A big part of why I get to be a full-time writer

I am very lucky.

I live and write from my RV. I get to travel the country. I write books, novellas and short stories. Modern technology allows me to also work a part-time job as a ghostwriter and biographer, all from the comfort of my traveling home.

None of this would be possible if it weren’t for my wife, Sarah.

Yes, I work very hard. I am diligent about my writing. I stick to a tight schedule. I produce. I continually churn up new ideas. But there are many things I don’t ordinarily do. Sure, I help out, but Sarah does the majority of the not-so-fun stuff. Here is just a short list of the effort she puts in:

  • accounting
  • bill paying
  • laundry
  • dishes
  • meal planning
  • cooking
  • travel route planning
  • campground reservations
  • general straightening up

This is not a gender-role issue. Sarah simply does everything she can to help out. You see, it’s not easy living with a writer. We forget most everything that does not directly involve whatever it is we happen to be writing, our minds are often elsewhere (well, nearly always), and we work ridiculous hours. When I am knee-deep in a writing project (which is nearly all the time), it’s not uncommon for me to literally not stop typing for ten hours straight. The entire day flies right past me.

Could you imagine if Sarah chose not to do the things she does?

It’s not that I’m a slob. I’m not, really. I just don’t like to interrupt the mojo when it’s flowing. Which makes it miserable for others around me. I see no reason to stop and tidy up when I’m just going to be sitting on my butt in the same spot anyway. Those dishes can wait. I can always straighten up later. Laundry? Pffft. I haven’t changed my clothes in days. (TMI?) Not to mention the fact that when I get into my very long flow states, I simply ignore practically the entire aforementioned list. Come to think of it, I’m kind of a jerk!

The truth of the matter is my wife is my partner in this all. She works far harder than I do, and I am infinitely thankful. If it weren’t for her, I would not be able to keep up the hectic writing schedule I maintain. I simply would not be able to produce the way I do. And no bills would get paid, I would get lost all the time, and I would starve.

I’m joking, of course. I wouldn’t starve, some laundry might get done, and the bills would (eventually) get paid. But I would have far less time than is desirable to devote to writing, much of which is spent simply sitting and thinking for hours on end. (Truthfully, if you actually watched the writing process you would be bored to tears, which I’m sure is why there are no reality shows featuring a writer.)

A balance. Often imbalanced. Often much heavier on one side.

I am very lucky. indeed.

Writing from the Road

I’ve been promising more info on just how we got started in our RV travels.

As you may recall, in the summer of 2015 my father passed away. A few months later, Sarah and I were both laid off (two different companies). We had to economize. We had to cut back. We needed a cheaper lifestyle, and living in an RV became the answer.

But, how can you live in your RV? Is that even possible?

As we found out, YES, it absolutely is possible. But it required A LOT of cutting back, and a lot of getting used to not having many modern conveniences we all take for granted.

A Much Smaller Space

I’ve owned big homes and small homes. I’ve lived in apartments. Apartments in Portland are very expensive. Our last apartment was just under 1,000 square feet. Small. One bedroom. Very tiny kitchen. We got used to it.

The floor space in our RV is around 200 square feet. That’s smaller than most bedrooms. In this space is a bed, a kitchen, a sofa (now two chairs), and a bathroom the size of a phone booth.

That’s it.

It took months to get used to this. Simply moving around became a carefully orchestrated ballet. Move too much in the wrong direction and you knock each other over. On top of this, things move. All the time. An RV is never truly stable.

You really start to learn about movement–why am I standing up right now? Should I pour myself a drink and get a snack before I sit down?

What, You Again?

Another thing you have to come to terms with is privacy. If you are traveling with a companion, you are going to be seeing that person a lot. A lot. A LOT. That other person never goes away. It’s not that I would ever want Sarah to go away, but you really begin to value “alone time.” In fact, you learn to accept a bare minimum of what alone time truly is. In our RV, a curtain divides the back (where the bed is) from the front (where the chairs are). When we feel the desire to impart some distance between one another, we use the curtain to create two little rooms. It works.

Cramped Quarters

One other factor of living in such a small space is physical exercise. Trust me on this one. You need to keep moving. I simply had no idea how much I actually did move around when I lived in a house or apartment, even when I assumed I was not. When you live in 200 square feet you feel it. As does your back. We learned very early on that we simply must get outside from time to time, to take walks, to stretch and do yoga, to lift weights.

So… why do it?

Which brings me full circle to the very point of living in an RV in the first place. You get to travel! You get to see new things, explore new cities, meet new people. Surprisingly, this takes a little effort. I’ll get into this in my next post.

Anyhow, cheers! Talk to you soon.

TF

 

About Ted Fauster

2 Responses to A big part of why I get to be a full-time writer

  1. Well said! We writers are absolute monsters. I can’t help but think of all the houseplants I’ve murdered by neglect over the years. Murdered! 🙂

    By the way, I’ve been watching your travels (travails?) with great interest. My partner and I are in the thick of building out a conversion van from scratch. Plan is to set me up with a mobile writing station, ’cause I always seem to do so much better whenever I’m “Out There”. A restless writer, I guess. Also, we both love the outdoors so much. We’ll see. Our pad will be a little smaller than yours (a lot smaller).

    Thanks for the inspiration! And definitely three cheers for the fantastic partners in our lives who look out for us (and for our plants).

    • Profile Cover Art

      That’s the spirit! There are SO many folks out there in camper vans, an entire community. You’ll come to find Class A, B and C types of RVs (including camper vans) all stick together. The very best of luck to you and your partner. Adventure awaits!

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