Tag Archives: balancing life and writing

Writing for a Living

Many fiction writers have to hold down day jobs, but most of us would rather write for a living. What does that really mean? Not living off of our fiction income – that’s a rare and special privilege held by a small percentage of writers. No, for most people, writing for a living means writing mundane things for money and fiction in our free time. Here’s a great info-graphic from The Write Life Magazine to help you start thinking about how you might be able to earn a living as a writer.

One word of warning – while writing for a living might give you more personal satisfaction than many other career choices, it might also burn you out on writing while working on your bread-and-butter writing and before you turn to your personal fiction projects each day. If you think you might fall into that trap, consider jobs that require minimal emotional input and/or give you space for daydreaming/project planning.

For instance, best selling fantasy author Brandon Sanderson spent several years as a night desk clerk at a hotel so he’d have plenty of time to work on his real ambitions while also bringing in an income. Not everyone can find jobs like these, or make them work with personal situations, but if you can, this might just be the right work for you.

What jobs have you tried out to facilitate your fiction-writing ambitions?


by Ava Mylne

I’ve been praying for rain.

In a semi-arid climate, sometimes it gets so dry that the heat reflecting off the bricks of my home makes it almost impossible to keep things alive. Sometimes we get a good rain and my plants look visibly happier, but usually I have to drag out the hose and do it by hand. I also love the sun. Sources close to me have, on occasion, called me “solar-powered”.

I’ve discovered I write in the same way. Sometimes I can’t sleep for the stories running manic circles in my head, and other times I can go months without wanting to even check my e-mail.

I’m in a dry spell right now. How do I sit down and meet my writing goals when there is nothing in my head to write? When I don’t even want to write? When those times come, I find myself panicking, thinking, “Are there no more stories left for me to write? I something I love so much just over?”

So often I have seen friends do something they enjoy until it becomes a chore instead of a love, and it would break my heart if I ceased to love writing. I am also—fortunately–not in the position of having agents or editors breathing down my neck for the next installment. I have friends in that position as well. Is it blasphemous to say that right now I’m not sorry to be unpublished?

I’ve heard this state of literary inaction called “recharging”, and I have to agree with that assessment. I still love my stories. I still get way too excited about my characters, and talk about them ad nauseum to long-suffering friends and family. My characters still live and breathe in my head. But for now I won’t panic. I’ll just recharge. It’s part of the writing process. I’ll enjoy the dry spell in my head, and I’ll enjoy the heat of the sun, and when the rain comes back to douse my whole soul in limitless words, I’ll enjoy that too. And if enough time goes by, maybe I’ll get out the hose and do it by hand.

Writing Snippets Classics: Podcast on Writing Around Your Full-Time Job, featuring Mark Forman

On this beautiful spring morning, we bring you a classic podcast featuring one of our favorite guests, Mark “M.L.” Forman, author of the Adventurers Wanted series. Jocelyn hosts, while Lauren and Mark talk about life at a full time day job when you are also a writer.

Enjoy this lively discussion all over again.

(about 17 min.)

Download here (right click and select “save link as” to download)

Ruminations of/on the Certifiably Insane

I woke up this morning with story running circles in my head, screaming to get out.

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy,” I thought. “This is great stuff. Maybe I can get to my computer today and write it all down…”

My three year old comes to my elbow just as I am sitting down and asks me if she can play on my computer. “When I’m done,” I say.

She waits exactly twenty seconds. “Are you done now?”

“No,” I tell her. “Go talk to daddy.”

Breakfast. I can’t write on an empty stomach… And then the dishes. Then the necessary. Have you ever noticed that just when you are up to your eyeballs in something uninterruptable, nature calls? Insistently?

My nine year old comes to the door of the bathroom. Apparently the world has come to an end and I missed it. He wants to get on my computer, he yells through the door, and he needs me to type in the password. It resets itself every thirty seconds, you see. Some security setting. I tried to fix it, but I think all I fixed was the aspect ratio. If anybody knows how to turn an upside down screen right side up, I would sure love the information. Why do we even have that setting?

“Oh well,” I tell myself. “The kids are on my computer now. I may as well vacuum and make the beds.” And clean the bathroom. Ugh. When I was little I could milk romance out of anything. When it was my turn to clean the bathroom, I would get out the scrub-brush and bucket and “Sing Sweet Nightingale” while I scrubbed the floor on my hands and knees.  You know; Cinderella. If I ever find out whose bright idea it was to put textured white linoleum with glamorous glittery gold flecks in a bathroom…

The bathroom will wait. It’s my computer, I can boot the kids off and write.

It takes serious effort to drive off two daughters, two sons, one nephew, two nieces and a few random neighbor kids, but I have survived. The repercussions will be felt when they turn on the hose in the back yard, but at least they are outside now. Type fast, little wanna-be author!

My fingers hover over the keyboard, waiting for those first golden words to spill out; the immortal poetry that will give my story flight, that will raise my words to sacred truth in the minds of worshipful readers everywhere…



Zero, zip, zilch.

Oh, %~^&*$}?@#!!!!!!!

I guess I’ll go clean the bathroom.


by Ava Mylne