Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nora Roberts Has More Free Time Than I Do


Recently, I saw Nora Roberts speak in a video chat. She's a wonderful speaker, engaging, charming, and witty. She seems to be a straight-shooter, and she tells it like it is. She gets a lot done because she works a lot; it's as simple as that. She works five to six days a week, six to eight hours a day.

I heard her say that, and I thought, huh. I can do that.

Hey, wait a minute. I do that.

This week, I'm working 60 hours at the 911 day job. Monday is an overtime shift, then I'll do Wednesday-Saturday, all 12 hour shifts, like normal, 6am to 6pm. I get up between 3:30am and 4am to write for about an hour, before I leave the house at 5am for my commute. I get around a thousand words done before work, unless I accidentally make the coffee too weak.

On my days off, I write for four to seven hours, depending on how the words are treating me, unless I'm editing under deadline, and then I can be at my desk for ten hours or more. As my last deadline approached, it wasn't uncommon for me to be at my desk for twelve hours on every day off. (For those doing the math, that's an 84 hour work week between both jobs.)



La Nora, whom I adore, is working her ass off, yes, but she's putting in a writing work week of between thirty to forty-eight hours.

I can DO that. Let me AT it! I feel like a leaping animal, wild to try. Let me get to the point where I can support myself by the writing, let me get to the point where the royalty statements allow me quit the day job. (A girl can dream, can't she?) Let me know what it feels like to be completely self-employed, and to feel (mostly) safe being so.

I'm passionate enough to do the work to make it happen. I'm putting in the time now, and I'll put it in then, too. But on the flip side, I'm savvy enough to know that putting in the time doesn't mean that you're guaranteed to make it. Nor does being talented. Nor, even, does being in the right place at the right time. There's no magic formula, except, perhaps, continuing to get up after you get knocked down, again, and again, and even that might not work.

But I'll keep writing. Keep putting in the time. Nora inspires me. "Discipline, guilt, and guilt." That's how I get to the page every day. Yep. I get that.

7 comments:

Amber said...

This is so true with all forms of art. If I add up work and dance I work an 80 hour week, easy. This is why it has to be love :)

Lisa Hughey said...

Nora is an amazing speaker isn't she? My favorite quote from that speech: "Sister Mary Responsibility kicks the muse's ass." :) :)

Hard Boiled Mysti said...

I want to invent a device that keeps the t.v. and internet turned off until I've written 1200 words that day ;)

911? Dang, you can't even sneak onto the internet and do research at that job!

My hat's off to you!!!!!

Good Enough Woman said...

I just looked up "discipline" in the dictionary, and your picture was there! Erm, what time to you go to sleep at night?

Sophie Littlefield said...

my plan is to work my ass off until it feels like i'm at a secure place in my writing career...i will be working my ass off for a very long time I think...and it's worth it - oh hell yes it is

Martha Flynn said...

ditto dude. ditto.

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