It's difficult to get family and friends to take writing seriously as “work” when you're not getting paid. Never mind that the IRS counts your expenses as business costs as long as you can show that you're seriously pursuing a career in writing.
Staring off into space while sitting on the recliner with my computer in my lap doesn't look like work, even though in my head my characters are running for their lives from a drug dealer with a gun, or locked in a battle of wills. Or locking lips.
Writing at all hours of the day and night, interspersed with errands, work outs, and reading doesn't look like work, even though I may spend more hours working on my book than I used to spend at work.
Reading blogs, socializing on Twitter, and lunching with other writers doesn't look like work, even though I'm learning new things about my craft, networking, and brainstorming about my plot.
I recently sprung the following analogy on my husband:
Being a new writer is like starting a new business. You print the business cards, furnish an office, create a web page, and open for business. That doesn't mean people are knocking down your door ready to hire you. It takes time to cultivate contacts and make a name for yourself in the business. People you market to today may not hire you for months or even years. If you're going to be successful as an entrepreneur you have to take the long view.
Writing is like that, but the view is longer. Most authors wait 3-12 years to get published. All the while, they are working on their craft, networking and learning the business, submitting their work and getting feedback. With enough effort and patience, maybe one of those editors or agents they connected with will give them the call.
The jury is out on whether my husband agreed with the analogy, but he hasn't taken back my writing fund or demanded that I get a “real job”, so I think I'm good for now. 😉
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