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May 19

“It must be nice not having to work…”

In the 17 months since I retired teaching to write full-time, I’ve heard that sentence from more people than I care to mention. Some of them friends and family. Some of them people who want to be writers.

What Fiction Writers Really DoThe other day, my family had a bit of drama flare up (families do that), and I made the mistake of trying to play a neutral party between family members.  The phone rang at 11 AM and began with:

“Do you know what your sister has done now?”

When I answered the phone, it was the equivalent of standing up at work and walking out the door mid-day, without asking the boss if I could leave or explaining why.

My office is at home. It’s a dedicated space where I work. But it is an office. And from 9 AM until 5 PM, I’m in it. Working. Writing is work, at least it is if you hope to be published. Writing doesn’t happen by osmosis.

Ask any published author, and they will tell you: writing is all about putting your butt in the chair and writing. Which is what I do. I document my hours for the IRS to prove that while I am self-employed, I do have a profession. A job. And from 9 AM until 5 PM, unless something is burning down or someone is dying, I’m at work.

And I don’t care what my sister did now.

This past week has been frustrating for me because non-writing things have crept into my office time. It’s dangerous to allow it to happen, and my word count has suffered in the last week because of it. This creep, this time-suck can happen to anyone.

How do you avoid it? Set your hours. Learn to say no. The people that matter in your life will learn to understand…Writing is a job. Art is a job. _______ is a job. Distractions only work because we allow them to do so.

Let this Monday be a good Monday–rededicate yourself to your profession, whatever it may be. Put your proverbial “butt in the chair” and do what you do best.

And if you need me, I’ll be around after office hours. 😉
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About the author

Raven Oak

Bestselling science fiction & fantasy author Raven Oak is best known for Amaskan’s Blood, Class-M Exile, and the collection Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays.

She spent most of her K-12 education doodling stories and 500 page monstrosities that are forever locked away in a filing cabinet. When she’s not writing, she’s getting her game on, enjoying cartography, or staring at the ocean.

She lives in Seattle, WA with her husband, and their three kitties who enjoy lounging across the keyboard when writing deadlines approach.

4 comments
Raven Oak - Author
Raven Oak - Author

Sometimes, quite true! But I was trying to be a bit more polite than that. ;) I know you understand, being a musician. People forget that creating things is work, too. :)

Patrick Boothe
Patrick Boothe

My response would be "must be nice not having to think"....