I'm a full-time novelist, earning a living that way, paying all my bills and maxing out my retirement contribution via novel sales. I know many, many writers out there would like to be this. Because I actually track my hours and tasks each day (I once worked for a management consulting firm, so tracking "billable" hours is like falling off a log for me), I thought I'd tell you what I've done so far this year, so you can see what one full-time writer's life looks like.
- new words of fiction written: 186,000
- words revised and proofread: 384,000
- research: 169 hours
- administrative tasks: 215 hours
- social media: 30 hours
- socializing with other writers: a lot! But sometimes I learn something, so it is business time as much as social time
- volunteerism: didn't track my hours, but I do help other writers
- days off: 11
- blog posts written: 29 (I have some queued up for after the next novel release)
My work days usually last 5.5 hours, and I work seven days per week, though there are moments outside those hours when I'm probably thinking about if this or that plot twist would work. ETA in response to an email: I'm a morning person, so I'm usually up before 5:00 a.m. and often done by noon.
I expect the second half of the year to be pretty much a duplication of the first half. (350K words, 300 hours of research, and so on.)
As you can see, I don't get as much as a one-day weekend most weeks (I tend to take time off in 3-4 day chunks). The time I work is close to that of any full-time job, 40 hours per week, and while a lot of what I do is fun, it certainly isn't all fun. Other benefits to this work: I get to write in the oldest, most comfortable clothes I own and not commute and not put up with horrible coworkers. So I'm not complaining, you see. But it is a job, aspiring novelists should know, not some endless happy dance in the land of frou-frou bunnies where ice cream drips from the trees. (which would be a real mess, come to think of it.) It's hard work.
I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to live this life. It was a long-held dream and Amazon, the Kindle, and my fans have made it come true. To all of them, many thanks.
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