Counting The Cost of Writing

Best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. With a love for teaching and mentoring, Rachel loves to come alongside writers and help them craft their novel. She’s the Book Therapist for My Book Therapy and sits on ACFW’s Executive Board.
Otherwise, she lives in Florida, where she is also a worship leader, with her husband and dog.
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We spend a lot of time here and in the
writing industry talking about craft, networking, marketing, promoting, and the
general way to write a book. Panster, plotter, planster (plotter and panster
combination.)
But what we don’t discuss much is the cost of giving your
life to writing. Especially to writing fiction.
There’s a price tag, and while I love what I do, there are
days I “feel” the price I’ve paid.
I have no co-workers. I sit in my lovely tower, which I
adore, alone, every single day. Sometimes the phone never rings for me. I may
not get a personal email or friendly phone call for days.
My family lives out of my state. I don’t have children. My
life is carved out perfectly to crank out two books a year. But I
gotta tell ya, it can get lonely.
I’m so grateful for the friends the Lord has given me. Susie
Warren, Beth Vogts and a group of Romance Tweeters to help create some kind of “work environment.”
I can’t write a book without calling Susie several times a
week. Nearer to my deadline, I might call her several times a day. I value her
friendship and input! What a gift.
But practically speaking, she lives in Minnesota. I live in
Florida.

One of my favorite things from days-gone-by was my corporate
job relationships. 
We had some sure laughs and some grand lunches, and great
success on the job. I loved solving a problem and celebrating with my
co-workers. 
The day-job provided immediate feedback.
Sure, there were the tough days, the
drag-my-butt-into-the-office days. 
And I had a very interesting boss. But overall, I enjoyed my software project manager job.
I read about writing being a solitary life. I’m good with
solitary. But friends, it is a really
solitary life.
Writers have to say, “No,” to extra curricular activities.
We can’t be running around town shopping, or lunching, or sadly, volunteering when deadlines are looming. Especially if you have a family to tend to as well.
We have to shut off the TV, the radio, the internet and just
“be” with our stories and characters. 
We must face the pain of making people
that only live in our heads and hearts come to life on the page.
Good writing days are followed by hard writing days. We
wrestle with our insecurities and doubt. There might be days or weeks where we
hear from no one in our profession: not a reader, an editor or agent.
The other day I was driving to morning prayer at church,
wrestling with my lack of close, local friendships. 
No don’t go feeling sorry
for me, I do have friends. I do! I’m not a hermit or miser. But, the
friendships I used to have at work, or when in college, are gone. At my age,
many of my friends are busy with children or even grandchildren!
As I mused over this, I finally thought, “Maybe it’s not
that I lack friends but I lack the right perspective.”
I love my job! Love writing novels. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a girl. 
I’d have more regrets for not sitting in the tower and writing than the regrets of the lonely writer life.
The challenge for us is to be content exactly where God has
us. As I mused over my situation, I heard Jesus say, “I’m Your friend.”
I teared up. “Will you come to my  house for Christmas dinner?”
“I will.”
See, it’s about perspective. 
What a true and dear friend we
have in Jesus. And the friends I do have in my town, are lovely and always
ready for a lunch when I can break free!
But, back to the writer’s life. Are you ready to pay the
cost? I’m not the only writer who struggles with friendship time and
heart-connections within the local community.
I’ve heard other writers share similar things.
Take stock of yourself. Are you too busy being a friend and
doing other things to write? 
Even for writing moms, at some point, you have to
close out the hubbub and noise of the family and write. I’m awed by my mom
writing friends like Susan Warren, Cara Putman, Kristin Billerbeck and Tracey
Bateman.
Are there things in your life cluttering out writing?
The life of a novelist will cost you precious things. But it
is worth it. So very worth it.
Here’s a few tips:
Get with the Lord. Spend time with Him, praying over
your schedule, asking Him to release your heart as an author.
Counsel with your spouse or close friends, parents or
other family. Is this the time to devote to writing and say no to other things?
Or will that season come later. It is RIGHT and PERFECT to wait until the
“write” season.
Find a place that’s yours to write. Make sure no one
else invades. It’s yours. Even if it’s a table at Panera or Starbucks, make it
your writing spot.
Schedule time to be with friends and family. Be
purposeful. If you do ministry at your church or volunteer in the community,
keep to a schedule. Don’t pick up extra jobs just because you feel bad for
someone. Do ONLY what the Lord has called YOU to do.
Write on the hard days. Sometimes those words are
better than the ones who come on the good days. If you only have an hour to
write on busy days, take it!
Writing is purposeful. So is the writer’s life. Be
purposeful. Tune out the noise. Still your heart and mind.
And write, counting the cost.