Life as a Full-Time Writer: The End of an Era

Well, I’m sad to say that my days of sitting in my basement all alone and writing stories has come to an end. Or am I? I had a wonderful four months working from home on a collection of literary short stories, thanks to the wonderful Saskatchewan Arts Board, who awarded me a grant. If it wasn’t for people who support the arts, I never would have  got this time, which means I never would have developed fantastic new stories to share with you and the world.

But good times can’t last forever. At least not until I get enough sales to replace my annual salary (which is a pretty good size). And part of me missed my day job. I missed having coworkers to visit with, I missed my afternoon walks around the pond and through the garden, somedays I even missed the cafeteria.

But, I’m pretty sure I will miss the writing life more. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and by that, I mean I’ve always wanted to spend eight hours a day coming up with characters and stories and events, and thinking about ‘what ifs’ ‘and thens’ and ‘maybe’. I’ve never dreamed that writing would be less work than this, and after my four months off, I know it’s not. In fact, it’s often more than eight hours a day because once I could immerse myself in writing full-time, the thinking rarely stopped. My mind was free to roam, and I didn’t have to force it to concentrate on contracts and applications and coworking. It was wonderful.

It seems (from all the internet articles about it), that being able to afford being a full-time writer is a more and more difficult thing. Whether it’s due to the abundance of free articles and stories on the web, changing media (to television, to film, to Twitter), I can’t say. And maybe it has always been difficult to make a living from art. Maybe it’s always been that a couple of people are lucky and the rest of us are relatively unknown. All I do know is that I have my plan to write, whether it’s on the weekend or late in the evening, I will always be writing, because I love it. Not because I hope to become rich and famous, but because I love to think, I love to think about our world and what powers humans, and I love to think about possible other worlds, other realities, and other possibilities. A writer is just what I am.

Now that I’ve finished up a couple major projects, I’m moving on to the next step in the process, which is shopping those projects around and trying to find them a home. Meanwhile, it is also Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’ve also returned back to writing genre fiction, which is a nice break from the literary, though-provoking work I was doing (Not that my genre fiction isn’t somewhat though provoking—at least, I hope it is). To that end, stay  in touch for updates regarding upcoming presentations and publications, or because otherwise I’ll miss you.

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Cheers to work well done!

Thanks for reading!
JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #29

Well, this is it. I’m getting near to the end. There will be one more post after this one, to end on a nice round number, and then this series, and hopefully my goal, will be complete.

As it stands right now, I’m 43,767 words behind my target of 365,000, and I have until September 4th to get there! Now, I would be panicking if I hadn’t already signed up for the 3-Day Novel Wring Contest and have the entire long weekend booked off for writing. Not to mention that since I’ve returned from vacation, I’ve also returned to my writing groove.

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At the moment, I’m catching up on blogging (obviously), and then I’m going to get today’s words wrapped up, hopefully with a couple more than the required 1,000, so that I can make a dent in my deficit. Now that I’m nearing the end of my writing year, I’m realizing what a huge goal I set myself—especially considering that I have a full time day job and two small children. And then there is my 60 book reading goal for 2017! Next year I’m already planning to take it a bit easier, but more on that later. Time to get my daily writing done, sone enough it will be time to relax.

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #27

One of the most difficult things I find about writing 1,000 words a day is time management. Unless you prioritize, it is so easy for the entire day to slip away. It is also very easy to fall asleep and forget that you didn’t write anything at all when you’ve spent your day on the computer, as my day job requires me to do. So, in other words, I had a rather horrible week. Here’s a peak at my chart:

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I had one great day, Wednesday, when I met up with some other writers in a cafe and got almost 4K done. This was going to be the start of a big push. I was going to write 4K a day and catch up on my word count by the end of June. But then I promptly went on a camping trip and that was the end of that goal. Today, I’ve managed to write 1,100 words. If I make this blog nice and short, i might have enough time to make that a nifty 2K. That would be nice, it would at least put a dent in my 26K deficit.

I got the email about preregistration for the 3-Day novel writing contest. I think it might just be about time to sign up. What do you think?

JEH

The New Thing I’m Working On: The Torc Progress #2

This past week I was focused on getting Under Jupiter up on the Kindle store. So, for a few days, I stopped writing The Torc. And I missed it! But now that UJ is up, I can get back into writing my new obsession. I’m around 1/3 finished the draft, and while I have a general outline, there are enough places where I can’t wait to be surprised by what the characters do. I’m still really excited by this idea. And I’m also very excited for the cover art. See the tiny preview below.

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This week I’m giving you a preview of the colour scheme being use. I love it. I adore purple. My absolute favourite colour is orange, but purple is a close second. And probably makes for a better cover. Which do you think is better? I remember as a kid that a lot of little girls hated orange. Like made that sour lemon face whenever they were forced to accept orange as the last option (only marker left). But orange reminds me of fruit, flowers and sunsets, all beautiful things. Purple reminds me of flowers too, but also luxurious fabrics and amethyst, one of my favourite stones.

Writing this week is going to be focused on word count. I’ll give you an update regarding my goal tomorrow, and then you’ll know why.

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #26

Something has changed with the arrival of summer, and unfortunately that appears to be the amount of time I have for blogging and writing. I’ve been doing a miserable job keeping up here, and also keeping up with my 1,000 words a day goal. It’s been off and on lately. The good news is that if I forget one day, I tend to remember and prioritize it the next. I’ve found a few hours this weekend to dedicate to a “mini-marathon” and maybe I will somehow be able to catch up on the 23,000 words I’m behind on. If I could manage to catch up, that would mean I’d almost completed the draft of The Torc, the new thing I’m working on. Here’s a look at my word count chart for the beginning of June:

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The large number on the right is my current deficit. I realized the other day that if I was caught up, I would have less than 100,000 words to write before reaching my goal! That makes me feel pretty close to achieving my target with approximately 3 months to go. Time is ticking away quickly and there is still a lot I want to get done before September 1st, when my goal will shift to rewriting, though I plan on continuing to draft a lot, since drafting makes me happier than rewrites.

My day job has kept me busy, so busy that I haven’t even had time to read much, though I was traveling so I did finish a couple audiobooks. Being busy hasn’t stopped me from buying more books to read either. Or planning to read more books. I was terribly behind on my GoodReads entries, and just paused to enter all my recent reads. The funny thing is that I feel like I’ve missed entering a book, but if I have, I don’t know which one. This is why I use GoodReads, because otherwise I forget what I’ve read! Here’s a shot of some new books in my garden. They’re so pretty.

So, after catching up on my GoodReads entries, I’m still two books ahead of my GR goals, which is awesome. I wound’t be anywhere close if I hadn’t listened to so many audiobooks this year, but listening to books at the gym has been inspiring both for my reading and writing, and also for working out. My current listen is Graceling, which i’ve just started. It will probably take me a while to get through as it is 11 hours, and I don’t have any solo road trips planned, though I do have a family trip.

Alright, so for the next week, my goal is to catch up on blogging, aim for 1,500 words a day, and just continuing enjoying books. What are your plans?

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #25

Well, I’m not going to post my word count table this week, because I’m feeling pretty horrible about it. Overall, I’m still 18,000 words behind my target. The good news is that I haven’t fallen any further behind this week. I’ve come to realize a few things about achieving a daily writing target:

  1. Writing multiple times in a day helps me reach my 1,000 words/day goal. I find in one “sitting” I can easily write 600 words. Which translates to needing a minimum of 2 writing sessions in a day (preferably morning and night).
  2. Focusing on how behind I am only makes me not feel like writing. It is much easier if I remind myself that I’ve already written well over 200,000 words since September 1, 2017! Go me!
  3. Trying to catch up (write 18,000 words) in one day or one weekend is an unachievable goal with how my life is currently set up (day job, kids, etc.). It works much better if I just tell myself to keep pushing for another couple minutes after I reach my 1,000 word goal. This often gets me to 1,100 or even 1,600 words in a sitting. Which means that I’m slowly catching up, bit by bit.

So, that’s what I’ve learned this week, and that’s what I’m focusing on. I’m still distracted by my Kindle Scout Campaign for Under Jupiter. I’ve got 4 Days left and I haven’t made it onto the Hot and Trending list for even a single house. Please help me out by nominating if you haven’t done so already. This is your shot at getting my book for free, and I will be eternally grateful. Just go here.

Under Jupiter by J.E. Hunter INSTAGRAM TEASER

Other good news is that I’ve finally broken through my writer’s block and found an idea that I love. I’m going to share some details as I work on it. It’s kept my word count high this week, and so far the story is lovely and so fun to write. I can’t wait to share more details with you.

Also, I’ve been doing a bit of gardening (and less going to the gym, but I figure all that squatting time counts for something, right?). Here’s some pictures of my flower boxes.

Have a great week!

JEH

Writing 365,000 Words in a Year Update #22

It’s been almost two weeks since I updated. During that time I’ve been working fairly diligently on two of my main projects, Under Jupiter and MF. And tonight I passed 200,000 words!!!!!

PARTY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Obviously this nice round number feels pretty big. I started this goal in September of 2016, and a lot of time has passes since then, and obviously I’ve written a lot of words. But sometimes I wonder just where all of those words have gone, because I feel like I have so many unfinished projects that I must still be an undergrad. Seriously. It feels like it is taking forever to finish things. I think part of that is the fact that I’m often working on more than one book at a time. Like right now I’m doing rewrites of Under Jupiter and doing a first draft of MF. Also, I have about an hour a day (if I’m lucky) to get all my words and rewriting in. And that’s if I’m not so tired that I just pass out the moment the house is quiet. I do wish that I would have been tracking daily the project I was working on, that would really help me understand where all the words have gone.

But I made it! Deep breath. To Two Hundred Thousand Words. Which means I can totally do this. I can totally do this. And come September. I will have finished things. And they will be wonderful.

JEH