Is there finite number of words that each writer can produce—within each week or month or lifetime? Some writers seem prolific no matter what, but for myself, I think I have periodic limits. Last year, I worked about the same number of non-novel (meaning, paid) hours as I have this year, and yet I still managed to write a novel and a half. This year, my novel word count has tapered off drastically, and I’m even blogging less too. Why?
Last year I was mostly doing editing for a living. This year I’m mostly writing for the newspaper. Conclusion: The paper is getting my writing juice, the bulk of my words. And apparently, the supply is limited. My husband would argue that only applies to written, not spoken, output.
This is an odd predicament to be in. In many ways, the newspaper position is the perfect part-time job. All I have to do is write feature stories, which I enjoy. No other responsibilities, and a dependable pay check. It’s an easy, fun job. How can I complain?
But I need to write novels. Excuse me, I should have said, I need to write novels. It’s not about what I should be doing. It’s what I must do, if I want to be truly happy.
Meanwhile, I’m putting in more hours than usual at the paper (because they fired the Dash editor) and struggling to work on my novel every morning before work and on weekends. Blogging will continue to get the short end, and I have to make peace with that. I only have so many words.
Do other writers have this issue? Is working in non-writing fields actually better for your novels?