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To ask if any mumsnetters write for a living?

(151 Posts)
squishyeyeballs Thu 30-Jul-15 00:30:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FallingGoldfinch Thu 30-Jul-15 13:06:09

I think you also have to decide what you want from it. It's my job so I would only write books that get published - and maybe, from that, there comes a method/structure of how you actually go about it. That's not to say I don't get distracted - I get very, very easily distracted - but then I can always pull back to the deadline when I need to. So, with children, I would do what I wanted to/needed to with them, then, if I still had 5,000 words to write and it was 11pm, that just needed to be done before I went to bed.

CaoNiMa Thu 30-Jul-15 13:09:45

I'm a writer. Travel guides, fiction, non-fiction, features journalism. Also literary editing.

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 13:13:49

I'm in the same boat as you. My mother has had a couple of books published in her field, one for her historical interest and is currently writing a children's book, so she inspired me to give it a go. I am in the begining of the book though- a thriller/romance that I decided to set in the country we now live in- so I seem to spend most of my time researching things rather than actually writing. That's partly because I'm a perfectionist for accuracy. I also have moderate dyslexia so it makes for an extra challange. I do know one other person who got a book published but she seemed to pay quite a lot for that to happen and is still employed in her main job even though she is on her second book.
Stars how you have ANY time to write is amazing? You have me intrigued about your country as we are both on the same continent, making a living from the same thing (although actually DH is the rancher, I know didly about farming and work in town). grin

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 13:26:25

I'mlookingatboats not quite I'm afraid, I do love my life, but it hasn't been an easy path here and I'm currently banned from riding as I've had more major surgery recently, so am supposed to be resting, boring as it is smile.

saltedcaramel thanks, and we're in Argentina.

tomato thanks, we're in Argentina but wee have some holdings and investments in Brazil too. I'm very ill at the moment with cancer which isn't responding to surgery or treatment, and the prognosis isn't great, so writing is an escape for me, a way of keeping my mind in order so that I can function during the day and still be upbeat and positive. The insomnia ia very bad, I rarely get more than three hours sleep a night, and writing occupies my mind so that I dont spend that time lying in bed worrying or wallowing in self pity.

We're the opposite way around grin I do the overall management and DH is the assistant foreman, we have a great foreman who's teaching him a lot, and DH has taken to it like a duck to water.

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 13:41:18

Glad you're are managing to stay postive, I guess South American lifestyle can help with that a little and being closer to nature, it must be hard. flowers

You're in proper Gaúcho country, we're in Brasilian southeast, do you produce wine? We're toying with the idea. I don't do any management and we only stay on the farm at the weekends (DH commutes) but it is a great lifestyle, just not as exciting and glam as it sounds though is it?

-- sorry to derail the you were!

Romanceauthor Thu 30-Jul-15 13:41:30

I do! I write romance for M&B. It can be hard to find time - I have 4 kids and lots of other stuff to do, but I set myself a word count and stick to it. You find the time if you're serious about it.

squoosh Thu 30-Jul-15 13:45:18

I've often wondered how long it takes a M&B writer to write one of their books Romanceauthor?

kungfupannda Thu 30-Jul-15 13:52:01

I do. Non-fiction for magazines, and some short fiction. I'm on novel number three after near-misses with one and two.

I find that the novel writing is fairly all-encompassing. If I have spare time and I'm not sitting down writing, I get twitchy.

I think with a first draft you just have to keep ploughing on, no matter how crap you think you're being, because once you've got the words down, and the very rough plot in place, then you know where you're trying to get to.

I read quite a good blog post (can't remember where) about the purposes of different drafts/edits. The first one is unlikely to be anything other than writing yourself into the story and the characters. Then there's a plot/structural edit, and then one focusing on characters, and so on. The last one was the language/fine-tuning edit. It didn't entirely correspond with the way I edit, but I certainly recognised some of the processes, and thinking about it that way might take the pressure off the first draft.

I'm at the bleeurghing words out stage at the moment. I've managed to resist the urge to go back and make changes so far. I'm just making notes of things that need to be reworked, and ideas that I've refined. It goes against my natural instinct, as I usually get bogged down in editing as I go, but it means I've almost finished a first draft in less than three months. Now I just need to worry about the fact that it's coming in at about 50,000 words longer than I told my agent it was going to be...

StarsInTheNightSky Thu 30-Jul-15 13:54:53

Thanks tomato it does, it helps massively, it feels like a much simpler way of life, which is very freeing. We live on the ranch full time, and its extremely remote where we are, but we love it. Nope it certainly isn't! My best friend came out to stay with us recently, I think she was expecting it to be a bit like Romancing The Stone, she got a bit of a shock! I felt pretty bad but I did try to warn her.
Yes we do produce wine, we're hoping to expand that side of the business again this year, last year we scaled it up a lot but its still in its infancy commercially speaking.

blondegirl73 Thu 30-Jul-15 13:59:22

I'm a staff writer on a magazine, and I have just finished my sixth novel. I write my stuff on my commute, at evenings and at weekends. It's very hard to fit it all in - I have kids though they're both school age now - and I'm aiming to be able to write novels full time one day. Hopefully by the end of the year.

My approach is very similar to Kungfupannda's. I start at the beginning and just plough on. I never stop to edit but just make notes about what to change or other ideas. I think of it as building a skeleton and then fleshing it out on the second draft.

I also find novel-writing consumes me. I'm not writing anything at the moment - I've done a lot this year and it's worn me out so I'm having a break. But I also get twitchy when I'm not writing. Have started thinking about trying to write a script next...

tomatodizzymum Thu 30-Jul-15 14:07:23

I've had guests with the same burst bubbles, mainly that our cowboys were not quite what my friend had in mind wink

We're very remote too, when I say town I mean that in a very loose sense, it's still a good 4 hour trip to a cinema or shopping mall and 10 hours drive to anything that could be described as a major city. I like it that way though, simple and very freeing! I would say you are in the best place, not biased or anything, obviously!

dontrunwithscissors Thu 30-Jul-15 14:09:33

I don't exactly write for a living--I'm an academic (historian), which involves a good chunk of writing up research. It's obviously different to writing fiction, but I have one book published and I'm currently writing my second. I've found routine is everything. I've also found that I have to be in the right environment to be productive--I can't just sit in any old room/place and write. A do my best work sat in a coffee shop with earphones in. I think it's because I find it difficult to get into 'work mode' at home. I need a physical distance between the two. Of course, I also have an office at work, but I tend to do my other stuff (admin, teaching prep) there.

kungfupannda Thu 30-Jul-15 14:17:49

But I also get twitchy when I'm not writing. Have started thinking about trying to write a script next

I've got what I think is a great idea for a script, but I'm trying to ignore it until I get this novel finished. I also have no clue what I'm doing where script-writing's concerned.

EeekEeekEeekEeek Thu 30-Jul-15 14:47:24

I can't say I write 'for a living', but I've had a few short stories published in anthologies and magazines. The aim has always been to build a portfolio with a view to getting a novel published. I've just had my first child and I have to say I'm despairing about how I'm ever going to achieve that. Having said that, I've started writing short comic pieces for a friend's blog recently, and just realising that I can still knock out a little finished piece a week has made me feel so much better.

I'm interested to read about those who are writing whilst raising kids. It seems so out of reach for me right now that it gets me down sometimes . .

pinkdelight Thu 30-Jul-15 14:50:20

I started doing prose but loved switching to scripts as you can cut out all the shit... uh... I mean all the lovely description, and just get on with it! smile

Seriously though, it's a very different form so best to read a lot of scripts and maybe some of the better books - McKee's 'Story', Snyder's 'Save the Cat', and anything by William Goldman.

There's a lot more redrafting too with scripts. Ever bugger gives you notes, from the Execs to the interns! Certainly in film and telly there's less sense of having any power/respect as a writer. In theatre, more like books, no one will change a comma without checking with you, but for the forms with more money/jobs at stake, you have to take a lot of shit and suck it up.

If you want to keep control of your story, you're probably best sticking to novels. But then again, when it works out well, there's nothing like seeing your characters come to life.

Romanceauthor Thu 30-Jul-15 15:11:16

Hey Squoosh. It really depends. They're 50,000 words give or take, depending upon which line you write for. The shortest time it took me was ten days. I did 5k words a day and just zoomed through it. The story was just there, at my fingertips and I was really lucky with that. Now, doing a first draft, I aim for 2.5k words a day and a few extra days for tweaking and redrafting and I can get one done in a month. But it never works out like that, because once you've sent it in and your ed looks it over, she sends it back with revisions which can take another couple of weeks and even when it's been accepted for publication, you get line edits and author amendments to do and you can still be tweaking a book months after you finished it and whilst you're working on another.

Fatmomma99 Thu 30-Jul-15 15:19:50

I can't tell you that, RitaKiaOra, it would 'out' me [shocked]

But it's pretty trashy (we're still v proud).

I'm really impressed and in awe of all of you who write.

Has anyone ever read Barbara Trapido? There's a dedication in one of her books (thinks it's "Brother of the More Famous Jack", but could be wrong) where she says she writes at night while her children are asleep.

AmazonsForEver Thu 30-Jul-15 15:53:48

Has anyone read Night Waking by Sarah Moss? She writes all night when her children are asleep (I don't recommend it!). I think Sarah Moss is probably a MNer, she has the temperament!

RitaKiaOra Thu 30-Jul-15 16:05:41

No worries momma trashy is fine wink Barbara Trapido was recomkended to me years ago. What should I start with?
OP I was only teasing you about the Fiction section. smile Lots of luck with your writing shamrock I, too, am in awe of anyone getting anything done ever [bad SAHM day today, baby has daubed himself in indelible pen. He is very proud of his work].

RedDaisyRed Thu 30-Jul-15 16:16:03

I might hold a mumsnet record for number of books - 30 law books+. I also write a lot of other paid things (on law) and own some publications (small publishing business). It all links to my law firm and speaking work too.

squoosh Thu 30-Jul-15 16:22:38

Thanks Romance, that's really interesting. 2.5k words per day is a lot even without 4 kids vying for your attention! You must be so disciplined.

TwistInMySobriety Thu 30-Jul-15 16:22:53

Sorry reddaisy, I have about a hundred publications to my name all told... Niche sector, not fiction.

squishyeyeballs Thu 30-Jul-15 18:49:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AmazonsForEver Thu 30-Jul-15 23:33:16

No! smile I just liked her books. I would have been proud to have written them myself.

PomBearWithAnOFRS Fri 31-Jul-15 00:57:48

Mrs Pete Bevan is on here somewhere - pssst wink Mrs. B - could you just give him a nudge and tell him to Get On With It and write some more please? grin
Give him a nice blowjob massage or something and tell him he has a fans waiting agog grin
<Ends total thread hijack and sidles out whistling innocently>

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