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Being A Full-Time Writer

The classic stereotype of a romance writer paints a cozy picture of a woman typing her stories at home during the day. Only a small percentage of aspiring/new authors have it so good, while a larger percentage of veteran, best selling authors have become full time writers.

The majority of writers have to hold down a full time job, especially when living in the bigger, expensive cities. Although I don’t have the luxury of a full time writing career, I have something that is equally important. I am 100% committed to my writing. This is why I am a full time writer.

I have 24 hours in a day: 12 hours include dressing, work and commuting. 2 hours spent on assisting my kids with their homework. 1 hour in chauffeuring daughter to gymnastics. 1 hour for dinner and eating. 8 hours are left and I haven’t even taken any time out for sleeping. This means that I write for about 3 hours every day before I crash.

Since I only have 3 hours, I have to treat it with respect. I can’t answer the phone. I can’t get on the Internet and surf. I can’t catch up on the latest reality show. I can’t go to the mall with the girlfriends, just for the heck of it. I can’t bring my day work to be done as homework at night. Those 3 hours are valuable and precious. I guard it with a protectiveness that may label me as anti-social, introverted, stand-offish. On the weekend, I write 6-8 hours on Saturday and Sunday. This is why I am a full time writer.

I listen to my peers complain about finding the time to write. I hear empty promises about next week, she will start writing every day. The most humorous tidbit is listening to writers talk about the top television shows. Nice that she has time to support a fellow of the arts when she hasn’t made it to the finishing line because her manuscript still reflects Chapter 6 where the sagging middle is turning into one of the deep crevices in the Grand Canyon.

When you decide that you want to be an author, you have to take that determined step forward. You can’t write a little, otherwise, you’ll either be a one book wonder or won’t make it past the forbidding odds toward being published. You’ve heard the saying, you can’t be a little bit pregnant. You either are or aren’t. Take the same advice for writing. You either are or aren’t a writer. Whatever you decide to make as a writing goal, stick with it.

Do whatever it takes to get you in the zone to maintain discipline. Motivational tapes may help. Reading a biography of a successful writer or actor before you sit down to write may work. Surrounding yourself with positive influences also can provide an intangible boost.

Do I take vacations? Of course. After I finish a project, I stop to smell the roses. Then I get back into the zone and start working again.

Respect the craft. Maintain discipline. Become a full time writer.

About Michelle Monkou

Michelle Monkou

Michelle Monkou, an avid reader, mixed with her cultural experiences, set the tone for a vivid imagination. It wasn’t long before the stories in her head became stories on paper.

In the middle of writing romantic fiction, she added a Master’s of International Business to her Bachelor’s in English. Michelle was nominated for the 2003 Emma Award for Favorite New Author for her debut novel — Open Your Heart. Her second book – Finders Keepers – earned Top Pick by the Romantic Times Bookclub magazine. Her third book, a Kwanzaa-themed story – Making Promises – was featured as a holiday pick by the Baltimore Sun. Her April 2006 release – Island Rendezvous garnered rave reviews, which also happens to be a sequel to Finders Keepers. Since September ’06, Michelle became part of the launch of Harlequin’s new African American romance line, Kimani Romance, with her novels Sweet Surrender, Here and Now, and Straight To The Heart, all part of the Masterson family series.

Visit her at www.MicheleMonkou.com