For a long time, the ideal of Being A Full-Time Writer shone in my head with a gem-like flame. And honestly, it still does to some extent. I dream of publishing more frequently, fear that my readers will forget me between books, lust for the writing time I think would suddenly stretch out before me If Only.
But the more “full-time writers” I know, the more I think that the term itself is problematic, reflective of the reductionist binary thinking that leads to declaring people “straight OR gay,” “working parents OR stay-at-home parents,” etc.
I have discovered, as a non-full-time-writer-with-a-lot-of-full-time-writer-friends, the things full-time writers do besides writing include but are not limited to:
Searching for freelance assignments
Judging writing awards (which involves staggering amounts of reading)
Attending and presenting at conferences
Presenting at schools
Maintaining a social media presence
Managing the small business that is themselves (entering receipts, researching insurance options, meeting with accountants, worrying about paying bills, etc.)
Being a parent
Being a partner
Being a caretaker for ill family members and friends
Being a friend
Being involved in their communities (volunteering, serving on nonprofit boards, participating in religious communities, working on political campaigns, etc.)
Getting to the gym finally dammit
In sum: even the most pampered, privileged full-time writer, whose partner and/or staff handles all vexing household tasks, does not write every waking hour. Everyone balances writing with other parts of their lives. Those of us who keep the roof over our heads with other careers just manage that balance differently.