I have a confession to make. I’m a big-fat-liar. I’m probably the reason so many people seem to think I have an easy, glamorous life as a writer.
Yes, it’s true. I’m constantly posting crap to Facebook that would make most people think I don’t have a real job.
Let’s just use this past week as an example.
Once a month I go have lunch with a friend of mine. Yesterday was our lunch day. After a one and a half hour lunch, my friend and I splurged and wandered over to the German bakery to buy pastries. Yes, people on Facebook saw us check in at the restaurant and later, check in at the bakery. They also saw the pictures and video of the cats I posted.
I also mentioned, in passing, that it was a payroll week at the day job, that I’d done my quarterly taxes, and that I loved Quickbooks.
On my public Facebook this past week, people saw me post some memes, links to my books and blog posts, and I made plenty of random comments about word counts, editing, and coffee. Like usual.
So I can see where people think I spend my days screwing off. After all, writing isn’t *real* work. In order for something to qualify as real work, it must invariably suck [while you’re doing it] – right? I never post about the sucky bits, and therefore they don’t exist to my reading audience.
However, there was a LOT that I didn’t share on my Facebook(s). Like how many hours I’ve actually spent marking up the hard-copy of the manuscript I’m working on. I didn’t just go over it once. No. I’ve been over the damn thing two or three times. I didn’t really post to indicate that I actually had to enter the receipts and expenses into my accounting program to calculate my quarterly taxes, or that it took me about two hours. I simply shared, with close family and friends, that I was finally caught up and finished with quarterly taxes. I never told anyone how I spent two hours answering all the email my assistant put in my “answer” folder. They were completely unaware that I spoke with potential guest bloggers and advertisers, and that several long back and forth e-mail conversations between myself and editors, illustrators, and cover artists happened this past week.
They didn’t realize that aside from having lunch with my friend, I had to run several errands that afternoon because, despite not having kids and not having to go to the p/t day job, I still have a family and home to take care of. (Hey, the cats and husband count as family!) No, I didn’t check in at the post office, the bank, or the store. Just like I don’t usually check in at the dentist or doctor, or the day job. As a matter of fact, the only time I mention the day job is when I’m whining to family and friends about payroll or my lack of writing days.
I do talk about going to the gym as if it’s some luxury, whereas the truth is that the hours I spend sitting in front of the computer makes my legs hurt – bad. I go to the gym because my mom needed a gym partner, and regular exercise helps alleviate that abnormal pain in my legs, which is likely the first warning of varicose veins or worse – deep vein thrombosis.
The people on my Facebook never see me agonize over sentences and paragraphs. They don’t realize how many sleepless nights are given over to characters and stories unless I mention it. You would never know, by reading my FB, that right now I’m the sole provider for our household. My writing income is my family’s survival at the moment. I keep a day job, which I call part-time, but the government still considers full time, so we can have affordable health insurance.
I rarely share with readers and friends the stress I feel watching my sales numbers fluctuate from month to month, wondering if I will have to go back to the 60+ hour a week, stressful day job that gave me permanent heart-burn, heart palpitations and migraines. They don’t realize that in order to keep my head above water financially — I actually spend 60+ hours a week writing, marketing, editing, formatting etc… And all that time they see me spending on my public FB – most of that’s PR. They don’t realize that those few minutes everyday I spend playing Farmville 2 are decompression breaks.
Yes – I’m not lying when I brag that I get to go to work in my pajamas. Yes, I can have lunch with a friend or my husband in the middle of the day in the middle of a week. Sure – I take silly pictures of my cats and my plants and post them to Facebook. That’s what people see. That’s what I want them to see. They see snippets of all the wonderful parts of this writer’s life.
I admittedly keep the unpleasant, hard work bits to myself because no one wants to hear how I scoured the web for over an hour to find a market for a short story I just wrote, in hopes for a pro-rate sale. Or that the iPad version of Training Amy that they’re reading took me an additional 20 hours to re-edit and re-format just so iTunes would accept it. I am certainly not going to brag how marking up my latest work-in-progress has taken 30+ hours, nor that I’m only half-way through the manuscript. Never mind that I still have to make the changes and format the manuscript three different ways to make sure it will be out by the end of April. Or that I’ll likely have to sacrifice sleep and time with family and friends to make it happen.
I am guilty of not being truthful with all of you, and for that I apologize. It was the only way I could try to lure you all into a false sense of security, get you to quit your day jobs, and become writers, so you could have a fantastic, carefree life like mine. Now that the jig is up I imagine none of you will drink the Kool-aid, but that’s okay. Writing really isn’t for everyone. Perhaps I should start interjecting more reality into my Facebook.
For my writing friends – Do you have friends who think you’re screwing off all day? Do they tell you, “Have a nice day off!” when you take a writing day? If so, you could be a liar, too. 😉