Welcome to the fourth day of March BOOK Madness. (For a complete schedule and explanation, see below this post. If you’ve missed any days, make sure to catch up.)
Today my friend, Charity Bradford, is here discussing writing as a hobby or a career. Charity and I have been online writing friends for a few years, and we’ve met at a few writing conferences as well. She’s a lovely person and talented author.
Check out her published books below.
I’ve struggled with the topic she’s discussing today many times, so I’m really excited she’s decided to tackle it.
Here she is.
Writing—Hobby or Career? by Charity Bradford
This question has been staring me in the face for the last few months.
I’ve considered myself a serious writer for a long time, and called myself author for the last two. However, I don’t know that I’ve moved into the realm of “This is my career.”
I don’t think a writing career means making enough money to support myself. To me, it simply means I have specific work hours, goals, and deadlines.
It means work.
Writing is more than a hobby for me. It consumes at least half of my life. However, I still write what I feel like. Characters, settings, scenes float through my brain and I write whatever is the loudest at the moment. Then I move on. This means I have about ten to twelve novels and short stories in various stages at the moment. None of them anywhere close to publishable.
There’s a wall I’ve been staring at. Maybe it’s a door instead of a wall. All I have to do is decide to step through from hobby to career. I’ve subconsciously been gravitating toward this door for the last year. Attending writer’s conferences, reading books on writing and plotting, actually plotting out the three remaining books in my series as well as three other ideas. These things have helped me prepare for my new career.
All I needed was a catalyst.
A few weeks ago, I sat in my writers group getting a critique of the first chapter of the second book in my series. Even though I have over 70k on this project, I don’t feel excited about it. After a year of playing around, I had no idea where it stood. Mostly I wanted my partners in crime to tell me to keep working on it or trash it.
That’s when it hit me.
If this is going to be my career, I have to be prepared for it to feel like work. Writing can’t always be an exciting adventure of discovery for me. I’m not always going to type in glee wondering where I’m going to end up. In order to be successful I have to sit down and finish what I start. It means plotting. It mean’s writing the sequel because my readers have been waiting for it.
It’s been two years since the first book, THE MAGIC WAKES was published. It was supposed to be a four book series, but I lost interest. I should have finished the second book by now and at least drafted the third one. Although I don’t regret the detour I took to write a completely unrelated book and publish it (FADE INTO ME), the next in my series is way overdue.
I’m going to lay it all out incase you ever find yourself standing in front of the same door.
Sit down and decide:
- What do you really want?
- What are the problems/obstacles?
- How are you going to overcome those problems?
- Set a timeline and stick to it.
I want a writing career.
I need to learn how to plot minimally to keep me focused but still allow me to discover the story as I go. This will help me write faster and cleaner but keep me interested.
The other problem is writing time and getting into the habit.
I’m a discovery writer, so I’ll never be able to plot out every detail of the novel. My new goal is to write my background histories so I understand my characters, know my beginning, my dark moment and my ending. The rest will be to connect the dots, but I’ll have a direction to focus on.
In order to make my writing time more productive I have to stick to my schedule. I’ve learned I’m a creature of habit and any deviation from my plan throws me so far off it takes days to calm my brain down. Seriously, it’s annoying! My hubby doesn’t get it, but I know it’s a very mild form of OCD. I need the security and order of a well-planned day.
I’m keeping it simple because life happens and I am a mom first and foremost. Monday through Friday are work days. Thursday is left open for shopping and other errands.
- Morning—get kids to school, exercise, clean house, shower
- Eat Lunch
- 12:00-2:00—Writing time! I have to spend 2/3 of it on Talia’s sequels. The last 30 minutes can be spent exploring a new idea to keep me happy. ☺
- 2:00-3:00—Blogging, social media and other marketing
- 3:00—kids come home and life gets really crazy
Rebecca: Wonderful thoughts, Charity. I too live between these two worlds of hobby and career. I really admire your schedule and have decided to adopt it as well. That kind of focus will help me achieve my writing goals. Thanks for taking your time to share your thoughts with us here, and good luck with all your writing adventures!
How about you? Is writing still a hobby or have you moved into the career zone? What helps you be successful? Comment here.
Charity Bradford has been a voracious reader ever since her 5th grade teacher introduced her to the world of books with the WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS and SUMMER OF THE MONKEYS. She soon lost herself in the worlds created by Card, Bova, Asimov, Bradbury, Nagata and Niven. She writes a mix of science fiction and fantasy and lives in Northwest Arkansas with her hubby and four kids.
Links: Amazon Author Page | Website (You can read excerpts of all three books here!) | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest
Previous March Book Madness Posts:
Make sure to check back on Tuesday, March 17, for our next guest presenter,Charissa Stastny, author of the Bending Willow trilogy. She’ll be discussing the importance of book reviews.
MARCH BOOK MADNESS:
Welcome to the fourth year of March BOOK Madness. Every Tuesday and Thursday in March, I’ve invited fellow authors to share their thoughts on the writing world, giving them an open mic to talk about anything book-ish.
2015 MARCH BOOK MADNESS SCHEDULE
- Tue, Mar 3: Intro and 3 Tips to Balance Writing Time, by Rebecca Belliston
- Thu, Mar 5: Top 5 Reasons To Get (or Not Get) Your MFA, by Sarah Belliston
- Tue, Mar 10: Unique Tips for Successful Blog Tours by Danyelle Ferguson
- Thu, Mar 12: Writing–A Hobby or a Career? by Charity Bradford
- Tue, Mar 17: The Importance of Book Reviews by Charissa Stastny
- Thu, Mar 19: 6 Reasons Why Genre Matters by Tricia Pease
- Tue, Mar 24: 7 Editing Strategies by A. L. Sowards
- Thu, Mar 26: Writer’s Block? Using Mind Mapping by Chris Rosche
- Tue, Mar 31: So You Want to Write Funny? by JoLynne Lyon
2014 MARCH BOOK MADNESS:
- Our Connection to Book Covers and the Characters Within, by Danyelle Ferguson
- Four Essential Elements of Good Writing, by Gerald N. Lund
- Welcome to Niche-land! by JoLynne Lyon
- Developing Plot and Characters Together, by Tricia Pease
- ”Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson,” by Sarah Belliston
- Using Repetition To Improve Your Book by A.L. Sowards
- Getting the Most Out of Your Critique Group, by Charity Bradford
- The Moral of the Tale, by Christopher Rosche
- Querying: The Method to the Madness, by Chantele Sedgwick
- Creating Context Clues, by Charissa Stastny
- 6 Places to Find Novel Ideas, by Janice Hardy
- Avoiding Didacticism in Our Writing, by Braden Bell
2013 MARCH BOOK MADNESS:
- Weeding Your Words, by Charissa Stastny
- Know Your Audience–Even the Subtle One, by Cindy Piper
- Beating a Dead Horse, by Julie L Casey
- Why Everyone Should Be a Writer, by Sharon Belknap
- Reading in the Digital Age, by JoLynne Lyon
- The Art of Accepting Criticism, by Mary Bateman-Mercado
- Pinterested in Books, by Sarah Belliston
- The Power of Storytelling, by Christopher Rosche
- Never Pity the Adverb, by Anthony Mercado
- Creating Flawed but Likeable Characters, by A.L. Sowards
- Priorities and Choices for Writers, by Braden Bell
- Premise vs Plot – Which Do You Have? by Janice Hardy
2012 MARCH BOOK MADNESS:
- Tips on Querying, by Lynn Wiese Sneyd
- Plotting vs. Plodding, by Tobi Summers
- 10 Marketing Tips, by JoLynne Lyon
- 8 Editing Tips by Cassie Mae
- Editing, by Jessica Khoury
- Reading for Writers, by Tricia Pease
- For the Love of Reading, by Sharon Belknap
7 thoughts on “MBM: Writing–Hobby or Career? by Charity Bradford”
Thanks for having me again Rebecca! As soon as I decided on a plan I got called in to substitute teach for a week. :) So, it’s good to have a plan but be flexible when you need to. I’m sad not to be writing this week, but getting a paycheck is good too. Next week I’ll be back on track.
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Yes, I know how that goes. Good luck with both! :)
Great thoughts, Charity. This is a decision we all have to wrestle with–my dilemma lands in the marketing realm. I have to make the commitment to start making time to market my books (which ranks down there with cleaning toilets and cutting onions) and stop treating my writing as only a hobby. I like your mapping out time idea, and will have to use that to force marketing into my plan each week whether it makes me happy or not.
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Haha–definitely down there with cleaning toilets and cutting onions. It’s hard as an author to wear so many different hats, left-brained, right-brained, introvert, extrovert. I like the idea of the schedule as well because it seems to give all those areas time.
Char, I hear you on the marketing. It’s like I know what I should do, but I don’t always know the best place to start. Up til now my marketing has been sporadic and very spontaneous. I figure planning an hour to work on it would be better than nothing.
Good luck with your own plan!
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In some respects this is exactly where I am right now. Hosting events, mingling with people, writing interviews and blogs in many ways feels like work to me. I had to tell myself that if you want this, if you want to be a published author, you need to be prepared to do all of these other things. You can’t just write a book, have it published, and then sit back watch your career take off. In the end, it is a job. It’s a job you like, but still a job.
So, great post!
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So true Scott! I guess I’m lucky that I enjoy some parts of marketing–like sitting at fairs selling books. The research for other areas of marketing is hard though. Good luck with all your goals, and thanks for stopping by!
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