The Road to Becoming a Full Time Author

Becoming a full time author, a career a lot of people have dreamed about. There’s a survey that says 81% of people feel like they have a novel in them. It's in humanities culture to tell each other stories. That's how we grow and develop and learn and hopefully have a good time too. Well surprise surprise I’m one of the 81%.

I’ve written and published a Novella and a handful of short stories but the full length novel still eludes me. I’ve had a request for a full manuscript from an agent before but that’s the limit of my publishing success with that one.
I realise that becoming an author, let alone a full time author, is a goal that may take years to reach. So that I can see the progress I’m making and for my own posterity I thought I’d condense my journey into a blog.

Luckily, I’m fortunate enough to have low expenses and no family that rely on me financially. This makes achieving a living off my writing income much more viable. If I’m ever going to take a proper run at being an author now is the best time of my life to do it.

Traditional Vs Indie Publishing, which one am I going for? Most likely my initial efforts at publishing will be focused towards indie publishing. Not that I am against traditional publishing, as I mentioned earlier I’ve had a manuscript request from an agent before. It's just that for now I think my goals match better with the quick responses of the Indie market. Ultimately, I would like to be Hybrid published - Publishing both independently and with a traditional publisher.

Before we set out some goals let's talk weaknesses.

Mainly, the thing holding me back in a career as an author is… the whole publishing thing. I guess you could say, in some ways, I’m a perfectionist.  I’m extremely hard on myself when I know I’m capable of more. This comes across most potently in my writing, where I know I can do much better than my current standard. This has stopped me from publishing multiple projects in the past and hindered me massively. Part of the problem with never thinking I’m quite good enough is that I’ll never be able to master writing, there will always be something else I can learn. Some way I can improve. So I need to get over my own hang ups about my work and publish, let the audience be the judge of my writing and in the meantime I’ll keep writing the next story.

Ok, ok so lets talk something more concrete. Yea, I want to be an author, but what am I actually going to do about it.

2000 words a day. No excuses. My writing speed varies greatly. I’ve seen it be anywhere from 500 words per hour on tough scenes up to 2000 words an hour when I’m really flying and even up to 3000 words per hour if I’m dictating (I’m not currently dictating and don't see myself getting back to it in the near future) The reality of my writing speed is somewhere in between. But let's say I can comfortably get 1000 words an hour, that means I need to dedicate two hours a day to my writing. For where I want this to lead me, that type of time investment is negligible.

The caveat being I need to consistently hit 2000 NEW words a day. These can't be words from me endlessly editing my manuscript. I need to be pushing the story forwards towards completion.

Given I expect the manuscript length to be in the region of 100,000 words, that means that it would take me fifty days to complete the first draft of this manuscript. This means as of the date of writing this, my 1st draft will be finished by the 21st January.

For now thats all we will focus on.

After that I can make editing goals, sales goals etc etc. But let's get the book finished!

Ok. So today is step one. It's time to go write 2000 words.