Richard Wright

author of strange, dark fictions


The Freelance Leap: How To Start

In seven weeks 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 few weeks 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.


Less than seven weeks until this all kicks off, and time to firm up how I’m going to use those twelve short months. My biggest worry has been that if I leave too much up in the air then that’s where it will stay, but if I lock too much down then I won’t have the flexibility I need to get over any humps or changes, or to take advantage of any new opportunities that come up. For now, here’s what I think is going to happen across the first few months.


I’m keeping this first month aside for a specific project that isn’t yet approved, but that I’ll want to attend to straight away if it gets approved.  If it doesn’t, I have a second time-sensitive on spec project I could slot into the same window. Either way, let’s consider October to be taken care of. Both of these novels already have a structure of sorts and a lot of thought behind them, which gives me hope that whichever gets written will actually be done within the month (first draft, anyway). We’ll see. If I manage it, that will be the fastest novel I’ve ever written. Thought I might as well start the Leap Year off with some ambition.

November & December

Another novel, one I’ve been planning for many years, and which I can’t wait to get to. It will be written to Bear McCreary’s gorgeous soundtracks from Battlestar Galactica, because there’s an enormous crossover in spirit between the novel I want to write and that series (though in practice they’re entirely dissimilar). It’s too soon to say much more than that just now, but if I have this done by Xmas I’ll be feeling very happy with myself.

January or February

The work in progress, represented in the photo above by some of the various background reading I keep flicking back and forth through, is haring along at the moment (pun intended), and the first draft should be done while I’m still wrapping up the dayjobbery. I had planned to leave it until the summer before publishing it, but I’ve changed my mind. If I do that, the whole freelance experiment will be coming to a close before I can work out whether that book is making a difference to my overall income. That’s actually a bit backwards, as I should really be publishing early in the year in order see how things add up towards the end. As such, I’m hoping to publish it no later than February. That depends on a lot of things, including the availability of the people I want to work with on edits cover design. That’s the aim though. Now that I’m definitely going to release it myself, there’s no point it sitting on my hard drive for most of the year doing nothing.

January will also see the launch of The 52, following which I’ll publish a new short story here, every Monday of 2014.

And that’s as far as I’ll go just now. I’m not wholly sure what longer works that I want to write in the New Year, but there are several options and I’ve no need to settle on one yet. From a publishing standpoint, I also intend to publish three novellas across the summer (in April, June, and August), and then end the Freelance Year in September 2014 by publishing a second novel (the one I’ll be writing this coming November, I hope).

There are going to e surprises on top of that lot, I suspect. Things I don’t know about yet. On the publishing side, I can be pretty sure that the above will happen – two novels, three novellas, and fifty-two short stories – because I’m in control of them. However, I’m still submitting things to publishers, and there’s plenty of time yet for acceptances to happen for things that could be published within the twelve months of the Freelance Leap. I’m as curious about what they may be as you are.

As you can tell, as the final weeks of dayjobbery tick by I’m increasingly determined to throw everything and the kitchen sink at the twelve months that follow. It’s not an opportunity that’s going to roll by twice. Caution isn’t going to avail me much.

This week:

  • The current novel in progress sped up considerably. Psychopaths and drunkards have helped to energise it again.
  • Edits have just arrived for my story ‘Skins’, which is to be featured in the upcoming Nightscapes anthology. More on this Glasgow-set story of brothels and selkies at a seperate juncture, but it’s a new story that sort of fell out of me one weekend. I like it a lot. A pre-order page for the book (from the same publisher as brought you World’s Collider last year) has just gone up, with an expected release date of the end of this very month…
  • The week also brought a splendid review of More Tales of the City, with some very nice words spoken of my story ‘The Mystery of the Rose’.
  • Relieved to see sales of Craven Place getting back to their pre-giveaway norm. Last week had me rather worried, but all is back to where it was…

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  1. StuartAugust 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Owen Dudley Edwards was my final year tutor at University. Lovely man.

    • Richard WrightAugust 17, 2013 at 8:43 pmAuthor

      Hah! Small world (wouldn’t want to paint it)…

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