My drug of choice is writing––writing, art, reading, inspiration, books, creativity, process, craft, blogging, grammar, linguistics, and did I mention writing?

Monday, January 25, 2021

Get Ready to Spend a Good Quarter of the Time NOT Writing (Personal/Meta)

The good news is, I mostly finished the admin fortnight. The bad news is, it took three weeks.

Now if you've been around for a while, you know that, for me, that's actually The Flash on Speed™ when it comes to my usual ability to get anything done in roughly the same time frame that I think I will. (Skyrim article, anyone?) And we definitely lost a couple of days to insurrection, attempted coup, and the subsequent writing I did around that. I'm really not THAT far off schedule. 

And yet here we are, and January is almost over. 

There are a couple of other admin posts coming. The best of 2020 and the adjusted best-by-month lists still need to be figured out. And there are a few people to thank. But everyone has been patient enough with me revising and posting the old tabs, so I think I'm going to dribble the rest in.

I've got some good stuff this week. Enough that I might even put a quick post up on Wednesday even though I just got through telling you that would never ever happen. There's a Facebook compilation post. I've got a great Mailbox question. And a good guest post is in the hopper for Friday. I'm going to really try to give you the ol' Razzle Dazzle for a couple of weeks. I prefer to kind of nail a good run of content before I pass the hat, but I lost a lot of Patrons over the last month, and I sure could use some financial support, so I'm going to be trying extra hard to show you what this baby can do when I'm flush in food and rent (and don't need that other job). 

But it brings up a good point about being a capital W "Writer." And I'm nothing if not here to wring a ham-fisted writing lesson out of my personal life. When you write for fun, you get to just write as much as you want. You never have to do anything but sit down and let the magic flow. You can involve yourself in the pixie dust and the fairy farts and never have to spend one day fixing the layout of your blog because you can't see the "Subscribe" button anymore, or two weeks carefully revising your various "standing posts" to make sure they accurately reflect both logistical truth and an evolving worldview. (Do you have ANY idea how many groupie threesome jokes I used to make when they were just absurdist jokes that could never really happen?)

However, when you make that transition from "this is fun" to "this is work" and particularly to "this is my DAY job, you're going to spend an ungodly chunk of time doing stuff that isn't writing. Just like in any job where you have to deal with admin or fill out TPS reports or sit in meetings that could have been emails or do staff development days or what-the-fuck-ever that isn't the actual job, writing isn't going to always be about writing––certainly not all about the parts of the creative process that you love.

I mean, I got to revise those articles (and some of that involved some creative effort and rewriting chunks of text), but I've spent almost 1/12 of the year now just dealing with blog stuff that didn't really FEEL much like creative writing. And when you add in how many hours a week I spend posting memes and things on FB so there's an audience for my work (or the unexpected days lost to managing the comments periodically when shit gets out of control) the ACTUALLY writing time shrinks further. Or replying to emails. Or how often I have to deal with Patreon. Or the three or four DAYS I spend rounding up receipts for all the weird income streams I have, so that I can do my freelancer taxes. Or even things like losing data, fixing formatting problems, trying to figure out enough HTML to be able to fix glaring errors like the background color of text. Or or or….

And you don't duck this beast just because you want to be traditionally published (or self-published without being laughed at). This isn't just a "blog thing." You're not just going to write all day and then pick up those sweet royalty checks from the mailbox. There's a lot of editing that isn't creative at all––just going back into your work with the suggested edits and just adding or subtracting commas. Or if I weren't promoting on FB, I might be walking up and down the streets trying to put my books on consignment. Or I might be doing literary events. Even if I were a household name, I might be doing junkets or book signings that last hours.

All in all, rough estimate….I'd say if you want to cross the divide between contented hobbyist who maybe makes enough to go out an extra time or buy a game for Switch each month and a working writer (even part time) who makes a significant portion of their income through wordsmithing, you should be absolutely prepared to lose about a quarter of your time to NOT writing. Some days are better than others, but then again sometimes you have an entire month where it seems like all you've done is polish your F.A.Q. and move around some commas.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have a friend of mine who draws webcomics and maintains his own website for his artwork. I can't tell you how many times he's popped into our discord writing group half out of his mind because he wound up spending an entire day fixing outdated website layout stuff on WordPress instead of being able to work on his next comic page.

    I always find it fascinating how many similarities there are between different creative fields. I'm going to send him a link to this article. I think he'll get a kick out of it!

    Even if this article is a bit different from your usual writing stuff, I really enjoyed it. I recently found your blog through your facebook group, but all the pieces I've read so far are insightful, down-to-earth and downright enjoyable. In fact, one of your articles inspired me to order a copy of Brande's 'Becoming a Writer' off of Amazon last night.

    Thank you so much for all the non-writing work you put in. And uh... don't edit out ALL of the threesome jokes. I'm a bit of an odd duck. I find them refreshing. xD

    **deleted and reposted because I noticed a glaring typo that hurt my soul and there's no way to edit after you hit publish. :/

    1. Oh I'm definitely not too good for a threesome joke––even these days. I've mostly phased out the "groupie" part because that's actually no longer entirely a thing that never happens, and I don't want to make silly jokes about actual power differentials.