paid. So no — there are no long extended vacations or sabbaticals. And since I write at least three books a year, there’s not much time left to do anything else. I’m lucky if I get a week off between books.
For the second part of the question: yeah, it’s true that I am compelled to write. I go a little crazy if I don’t and not in a good way.
So…in order to be able to keep writing, I have to keep writing to pay the bills, so that I can afford to keep writing in order to be happy. It’s all very convoluted, and in some ways, a circular argument. But it is what it is.
I don’t get paid vacation time, and nobody can do the work in my absence, so it’s all there waiting on the rare occasions that I do take some time off. And that means working extra hard and fast when I come back. I don’t get sick leave. If I’m sick I don’t get paid to take time to rest, so unless I’m running a fever or extremely out of it, I work through aches and pains. That’s just part and parcel of being self-employed, and of being a writer.
I’m on two tight deadlines right now, so you probably won’t see me much on Facebook or twitter starting from now through the end of February. Jen will still be in the group of course to smooth things over and keep things running, and I’ll be here on my blog. Talk to you later peeps!