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Monday, November 22, 2010

Why We Write...And How, Too



Those of you who have followed my blog for any length of time either here at my new blog home or back on MySpace (before MySpace got stupid) know that I only rarely write about, well, writing.

Before I get into the actual why of that, let me tell you a little bit about my writing career...

I have some 30-odd active pen names. That is to say that I have books in print under all of those names that are currently available. There are perhaps that many more pen names that are not active that I have used in the past. There are another six or eight names that I use for screenplays and similar media. I write in more than two dozen different genres. I sold my first story when I was 13 and my first book when I was just shy of 16.

It may seem unrelated, but I am totally deaf, and I have been since birth. Like many profoundly deaf people, my speech is very hard for people who aren't around me a lot to understand. Here is why this matters...I would have a hard time making a living doing most jobs. Yes, I did a stint as a waitress at a fast-food diner-like place and did pretty well, but that was because 90% or more of the customers were regulars. They knew to look at me when they ordered so I could read their lips, and they soon learned to understand me when I spoke to them. I can't use a regular phone.

Since I was selling some things I wrote, being an author seemed like the logical career choice.

The gig has worked out pretty well for the last 20+ years.

And that's why I seldom blog about writing. Writing is my full-time job. It's all I do.

Many authors today write part-time. That's nothing new, and the reasons are simple. There are two ways to make a living writing:

(1) Write a couple of blockbuster best sellers and make a few hundred million from them.

(2) Write a couple thousand plain bestsellers and make a few hundred million from them.

JK Roland follows plan #1.

I follow plan #2.

Anyway...

Writing full-time is very different from writing part-time. And everything is different, including the motivations, the priorities, and even the approach.

A big example is that a part-time author can afford to sit back and take the time for endless edits and revisions and total rewrites. They have another source of income, so it doesn't matter how many tries it takes to get the piece right. A full-time author has to get it right the first time. If I don't publish, I don't eat.

Another case is the concept of "being inspired". A full-time author can't afford to wait for the muse to decide to come sit on their shoulder and whisper the story into their ear. I can't tell you how many times I have hidden behind a door waiting for my muse to come back from the kitchen with a tuna sandwich. Then I jump out, grab the bitch, and force her to tell me stories. I have to...if I don't publish, I don't eat.

These differences are what make me hesitant to write about writing. Most part-time authors can't begin to comprehend the things that change when you write for a living.

On the other hand, most full-time authors—myself included—can't see how the part-timers can not write all the time.

And I do mean "write all the time". In an average year, I write 18 full-length novels (average of about 135K words) and some 40 or so stories under 20K words. In a typical day, I spend 14 hours or more writing. Seven days a week. And there are no holidays.

Sometimes I envy the part-timers.

Other times, I wouldn't write part-time if you paid me.

Oh...

You do pay me.

Keep Loving!

Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author
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Melodee's Books at BookStrand


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