Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions

Journal

The Freelance Leap: Time Off?

In less than four months time, I’ll be taking a year away from dayjobbery and seeing how close I can get to generating a full time freelance writing career. For the next five months I’ve the luxury of preparation time, trying to figure out how to make it work and putting some things in place that will pay off down the line (maybe). Then, at the end of September, I’ll take the leap, put all of this into practice, and see if I’m right about any of it. You can browse previous entries here.

Apologies for being a day late. The internet vanished on us last night*. Instead of doing ‘productive things’ like posting this update and checking Facebook we wandered around like zombies, bumping into furniture and making keening sounds in the back of our throats.

We’re back now, but in a rush. Tomorrow morning we fly out to the UK, where we will spend a couple of weeks pottering about in Scotland and doing house buying things. This is a bit of a scatty post, in lieu of that. Please enjoy this preview of the cover flat for Craven Place as an apology – you can click through for a larger version. Do let me know what you think in the comments.

Craven Flats

Which hands me this week’s topic on a plate. How on earth do writers manage to take time off? Do they at all? It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I’ve a calendar on my laptop that’s full of planning notes – when I want to get X done by, and how long I think Y will take to finish. The next two weeks are completely blank. I knew they were coming, and planned around them. Clever old me. I was planning to take a pen and notebook of course, and see if I could progress the Saturday Novella some when I had the odd moment or dull flight. That’s an extra though – whatever I achieve brings the completion date closer, and that would be nice, but the planning assumes I won’t get anything done at all.

However, the launch of Craven Place is almost upon us. This is a project. Like all projects, there has been slippage. The final, final version of the cover still isn’t with me. That means I can’t yet order a proof of the book (which will take a couple of weeks to get to me), and until I’ve got the proof I can’t publish the thing for fear that stuff in the design or layout won’t translate as intended on the page. Although readers of my newsletter have now downloaded their pre-publication copies of the ebook, I haven’t yet sent out any proper review copies or press releases (which I really wanted to do in advance this time around). Delays there have delayed me finishing another short story, that I also wanted to get sent away this week. On top of that, a very pleasant reply from a foreign rights agent yesterday means I have unexpected bits of synopsis writing and submission preparation to get done. Although in theory this could wait until I get back, I’d much rather strike while the iron’s hot (and while the agent remembers who I am). All of those delays have slowed down a pitch I’m making for to a publisher in the UK about a novel. And so it goes on…

And so I’m taking my laptop with me after all. Two weeks vacation from the dayjob is fairly easy. They pay other people to get on with the things I would usually get on with. Two weeks away from writing and publishing? Not going to happen.

I’m not fooling myself, either. It must be incredibly hard for writers, or indeed any self-employed freelance person, to plan absolute time off. If you’re in that position… how do you do it? Do you? Can you?

When I get back from the break, we’ll be in the final week before publication of the novel. I’ll also be entering the last stretch of dayjobbery before I take this planned year off. During these three months there’s a lot to do. Release a novel, complete a novella, finish half of one novel, write all of another… those are the things I want put to bed before the end of September.

Blimey, this break had better be good…

This week:

  • Too much faffing around and disorganisation. Craven Place isn’t quite ready for the printers but should have been. As above, many things not done that should have been done. They’re nearly done, but that doesn’t count. Gah!
  • Yesterday, Obverse Books released More Tales Of The City, which contains my short story ‘The Mystery Of The Rose’. If you’re wondering whether this book is like those other things you enjoy reading… it isn’t. It isn’t like anything else. That’s exactly why you should put it on your shopping list.

*and again this morning, just as I need to get things done – may implode now…

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2 Comments

  1. meghanarcuriJune 10, 2013 at 5:57 am

    love the cover. a lot.
    i wish i had answers for you, but i’m too new at this to drop any real wisdom. but…time away from anything is usually beneficial to all parties involved (you, family, the actual work…). like any new endeavor, it’ll probably be a little crazy at first, but i am sure you will find the balance. 🙂

    • Richard WrightJune 10, 2013 at 12:34 pmAuthor

      Practise makes perfect. I will take as many vacations as it takes to get good at them 😉

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