Thursday, May 11, 2017

Write Like a Job

Putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) is daunting. Even when you are brimming full of ideas, getting past the initial block of 'starting' is difficult. Unfortunately, if you want to get your novel published, you are going to have to push through this. If you want writing to be your job, you need to treat it like a job.

This means blocking out time for it every day. Maybe it is only a half hour, but get something down, day after day, and eventually you'll have a book. 

Sure, you aren't getting paid peanuts now, and you'll probably only get a little more than peanuts once you start publishing. Indeed, there are few jobs with so little immediate reward and equally low chance of future rewards as writing. But, if you want to have a chance of getting peanuts (and maybe jelly and bread too), you have to make the decision to treat writing like a job and put in the time, even when you don't feel like it.

With my headaches and fibromyalgia brain fog, it can often be really, really difficult for me to write. Rather than set a weekly goal for myself, I've set a monthly one. My minimum writing goal for each month is 4,000 words. As long as I'm achieving that, I know that I'm moving forward with my writing project. Since I can write 1000 words in an hour when I'm going good, this gives me plenty of wiggle room, even if 3/4th of my month is blacked out with health issues.

But that's just the minimum! I set a bare minimum so that I would have the psychological boost of knowing that I was moving forward. My actual 'strive for it' goal is to write 10k a month. Even that is a fairly modest goal by most standards, but it is sufficient to manage a complete draft of a novel a year, with the reasonable expectation of publishing a new book every two years. 

Of course, to succeed as an indie author, I do ideally need to be coming out with at least one novel a year. And this is still compatible with the 10k goal because of how drafts cycle out to readers and editors. I can get writing on the next book while the current book is being reviewed and polished. 

In the end the difference between a writer and a published writer is really the work. If you have even an ounce of talent, you can put in the effort and hone it into becoming a published creator. 

So here's my challenge for you. Set yourself a minimum writing goal for the week or month, and then set a higher goal as well. Secondly, make the time to write at least three days a week. Since it is my job, I always take Sundays off, and rarely write on Saturdays. I've actually found that giving myself the weekend off encourages me to be more proactive about writing M-F. 

More Writing Posts:

A look at my page "On Good Writing" reveals that I've written on this topic before--a lot. Apparently, I believe it is important...

1 comment:

AnneMarie said...

Thank you for this post! The timing is ironic and providential, because earlier today I read an e-mail about a blogger I follow who announced the coming publication of her first book, and I thought, "Yeah, I'd love write a book even just for my own personal enjoyment without being published someday," and lately I've been thinking of a short story I started writing in college that I never finished. So I really, really appreciate this concrete challenge, because I ALWAYS find excuses to not work on writing projects. I'm going to work on drawing up some concrete goals today-I love your idea of "Monthly goal" instead of daily or weekly, that seems a lot more approachable, especially to someone who spends the majority of her time chasing after a very active 11 month old :)