Counting The Costs of a Writer’s Life

by Rachel Hauck
Merry
Christmas, Happy New Year!
We spend a
lot of time at Novel Rocket, My Book Therapy, and in the writing industry as a whole 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, maybe three 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 Vogt, Lisa
Jordan and others.
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 office 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 extracurricular activities. We can’t be running around town
shopping, or lunching, or sadly, volunteering.
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 only way
we go forward with any confidence is by sheer discipline and will. And it’s a
fight!
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’ve chosen
the writer life and with it comes certain handicaps. It’s not 9-5. I’m not
surrounded by people all day. To do the job, I have to retreat sometimes.
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. It’s why we’ve created the My Book Therapy
Community. It’s why there are writing organizations like American Christian
Fiction Writers.
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?
Count. The.
Cost.
The life of
a novelist will cost you precious things. But it is worth it. So very worth it.
Tips
  1. Get with the Lord. Spend time with Him, praying over your schedule, asking
    Him to release your heart as an author.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Write,
counting the cost.
TWEETABLES

New York Times, USA Today ​and Wall Street Journal best-selling,
award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves
a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction
Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. 
A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with
her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at www.rachelhauck.com.