I recently wrote about my figures concerning how many hours I could spend on a 5000-word story in order to make writing worth the time. If you'll remember, I had arrived at the conclusion that if I spent 25 hours on a 5000-word story, I needed to sell it for $0.05 per word to make $10 an hour.
I was counting that as hours spent in writing and re-writing, editing and polishing. I can easily measure them. Have I opened this file? Start the timer. Moving on to something else? Stop the timer.
It's not so easy to measure research, time spent submitting, and all the other stuff that comes with the territory of being a fiction writer. That's because you don't know how many times you'll have to submit any particular story. If you spend 24 hours writing a story, are you going to stop submitting after you've spent an hour checking on guidelines and stuff? No, I don't think so. That would be 25 hours spent making $0 per hour. No, keep submitting, even dipping a bit below that $0.05 per word, because $7 or even $5 an hour is better than $0 an hour, right? So I won't count the time I spend submitting.
And research – how could I possibly count the time spent on that? For one thing, it is seldom research for the benefit of only one story; the facts I discover about the Jupiter moon could easily be used in any number of stories, not just the one I'm currently working on. And there's the science reading I do in hopes of finding something that I might use, someday. Some of what I read might be useful tomorrow, or next year, or never. Or all of them. To what story would I 'charge' that time?
So, when I talk about how much time I can spend on a story, I'm talking about the actual writing stage. The Befores and Afters will just have to count as 'hobbies'. Everybody should have some hobbies.
See ya next week. Trudy