As a writer, one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make is whether to keep writing in your spare time or go into it full time. As tempting as it might be to go full time, be sure you make the effort to really analyze yourself and your situation before you do.
Here are some things to consider.
- How much money will you need to earn in the next three years in order to do more than just survive? Can you make that much if you combine writing, teaching, speaking, etc.? Do you have income sources or savings to help you while you’re making the change to full time?
- What is your worst-case financial scenario and can you live with it if you need to? If you can, for how long?
- How large is the marketplace for the type of writing you do? How stable is that marketplace (example: there’s been a huge change in the newspaper market in recent years)?
- How well do you handle rejection? Will you take it personally or will you understand it’s what you’re offering that’s being rejected? Are you persistent enough to keep trying after multiple rejections?
- How many people do you know who are willing to help you understand the writing profession? To mentor you? To represent you (example: agent)?
- How disciplined are you to work on your own? To do the things you need to do that aren’t so much fun (find markets, research, write query letters, meet deadlines, etc.)?
- How well do you handle unmet expectations? Giving up perks (like benefits, regular hours, etc.)? Keeping business records (writing is business, after all)?
- How flexible are you when asked to change something you’ve written? When adjusting your lifestyle to becoming self-employed? When expanding your circle of influence or researching projects or learning more about the publishing industry?
- How supportive is your spouse or significant other in your decision? Your friends? Your family?
- Finally, how do you really feel about not having a steady paycheck?
Only you can answer these questions, and I trust you’ll spend some time really thinking about them before you make your decision. Whether you decide to write full time or part time, remember that only you write what you write. No one else is you, so no one else can write what you do. Happy writing!