I know quite a few writers who (myself included) have taken time out from non-writerly employment to focus on writing. Our experiences have had interesting similarities and differences.
In the similarities column would have to go “not writing nearly as much as had planned to”. The differences column would be dominated by the “results”.
The near universal mismatch between what we’d all planned to get done and what we actually got done, in fact directly links to the difference in outcomes. In each case the distractions from writing were different, so that led to differing results.
Some found that they’d happily write full-time. Some found they really needed the stimulus of a day job. Others found that there were a lot of things they’d rather do with their time than write, and that working wasn’t necessarily the ogre of not writing that they’d always thought it to be.
Reflecting on this, as I do every time a friend delves into a writing focussed break from work, I come back to the same observations:
- If you don’t like your day-job then writing is likely to be the excuse to not work, rather than the beneficiary.
- Working, for some, sets the brain into a specific writing time that is hard to reset.
- You have to treat writing like your day-job to get the most out of it (ie set a routine).
- Whatever routine you set yourself, you need to allow re-charge breaks or you’ll burn out.