I’ve been trying to write this novel for a year now. It’s the first in an original, young adult, fantasy series that’s been burning a hole in the dark corners of my brain for far longer than that. But I just can’t seem to get around to it, and it bugs the hell out of me.
Since I’m a full-time writer (and game designer, but that’s a post for another board, I think), you might ask what the problem is. After all, don’t I have all day long, every day, to write?
Sure, in a sense. But just like most people I have other things that occupy at least some of my hours: wife, kids, family, friends. While I write most of the time, I have other obligations too, and I try to fit some flat-out, needless (but not to me) fun into what I have left.
I treat my writing like a job. I sit at my desk for hours every day and smash my calloused fingertips into my keyboard, stringing words into sentences, into paragraphs, into chapters, into books. I write. I write a lot.
This year, I’ve already worked on four different computer games, written three non-fiction books and two novels, crafted an operating system for an electronic toy, created a number of other games, and signed on to write a comic book miniseries. It’s nuts. I often have to check my own website to remember what I’ve done.
And there’s the dilemma. As a working writer, I don’t have extra time to write. What time I do have is already dedicated to paying projects, those birds in the hand that I end up juggling instead of charging headlong into the bush after original work.
To sit down and write that original YA novel means that I’d have to give up the income for the time I spent on it. Instead of turning over a book for a check, I’d give it to my agent and wish her the best of luck in selling it.
In essence, I’m not giving up that income for that time. I’m investing it into a gamble instead, one that could net me a nice chunk of change but could also cost me every dime of that time instead. It’s a roll of the dice, and when you have a mortgage, car payments, and many mouths to feed, it gets harder to pull myself away from the security of the job that’s already there.
So I’m going to do it. I’m going to grab those dice (6d$) and toss them against the table’s back bumper. I’ll take the risk and write that damn book.
Just as soon as I hit my next deadline or three.