aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Do quit your day job

Two years ago was my first full-time day as a writer.

I was terrified.

The only reason I had been able to quit was I had a biggish chunk of advance, and I knew I would never get an opportunity like that again. I also had a husband who had regular paychecks and could put us on his health plan. Did we have eight months of emergency savings, the way Susie Orman advocates for even people who still have day jobs? No. No way.

But still I jumped. And then tried to figure out how to make it work.

“The world was without form and void,” as the Bible says. How would I structure my days? Would I be able to meet my deadline? I needed to write most of a book in a month. Would I go broke? Would I end up napping, watching TV, overeating?

I did meet my deadline. And we haven't gone broke, although it is tough to budget when you get paid only a couple of times a year. I don't nap, I don't watch TV, and hm, I'm not going to say too much about overeating.

Here’s what helped me:
-Getting the bulk of my writing done in the morning.
-If working on more than one project, doing the hardest one first.
-Learning to never ever buy food from the tempting displays located by the cash registers at Winco. Chocolate covered almonds? Big cans of cashews? You will eat them mindlessly in front of your computer.
-Listening to Pandora.com for background music. I also get CDs from the library now.
-Setting goals: for words or hours.
-Exercising. My gym started offering free classes so I take Butts & Guts, kung fu, and weight lifting. I now have a killer vertical punch. Possibly literally.
-Occasionally going to the library or other place where there are fewer distractions.

In two years, I’ve learned that I can make seemingly impossible deadlines. I had two books come out in 2009, and two more will come out this year and another two in 2011.

If you work at home, what are your tips for making it work?

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