Author of Urban Fantasy and Horror

Postcards from the Edge!

Okay, so I'm not really on the edge. I'm just in my office, writing. I've been writing full time for a little over two months now and I've noticed a few interesting things that I thought I'd share.

Ready? Here goes:

1. Being alone all day takes getting used to. I'm single, so without my full-time job to go to, I'm flying solo all day. That means some days, unless I force myself outside, the only other living beings I see are my cats. This has been one of the biggest adjustments for me. I worked in a corporate for most of my adult life. This last year I spent most of it sharing an office with someone. I always had someone to talk to. Now, not so much. I have thought about going back to the work force...but I'm undecided. We shall see...

2. Even when you're doing something you enjoy, transitioning can be difficult. This was a huge surprise for me. I spent much of January irritable and in a snit, but not sure why I was so irritable. I knew it was all me, but couldn't figure out what was wrong. I finally went away for a few days, to think about things, do a bit of research, and clear my head. That helped so much. I brought my laptop with me, but I didn't write any fiction, which was also a good thing. Walking around a strange city for hours with only my thoughts, meeting new people, then spending a couple days with my sister in Maryland seemed to make all of that irritability melt away. I returned home feeling like a new woman.

3. If you don't work, you don't make money. I'm sure this fact also contributed to my January stress. This is something that the people who are friends/family with a full-time writer don't comprehend at once. They understand it, but they don't really know what that means. Many think that because you're home all day you're not really busy and are available. Not true. When I'm not working, I'm not making money. So guess what I do all the time. I work! And in this business, hard work doesn't necessarily lead to money. You have to work smart, not just hard. So you don't just write a book and throw it online. You have to be purposeful with your blurbs, you have to be purposeful with how you list your books, you have to be purposeful with your cover art. All of those things take time to learn to do properly. It's kind of like trial and error. To be an indie author is to be running a small business, with your books as the product. You have to understand publishing and algorithms, and SEO. So my day doesn't consist only of writing, it also consists of trying to run this small business. 

4. It's okay to take breaks. Remember what I said in 3? If you don't work, you don't make money. Yeah, well, the first few weeks I was writing full time I worked just about every minute of the day. I worked myself ragged for about two weeks. I was getting up in the morning and working till about 11 with small breaks throughout the day. Now I take a long break in the afternoon (about 3 hours), then get back to work around 4 or 5 and go to about 10 or 11. That huge break in the afternoon makes all the difference in the world. I also try to take time on the weekends to have a life.

5. The other people factor. When people know you're working from home, they feel they can contact you at any time during the day and get a response. Not true. Writing isn't difficult, but finding that flow where you feel you're in the story takes some time. Each day when I sit down to write it usually takes me at least 30 minutes before I feel like I'm in the story and my writing is smooth. Once I'm in my flow, I don't like to be disturbed. Being disturbed means once I go back to writing, I have to find that flow again. So I don't answer my phone when I'm writing. If someone has an emergency, they'll either call more than once or send me a text message. Not answering the phone sounds obvious, but I didn't do that at first. At first, it felt rude to let calls go to voicemail, so I was constantly working to find that flow. I'm sure this also contributed to my January snit!

6. The business of writing. Last year I made the decision to complete the Stella Rice series. For years I'd been getting emails from readers asking me how the series ends, so last year I decided to finish it. The timing wasn't great, I knew that going in, but I really felt like I owed it to the readers. They'd been so faithful to Stella and her friends for so many years.
The reason the timing wasn't right is because the nature of indie publishing. I major part of indie success is having a large backlist. I had published two stories as Heather Elizabeth King, then I published the three Stella Rice books. So, going into this year, I'm building momentum all over again.

7. Writing balance. After finishing the Stella Rice series last year I didn't think I'd be writing anything else romantic. Turns out that wasn't true. After finishing the re-write of Doomsday, I couldn't face starting the next Zoe Matthews book. Zoe isn't as dark and the Remy Jones-Doomsday books, but they're dark enough. Plus, they're mysteries so they're a lot harder to write than romance (at least for me). So I decided to write a romance series before starting on Zoe, and I'm loving it. But I'm sure by the time I finish it, I'll be ready for something dark again!

Okay. That's it for now. I'm still learning so I'm sure I'll have more to share as things progress. Until then, HAPPY READING! :-)

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