The Writer’s Life and Why You Don’t Have It

The Writer's Life and Why You Don't Have It

One of my favorite outdoor offices in Belize

What keeps you from being the writer you want to be? Luckily, with changes in the publishing world, there is a clear path now from zero to making a good living as an author. It took me less than two years starting from scratch and while I don’t like to dwell on the negative, I delayed my own writing career for years due to various roadblocks I created for myself. Most people who personally know me would say, ‘Well, you were raising six children.’ But the truth is, there was still time to write, I just chose to do other things. You probably have an idea what your ideal writer’s life could be. Here’s some help to stop making excuses and start building a full time income as a successful author.

Inertia Sabotages Your Writer’s Life

Your life is ok right now. Just ok. If you introduce something new, you have the potential to disrupt your ok life. We naturally resist change because change has the potential to bring uncertainty. We are programmed to keep things the same to minimize the potential for pain. But what about having a great life, the fabulous writer’s life you know you could have if you just made a change? Change makes us uncomfortable in the beginning but it gets better, really. After a while, not even a long while, that uncomfortable feeling gets replaced with hope and excitement.

No Time to Write

The fix is two words. Work harder.

We’ve all had times in our life where we’ve had to work extra hard because of circumstances that were beyond our control. Life isn’t fair. Remember when you first learned that? Some of us are more challenged than others but I’ve known some very challenged people that have accomplished amazing things. I think about those folks when I open my mouth to complain about something. They get up, go to a day job, come home, take care of their family and write like a fiend at night while dealing with an illness or a serious family issue. Writing is just as important to them as anything else. They just work harder and so can you.


As soon as I retire I’ll…

When the kids are done with school I’ll…

Life deferment under any circumstances is a bad idea. Our days are numbered and we don’t know when the number is up. If you don’t change what you’re doing right now and start writing more there’s a big chance that you’ll be stuck doing a job that makes you unhappy for the rest of your life.


I can’t self-publish a book because I don’t know how. It’s too much to learn.

I can’t start an author blog, set up a mailing list and email marketing campaign because I’m not a techie person.

I just don’t have time for social media and book marketing.

Sound familiar? You actually put time, energy and effort into building a complicated story of why you can’t do something. What story are you telling yourself about why it won’t work for you? Here’s another way to think about it. What you’re really saying is, ‘This is why I don’t get the life I really want.’ How about this one, ‘This is the reason I don’t get to have the great writer’s life I deserve.’

Don’t lie to yourself. What you want is to make a fabulous living writing. You want to actually publish something you’ve written. You want to be a bestselling author. You want to have ten books out there so you can quit your day job.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When you complete your first step towards the writer’s life you want you replace your doubt and fear of failure with hope and courage and the feeling that you can’t do it dissipates. That first step is huge and you realize quickly you’re up for another challenge. In fact, you get really good at challenging yourself. When you personally have a ‘C’mon, bring it,’ attitude towards trial and challenge it becomes hard to understand why some people say they want to be a full-time writer then spend their time putting up roadblocks and never go after it in a big way.

Crabs In A Bucket

When you start making plans to focus more of your time on writing, you have your own doubts about how things will work out and unfortunately, that’s enough to sabotage some people, but did you know there is another group of people out there trying to undermine your efforts as well? They’re naysayers, they’re the crabs in a bucket pulling you back down to stay with them. How dare you aspire to something radically different? They’re your family and friends. They will tell you you’ll fail, that the economy requires you to stay with your safe job. They will give you many reasons why the life you desire won’t work. These are the people that are supposed to care for you and support you yet they’re keeping you from your desired life. Don’t let them.

Don’t ask permission from anyone. You don’t need it if it’s truly what you want to do to fulfill your life. If you think you have to ask permission from someone in your life to transition into a full-time writer, you should seriously reconsider the dynamic of your relationship with them. There are so many of us out there making a comfortable living self-publishing. The road has been paved for you and don’t listen to people who say differently, if it’s what you desire. Start making new friends. Friends that truly support you, agree with you, and say that you’d be crazy not to do this. Spend less time with the ones who don’t. Do not let them pull you back down into the bucket.

Taking Action

Look at the daily patterns you’ve created for yourself. You have a pattern of work and a pattern of family/friend life. You are the only person that can make changes in these patterns to allow more time for your writing career. Think about the things you really care about doing and keep doing them. What are the things you don’t care about as much? Is a full-time writing career more important than those things? Then give them up and replace them with writing.

It doesn’t matter how old you are and it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, if you’re willing to do the work. Do you want to write a book before you die? Before you’re thirty? Do you want to have a body of work published that allows you to lecture on the subjects in which you are an expert? Do you want a writing career because it is the job that will give you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world? Then go for it.

Set a date on the calendar to do it. This is when I will stop (time suck activity that I don’t care much about.) This is the day I start to add in X amount of hours of writing time.  If you get discouraged, focus on how you are going to feel when you have finished your first chapter or completed the last in a series of books and keep writing. Each day do more writing and less of something else. Remember, you’re doing this because you desire it. It’s what you want. There’s fear but there’s also excitement because you’re finally starting your writer’s life.


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One Response to The Writer’s Life and Why You Don’t Have It

  1. Lynette Benton
    October 30, 2013 at 8:51 AM #

    Thanks for this fabulous post, Connie. It sounds like what I say to my adult creative writing students at every class meeting. I’m going to print your post and distribute it to them!
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