Accidental Lessons

Most of you know that I was a full-time teacher for fifteen years. During that time, I managed to write five full-length novels and start a lot of messes that should’ve been plot lines. Two of the full-length novels also managed to get edited and published during that time.

Then, this year, I had the opportunity to write full time. So far, I’ve written 2.75 full-length novels. I’ve also edited three and am in the process of publishing two.

A few weeks back, when I was going through a period of self-doubt and anxiety, someone asked me to be a substitute in her classroom during her maternity leave. I didn’t see a reason not to and, to be honest, we could use the money. In addition, the school is one I love and want to see be successful. My daughter is in the class, so I want her to have a positive experience while her homeroom teacher is out. I agreed to the six-week commitment.

All of this has put me in a unique mindset to really see the unintended side effects of writing full time vs writing part-time.

  • More Writing: Obviously if you can commit to writing full time, more writing actually gets done.
  • More Editing
  • More Reading
  • Better Writing: Had I not just lived through this, I don’t know if I would’ve noticed. But my writing is better when I’m writing full time. I’m noticing that my first drafts require less editing. I keep more of what I sit down and write when I am full time. Weird, unexpected, but cool.
  • Better Sleep: I certainly did not see this one coming. It turns out, for whatever reason, that I actually sleep better when I’m writing full time. More restful, less random waking up in the middle of the night. Also, less random dreams about writing or my books.
  • Worse Eating Habits: Again, I didn’t see this one coming. It turns out I actually eat worse when I’m writing full time. I’m likely to sit down for a session of writing with a bunch of junk. I’m equally likely to never even bother to eat because I’m writing and don’t realize how much time has passed. This is the only time in my life when I’ve actually forgotten to eat. It’s weird.
  • Happier: Writing full time makes me happy. It gives me less overall stress and an outlet for the stress I do have.

I’m so pleased to have had the opportunity to write full time this year. I am also pleased I had the chance to sub for my daughter’s classroom, see her learn, and be a part of that world again. If nothing else, it helped me realize how many things are different when I get to write full time.

Alright, that’s it. Back to work I go! This new book isn’t going to write itself.

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