Hello! Thank you for stopping by and spending a little time with me, Caitlin Ricci. Today I’d like to talk a little about some of the things I’ve learned since quitting my job and becoming a full-time author.
Since quitting my job to write full-time in October 2012 I’ve learned a bit and made some mistakes. The biggest thing that I did right though was to make writing a priority in my life. It became more than a habit, more than a need. It wasn’t something that I picked up when I had a quiet moment. When I quit writing became, and still is, something that I set aside time for. It is the hardest job I’ve ever had because it takes the most self motivation that I’ve ever pulled from myself.
Making a schedule helps and so do deadlines. I learned that early on. Saying I’m going to finish a 60k novel in three months is nice but I’m a procrastinator and I know what I’m actually capable of. 60k in a month is extremely possible for me and so that’s what I give myself. I reward myself when I hit those goals and I don’t punish myself when I don’t meet them. That’s what I have Write or Die in my life for.
It also works, for me at least, to have a mix of projects going on at once. I get distracted even with my motivators around so it helps to have something to jump between when characters stop talking as they sometimes do. No one is allowed to go dark for too long but I have days where a couple want a day off. That’s fine. I’ve got other couples that are screaming for attention. Having a short story paired with a novel helps me make sure that both get accomplished in a given month. 70k might seem like a lot in a month, and it is. But each time I’ve set a limit I’ve found a way to break through it and so I keep upping it. When I first quit my job the goal was 30k in a month. I was ten days into the month and done with that goal so that was clearly not the mark for me.
After a little over a year of this plan writing is now something I need. I write Monday through Friday from seven in the morning to five at night. I write for forty-five minutes each hour and take fifteen minute breaks for food, laundry, and letting my dogs outside. I get rewards though because I have a minimum that I have to write each day to stay on target and when I hit that mark I get the rest of the day off. I get to watch Sherlock. I read a book. I lay down on the bed and let my dogs attack me with kisses and then we hang out to watch Judge Judy.
It seems simple now, one little switch in how I thought about what priorities I wanted out of life. I was tired of my job, of co-workers that thought announcing they were going away for the winter holidays two weeks before Chistmas was okay, and of a boss that jokingly asked why people kept dying around me when a friend was murdered. I wanted to reach across the desk and strangle him with his ugly yellow tie.
And so I quit. I was happier instantly. Dinner was done every night. Cleaning the house still isn’t that much of a priority to me but having dinner ready I guess makes up for it. Also I suck at doing laundry. Its one of the things I’m working on.
But changing my priorities made me realize how simple it would be to make other things in my life work out more. It doesn’t take a lot to make change and I started implementing that idea in small ways. It didn’t have to be giant sweeping changes. I still bite my nails and there’s no way I’m giving up my dark chocolate. But deciding my priorities in life made me realize that certain things didn’t have to be. Relationships that didn’t work didn’t need to be continued. I didn’t have to keep trying for no reason on something that was going no where. It was enlightening and it was freeing. I’m still working on my priorities but changing one allowed me to realize that I could change others and from there things started to work out better. I’m not saying run out and quit right now. But maybe look at what is working in your life and what isn’t. What are you hanging onto that is taking up time and keeping you from doing what you really want to be?
Thank you for hanging out with me today. My latest novel, Rescuing Jack, is available now from Dreamspinner Press. I’m excited because this is my first novel with them but also because these characters are ones that really stood up and grabbed my attention right away. I knew I had to write about them and in a short amount of time this novel came to be.
I’d love to know what you thought of it. Feel free to email me at email@example.com or visit me online at www.caitlinricci.com.
Werewolves are real. Marius enjoys the irony that everyone calls him a dog whisperer, not just because he’s a werewolf, but for his work at the local animal shelter. He has a unique talent for pairing families with their perfect pets upon first meeting them. But he’s still looking for acceptance and a forever family of his own. Then Jack comes into the rescue looking for a big, mean dog. To prevent Jack from making the wrong choice, Marius convinces him to adopt a needy spaniel mix instead. But when Marius learns Jack is tormented by horrible memories while at his apartment, he opens his home to the sweet, scared man. As their relationship grows, Jack feels comfortable telling Marius about the horrors he suffered. Marius hopes his steady presence, protection, and love can help Jack reclaim the pieces of himself broken on that terrible night.