Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On Editing and the Day Job

I've always loved to edit. In junior high and high school, I would relish taking my pencil and crossing out words, replacing them with stronger images.

I think I lost that love of language in the past few years, but since I've been reading Dwight Swain, I've rediscovered my love of editing.

Now, my hard copy is covered with ink. I'm ruthlessly cutting words that don't fit, replacing weak verbs with strong, adding vivid images where before there was a vast emptiness. I'm anxious to get back to my manuscript and keep working.

And therein lies the rub.

I think I've groused about this before. While I do love my day job, and it has made me a stronger writer, I really wish I could just stay home and write. But I also know that such a lifestyle isn't good for me, either. I've done that before and I think I was much less motivated to write. I'd stay up late and get up late, not good for my body or my mind.

What is the solution? I would truly love to work two or three days a week and have the rest of the time to focus on my writing. Unfortunately, such a solution doesn't appear doable in the near future.

In the past few months, I think God has been teaching me patience - with my writing, with my job, and with my marriage. I'm trying to be patient, but it's really hard sometimes. I feel a bit in limbo and it's difficult to live like that. But on the other hand, if I just realize that He is in control, it makes it easier to deal with.

I'm sure I'll moan and groan about this in a few months or so. It seems to be a cycle with me.

Those of you who want writing to be your full-time career, i.e. you're publishing your books and making somewhat of a living doing it, do you ever find yourself impatient to begin the journey?


  1. Hmm, well I am and I'm not. Espcially having seen several friends embark on the journey over the last few years and watching them go through different forms of stress. Being a published author ain't all boas, champagne and bon bons! But, OTOH, I really do want to find a way to write a book a year and having a contract obliging me to do so would certainly help with that *vbg*.

  2. I don't know. I figure it is all part of the journey. Right now I can barely focus beyond trying not to kill my kids.

  3. I live for my summers off! Teaching is great because it gives me the best of both worlds. :)

  4. Since I write/edit in my day job, it really keeps up and develops skills I use in writing fiction. At this point, I still haven't reached a balance between day job and writing, and I want to do that before I delve 100 per cent into writing. Like you, I'm afraid I won't use my time optimally. My plan, for now, is to retire early and then delve fully into my novel writing.

  5. You are right on both accounts. When I was working all I wanted to do was stay home and write. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom and can write when I want, the motivation is actually harder and I'm working to find a balance. Unfortunately there is no good way. We need to find a balance with what we have. The grass is never greener on the other side, it's just a different colour.

    ((hugs)) and I hope you get balanced soon.

  6. I'm with you - I cannot wait to be able to do this full time. Just having those 2 hours in the morning is great, but it isn't enough. I can't make nearly the amount of progress I want. I want to be able to get 3 books done a year - 2 completed, one drafted, but I need to be doing this full time to make that happen. Soon, I tell myself, soon... patience...yeah, not my forte.

  7. Tess - Oh, I agree. I think being a full-time published author has a lot of its own kind of stress. But I am ready to tackle that stress! :-)

    Rene - I'm very confident you'll make it in this writing biz. :-)

    Michelle - You DO have the best of both worlds! I sometimes wish I would have gone that route, but I could only see myself teaching college and not elementary, junior high or high school. I don't have that patience for that, but I'm very happy that you do! :-)

    Nienke - My job is the same way - I write and edit all day long. I'm surprised that I still want to write when I get off work. But my day job has definitely improved the quality of my writing.

    Stacy - how right you are. I found that I had a very hard time motivating myself to write when I stayed home. The grass was definitely a different color - very well put. :-)

    Kelly - I have every confidence that you, too, will make it in this biz!


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