I had the opportunity to meet up with my fabulous agent in real life a couple of weeks ago, along with one of my mentors. Paula Munier and Michael Neff provide coaching and instruction at an annual writers retreat on the West Coast that’s within (relatively) easy driving distance for me. I got a later start than I planned which added an extra 45 minutes or so to the drive. That gave me a lot of time to ruminate.
As is typical when I do writer-ly things, my first thought was, “I wish I was a full-time author.” Then I thought about what my day had been like thus far.
I took the day off from my day job in anticipation of my drive down the coast, hoping to spend as much time as possible with my agent. We only get to see each other face-to-face about once a year, between her schedule and mine. Early in the day, I exchanged a few emails with my fellow board members of my local chapter of Sisters in Crime. Then I revised a few pages of my WIP. An unexpected visit to the veterinarian disrupted my plan to hit the road next. When I got back from the vet, I exchanged a few emails with my fellow Miss Demeanors before finally driving down to Monterey.
It struck me, as traffic did its slinky, speed-up-slow-down thing, that I do, in fact, live the life of a full-time author.
Before I started to take this writing gig seriously, I envisioned long hours at a keyboard, walks to clear my head or puzzle through plot twists, followed by engaging dinners with writers, agents, and/or publishers. That described my day. Other days, I do other things, too. I speak at conferences. I help fellow authors with questions about technology topics. I chill with my partner and our friends. I do all this while working at a full-time job that affords me a lot of flexibility in my schedule.
I live in one of the most expensive regions in the country, as do the many “full time authors” I know. I’ve also met or become friends with authors across the country. I’ve met these awesome people – including some of my heroes – through Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and writers’ conferences. All but a very small handful supplement their writing income in other ways – teaching, consulting, editing, or day jobs that often provide fodder for their work. I fall into that last category. My day job doesn’t “get in the way” of writing, it’s how I can afford to do it, both in setting aside time to write and participating in the writing community.
I sat up straighter in the driver’s seat. Traffic cleared and I made up some time. I spent a wonderful evening with Paula and Michael. At my hotel room later, I wrote another 2 pages more before I went to bed, happy in the realization that I’ve been wishing for the life I’d already been living.
Loving what you have is a wonderful thing.