You probably know by now that I am not a full-time author. I have a day job. And a looooong commute. That can make finding time for writing sometimes difficult, either because of lack of time, or, more often than not, lack of energy.
For nearly two years, I’ve been trying to find ways to fit writing into my schedule. I did the morning thing. Turns out I am still not a morning person, and early morning writing sessions just plain old bummed me out. I tried the evening thing. That sort of works, but only if I’m not completely spent from a tough day, or a tough commute, or, more often than not, both.
What else could I do?
This year is an “off” year for vacations for my husband and me. We try to take a nice vacation nearly every year, but we have two senior dogs, which makes doing so difficult. So lately, we find that we don’t travel every year. Since we took a big vacation last year Down Undah, this is a stay-at-home year for us. (My husband is bummed out about it, but the dogs seem deliriously happy. Let’s call it a wash.)
But, because I still have to use my vacation days from work even if I’m not going on an actual vacation, I did something a little different with my time this year. I scheduled three one-week “stay-cations” throughout the year where I get to stay home and do nothing but write. Well, in theory, as you’ll soon see.
This week was my first stay-cation week. It started out great. I fully plotted the first 15 scenes or approximately the first 25% of Where I Belong. I feel great about those scenes, and I felt great about my progress. I also did the major plot and romance arcs for the whole book, which felt beyond great. At one point on Tuesday, I could almost see myself handing in my resignation with a great big grin on my face as I declared to the world that I was a Full-Time Author.
I felt so good about it that I gave myself a new moniker: Stay-cation Amy. I love Stay-cation Amy. She wrote mostly in the mornings, but didn’t wear a watch and didn’t much care about what else might need to be done that day so long as she wrote. She did what she wanted, and what she wanted was to write. Everything else happened whenever it happened. Or not. Stay-cation Amy cared not.
Then Wednesday came, and there was no writing, just a lot of appointments. And Thursday came and I just had to finish Big Little Lies. (Seriously, the ending was so good I almost don’t feel that guilty about dropping the morning to finish it.) And then Friday came, but the words didn’t. Saturday, well, that spare bedroom wasn’t going to paint itself, was it?
Which brings us to today. Sunday. And the realization that Stay-cation Amy had turned into regular old Day Off Amy, who had appointments and made dinners and was responsible for the running of a household on her days off. She isn’t nearly as much fun, and, if I’m being completely honest, spends too much time stressing over having to go back to work.
So instead of spending Sunday polishing my outline and getting ready to write my ass off, like Stay-cation Amy had envisioned earlier in the week, Day Off Amy had to face up to her failures. Given an entire week, I couldn’t even plot a whole book. How could I possibly become a Full-Time Author if I couldn’t manage more than three days out of seven where I actually wrote??
What went wrong?
It took me nearly all of Sunday to figure it out, but I know exactly what went wrong. I am a full-time lawyer, who tries (and usually fails) to write a book in her non-existent spare time. I’m a lawyer first. Then comes wife, dog mom, aunt, sister, daughter, all in various order. Then, and only then, am I an author.
Literally everything in my life comes first before writing my book. But if I have any hope at all of being a Full-Time Author, I can’t allow that to continue. I have to be an author. Full stop. The rest are things that I must also be, but they must fall in line with being an author or none of this will work.
So as of tonight, I am no longer an attorney who is trying to write a book in her spare time. I am an author, writing her debut novel while working a day job to pay the bills until such time as her authoring can do that instead.
I am not Day Off Amy. I am not even Stay-cation Amy (although I really liked her because she got to drink wine with her lunch).
I am Amy Draper, Author.