The Joy of Full-Time Writing

By Thorne & Cross

Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross book covers

We commute from our beds to our offices without burning gas or having to dress to impress anyone but our kitties. We have “water cooler” talk over Skype and morning beverages; a bit of gossip, reviews of last night’s movies, and bitching about getting up so early to get to work. Then we spend about ten minutes checking our social sites, followed by half an hour on marketing and radio. Then we go to our desks in the Cloud and get to the good stuff: writing. It’s what gives us the discipline to get up early even though we both really hate mornings.

Usually, all goes well, but not always. On days we just aren’t feeling it, we often go deep into research. But most days, we write so hard that one minute it’s 8 am and the next it’s 6 pm. And once in a while – very rarely because discipline is at the heart of what we are doing – we give ourselves a day off. If one of us takes it off, so does the other: the office is closed. And that’s the way we like it.

Unless we’re on a major writing jag – one of those times when time goes by unnoticed and lunch is entirely forgotten – we do take breaks. There’s a ten-minute one where we visit social sites in the afternoon, but the ones that we love – and need – are our other water cooler moments. It’s about laughing, getting those happy chemicals pumping through the brain. It’s about relaxing. We play games, tell jokes, and misbehave. One of the joys of our collaboration – the reason we write together in our office in the Cloud even when we’re doing our solo work – is that we energize one another. We make each other laugh.

And rules are important: no outside drama can touch us; no psychic vampires are allowed. What is allowed is laughter and jokes and merriment. And work. Lots and lots of work. It feels good. For instance, before the first airing of our horror-themed radio show, Haunted Nights LIVE!, last November, we found ourselves a little anxious, so we made up a new game we call Bad Libs, wherein we take a section of one of our works and remove and replace words in the grand Mad-Libs tradition.

We’re both aware of how fortunate we are. But we also know we’ve worked very hard for it, six – and sometimes seven – days a week, eight to twelve hours a day for over two years. In 2014 alone, we completed two novels as well as turned out four installments – nearly 200 pages – in our serialized gothic tale, The Ghosts of Ravencrest. And the hard work has paid off, allowing us both to contribute significantly to our household budgets enough to write full-time.

You almost always start out having to juggle family, writing, and a full-time job, but if you’re consistent, determined, and writing is your priority, you’ll get to where you want to be. That’s the thing: if you want to be a full-time writer, you have to earn it. No excuses. Writing comes first: it is a job, not a hobby. We don’t let anyone interrupt our writing time and, you know what? Only when you take yourself and your work this seriously, will anyone else give your work the respect it deserves.

In 2015, our intent is to complete more collaborations, solo projects, and to continue our regular installments of Ravencrest. We have no doubt we will do this because we don’t allow for failure.

It is an undeniable fact that becoming a full-time writer takes a lot of hard work and ambition but if you want something bad enough, and your intent is unshakable, it can be done. We’re proof.

So ask yourself these questions:

  • What is your ambition?
  • What is your intent?
  • Are you in it for the long haul or do you expect to become J. K. Rowling or Stephen King overnight or in a few years?