Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Like whatever you do ...

I'm subscribed to a gazillion Yahoo groups because my publishers have a bunch, there's some reader ones, there's some RWA groups (paranormal writers, mystery writers, etc.) plus there's some for Published Authors of RWA. I usually skim the summaries I get from these loops, just glancing at the subject headers and not really reading every post. If I did, I'd be there all day and into the night.

This last group (PAN: Published Authors Network) is kinda neat. You get to join PAN when you have a publication that meets RWA approval (they've got a list of approved publishers, and if you sell to one of them, voila, you're eligible for PAN).

The PAN loops aren't real chatty but occasionally a thread (or 'topic', for those of you who are not loopsters) goes around that's interesting. There's been some talk lately about finding a good agent that's right for you, what should be in a good contract, etc. I don't think I've goofed up (yet) in terms of looking at contracts and things, and I haven't really looked for an agent. I think one will find me when the time is right (hopelessly Pollyanna of me, I know).

Anyway, there's a current topic going around about 'when did you know you could quit your full-time job and count on your writing income to carry you.'

Interesting replies. There are some high-powered authors on this list, folks who are on the NYT best-seller list, etc. Almost all of them have said that unless you can guarantee that your benefits are covered (read "health coverage") then don't quit the day job. By "covered" I mean that you're sure your writing income will pay for it OR you have a spouse or someone who will handle it.

Only one person said what I'd been thinking: I will always want to work at least part-time because I don't know if I could write 'full-time'. Even when I was unemployed and looking for work, I didn't write all the time. I took plenty of breaks and only finished 2 or 3 books during that six months (yeah, I know it sounds like a lot. Trust me. It isn't, not for me. I usually do a good draft in two months, even working full time).

This made me think. I have a sticker on my computer: "Don't do whatever you like. Like whatever you do." And I think that sums it up. I've been having some angst lately, worried that my publisher(s) will give me good distribution for my books, will I sell 'enough' (somebody define that for me, because I don't know what that is), am I on the right career path with the publishers I've chosen, etc.

That sticker, and the replies of the people on that loop, all reinforce what I've suspected: I would be doing this anyway because I enjoy writing. And when I cease to enjoy, I'll quit doing it and can leave without any regrets. That's what it's all about, isn't it? I mean, you gotta like what you're doing and when it becomes a chore, you either have to have an attitude adjustment, or quit doing it.

Okay, enough philosophy for one morning. Back to writing (I use these blog posts as an excuse to avoid a sticky plot point. No more excuses).

For those of you who celebrate it, have a good Easter. For those who don't, enjoy the chocolate anyway 8)


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