At the end of March this year I left my job to be a full-time stay at home writer, part-time worker, house husband and downtrodden victim of six cats. It wasn’t an easy decision (especially being a victim of cats) but my wife, Mrs B, was adamant that an opportunity like this may never come along again for us, so we agreed I should give it a try.
Since March I have published my second novel, have a final draft of a third book nearing completion and I have already started on the third and fourth novels from the Elencheran Chronicles series. Further progress on these has been hindered somewhat by the obligatory household chores but as far as I’m concerned, if my wife is the one earning the bulk of a living for both of us right now, then the least I can do is keep the house in order, or as close to order as six rampaging cats will allow.
This path hasn’t been one for the faint hearted. Though the bills are paid and I have much-needed time for writing, that road to making this a viable living is still a long way off. I sell books each month but not enough to cover the bills, which is all I’d ever want from a writing career. The millions JK Rowling has would not interest me. What would I do with it all but give it away to charity?
What separates the big success stories like E.L. James from the rest of the indie community is luck, plain and simple. Yes, there is the need for a professional looking work (cover, editing, formatting etc) but even with those essentials, success isn’t guaranteed. I don’t profess to be a brilliant writer, I write as well as I believe I can, but I would never claim my work to be superior to that of other writers. I’m happy with the stories I tell but know the readers will decide the worth of my writing in the end.
Many people can write, some better than others, but sadly it’s not always quality that sells, even though in my opinion it should be. Controversy or a book that just gets people talking is what a writer needs. Of course, if it was so easy to write such a book we’d all be competing at the top of the bestsellers lists. There are no secret formulas for success other than hard work and our old friend luck, the latter I believe is what will make or break every writer.
Being at home, continuing to write and hoping for mine and my wife’s fortunes to change, I sometimes struggle with my belief in what I do. I welcome all reviews – good and bad – and though I seldom let the feedback affect me personally, there might sometimes be a remark that chinks away at my armour and leaves me starting to doubt myself. It’s those lonely moments when I wonder if I should go on, should I return to full-time work and guarantee a good income rather than an okay one?
Whenever I have a crisis of faith I remind myself of the sacrifices my wife has made to give me this opportunity and that for as long as I have this chance I should knuckle down and keep going. It’s okay to have those moments of doubt. I can reflect, face and overcome them. If I stumble, even fall, on the writing path it doesn’t mean I won’t stand again and continue on. So long as I push on, running, walking or even crawling it’s a little further each time.
Perhaps one day I will return to that unfulfilling (for me) 9-5 office job, enter auto-pilot and zombie mode for eight hours of the day, but if it comes to that so be it. So long as I have embraced this opportunity to write from home that I currently have then there can be no regrets. If luck is needed to get anywhere as a writer then I’m already halfway there for being able to write from home makes me one very lucky author indeed.
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