I have often wondered what it would be like to be a full-time writer. In my dream, I already have it all worked out. The alarm would go off around 6:15 each morning, as it has been doing for several years now. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I would jump out of bed and take my 3.5 mile run, just as I do now. Nothing would change on Tuesday and Thursday either; I would hit that snooze button and sleep in until 6:50. Of course, before I run or hit the snooze button, my cat, Buddy, would demand his precious Science Diet, just like he does now!
After getting ready for my day- breakfast, coffee, etc.- I would go straight to my office at the end of the hall and sit down at the laptop and write for the next four hours. Sure, I would take breaks, just as I do at my job as a full-time paralegal, where I also spend a good day of my job on legal writing. Just as I do at my work now, I might even take a moment to make small talk with someone or get a Mocha from the coffee shop own the street. However, my focus would be on getting those words out of my head onto paper, where those characters can breathe new life and become more real.
I would spend anywhere from two to four hours each afernoon on research. As any writer knows, getting the facts correct, even in fiction, is essential. Recently, I had the honor of hearing Jean Hegland, author of Into the Forest and Windfalls, speak on the importance of setting and learning every detail down to the names of the bushes and the types of trees. I couldn’t agree more.
For example, if I am writing a story set in Cape Ann, I need to know every detail about the setting, culture, type of people, indigenous speech/sayings. Even though Don and I visited Cape Ann for one week last fall, I know that experience would not be enough to make the story realistic. I would need to ask questions of people who live there, as well as conduct book and online research.
As a part-time freelance writer with a few publications under her belt, every weekday I set aside at least one hour per day, and sometimes more, to write my novel. I do research after I have written an hour, or on my lunch break at work, or sometimes when I need a detail while writing. On the weekends, I can get anywhere from one hour to three or four hours writing time in. The way I see it, my discipline now is the foundation of becoming a full time writer in the future.
I can’t wait to be creating stories full-time….