Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ask the Authors: Thursday

Welcome back to “ask the authors week.” This week we will pose five questions to our contributors, and you’ll find their varied answers to a single question each day.

If you have questions you’d like us to ask during a future “Ask the Authors” week, send it to As always, thanks for joining us!

Is novel writing a full-time job for you? Part-time? Or a hobby?

Part-time. Certainly not a hobby. My hobbies are MUCH more relaxing. –Karen Ball

It’s more than a full-time job. Probably about 50-60 hours a week . . . without overtime pay! –Angela Hunt

Full-time, as much as possible. It was never a "hobby," although I started out intending it to be just that. -BJ Hoff

Within the last three or four years, writing has become pretty much a full-time job for me. But it’s a job with extremely flexible hours. I almost always take a week or even a month off after I finish a book, and I sometimes write at night or on the weekends because I decided to go out to lunch with a friend on a weekday I should have been writing. So while I easily average 40 hours a week or more working on writing-related projects, I never feel like I have the burden of a full-time job. - Deborah Raney

Writing is full-time in that it takes up my whole life. Most times, I spend maybe 2-4 hours per day writing, but I live in the story all the time, from beginning to end of the process. I am always either talking about the story, or developing characters, or dreaming about possible scenarios. I can't even escape the story when I'm sleeping. -Hannah Alexander

It’s full time, pay the bills, work five days a week and sometimes on weekends, work. -Lori Copeland

It's full-time for me. But it's also still a hobby. I enjoy it very much. –Rene Gutteridge

It is my full time job. It is the sole source of my income (which at times is terrifying). - Robin Lee Hatcher

I write full time, but I don't think of it as a full-time job. A full-time job implies something done for the money, and if I had to rely on the writing income alone I would not write. I'd have to write too many words in too little time. I'd have to move from one story to the next too quickly to get my head out of one and fully into the next. I wouldn't be able to reflect on the themes and the characters long enough to really understand them. I wouldn't be able to rewrite enough times to get the words and the pacing just the way they ought to be. You have to hurry up and produce to make a living wage at writing fiction (or else have the pure dumb luck it takes to write a runaway bestseller), so if I thought of writing as a job I'd have to think of writing as the production of goods for sale and that would suck the fun out of it for me. Besides, if making money was the goal I'd be crazy to keep writing when there are so many other ways to make a lot more with a lot less effort. -Athol Dickson

Very much a full-time job for me, though I have two other full-time jobs as well: I travel and speak two dozen weekends a year and mother our two dear teenagers. Even Sundays aren't always a day of rest for me, since I'm either speaking somewhere or ministering in our choir. But I LOVE what I do, so I count all of the above pure JOY! -Liz Curtis Higgs

Full time for thirteen years. This semester I've added part-time teaching to the mix. Still writing full time, though, so far. –Patricia Hickman

Full time, but I am not one to advise that this is something to jump into. Many a famous, and productive, writer has also held a day job. Anthony Trollope managed to become one of the best and most prolific of writers while working as a civil servant. Elmore Leonard wrote from 4 - 6 a.m. before heading to his job in the ad business. A day job keeps toast on the table and allows you to concentrate on what you really want to write. It also keeps you grounded and close to people. You might find some good material there. -James Scott Bell

It is a full-time job that I do part-time. Hour-wise, I don’t write 40 hours a week. Thinking-wise, I’m almost always writing, no matter what else I’m doing. –Ann Tatlock

After 17 years of working as a mental health consultant on an Indian reservation while writing a novel a year, I quit my day job so now I am now "only" writing. I consider it a full time job with research, writing and promotion. Story-telling and writing are healing things so I feel like my other profession continues to inform my work and hopefully blends with what I feel is God's calling at this point in my life. My hobby, though, is reading. God is good. –Jane Kirkpatrick


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