I’ve been writing professionally now for eleven years, with no day job backup. Some years are boom, some are bust, and I must admit the financial roller coaster gets a little stressful at times. You can build a reputation, a readership, and that helps, but when so many families are struggling, they don’t buy as many books for their children. It’s a sad fact. And then when you’re jumping into new genres, as I’m doing, there is no existing readership. Thus, even less security.
This is how I’ve learned to deal with it, and incidentally, how I’ve learned to deal with writing 3 – 4 books or screenplays a year without burning out.
I follow the inspiration. I work on projects when it feels right, not when I “should”. For example, this week, I was happily working away on a juvenile series proposal, the rewrite of Undertow, and Angel’s Flight, my current novel, when along comes a movie idea! Yesterday was spent in taking notes, discovering characters, realizing the science of the new story. I was excited, exhilarated, over the moon (or actually, over Azul, the name of my new planet)!
And then it was time to stop. Just stop. So I did. Now that idea is sitting there, happily started on paper, waiting for me to have time to return to it. It may even be my next movie.
That’s not to say that following inspiration is always a heady experience. You notice there was a time to stop, to go back to my novel? It was hard going when I got back, really hard, but I was where the inspiration called me. From highest creative heights to slogging through a difficult scene…
Both were necessary. Both were following inspiration. Both were creating something incredible (or incredible to me, at least). One was just a little more fun than the other.
Okay, a lot more fun! 🙂 And that’s okay.