Well, today was my first day as a writer.
I mean, as a writer to the exclusion of everything else.
It's not entirely easy being a writer in Africa. I'm currently sitting here in the dark, and yesterday I had no electricity for so long my laptop battery ran out and all the ice-cream in the fridge melted. I can live without ice-cream, but it's hard to write a novel without a computer.
How has my life changed now that I've decided to admit that I am a writer rather than a development consultant?
Well, main changes include:
- Turning off my phone and telling my friends not to expect me to answer if they call in the mornings. I've always been a night owl, so I accept that I get up late, drink coffee, and start work when most people have been at work for several hours. My phone, and social media, goes on once I hit my writing target, not before.
- I'm doing my own housework. You may scoff at this, but when you live without washing machines, hoovers and other household appliances, a full-time worker enlists help to get the chores done. As I now don't have a full-time job, and writing is an exceedingly sedentary profession, I need to do the housework to get some exercise. And stamping on laundry in a large bowl of suds does take a lot of energy.
- I'm panic-meeting with people I think might have writing-related work. I've set up an editing service (which I'll start advertising this week), I'm in talks about running a creative writing night class at a local college, and generally arranging to meet publishers and creatives to see what's going on in an industry I haven't been a part of before. One positive sign is that Rwanda's Immigration department lists Author on their Occupations in Demand List (ODL) - so I'm trying to find out what sort of authors, and in demand by whom, in the hopes there might be some work out there.
Most of all - I've been writing.
I polished off 3k today to push myself over the 50,000 mark on Secret Order, my first attempt at a trilogy. Well, the first book of my first attempt at a trilogy.
It's been tough going. I think I may have introduced too many characters (but then I think about R. R. Martin and realise I can always kill most of them off). I'm still not entirely sure where it's all going, even at this stage, and I'm sort of hoping it'll magically all come together soon-ish. But, one step at a time - I am writing, and that's the important thing.
The Children of Lir isn't even in edit with its publisher yet, so as an author of fiction, you always have to be looking a year ahead. What I write now is unlikely to bear fruit for at least twelve months. But if I don't sow any seeds, I'll reap no harvest.