Friday, March 18, 2016

Authoring is hard work

This whole treating my writing like a serious career choice is not child's play.

If you're a regular reader here, then you know one of my goals for 2016 is to treat the act of writing more like a career. That means butt in the chair even when I don't feel like and getting the words out faster than one novel a year.

And because life is big on teaching lessons, my world went nuts over the past few months.

My relatives, who arrived in the middle of December for a few week visit ended up staying two months. That's right. Two months. And it wasn't a relaxing visit since the reason for their extended stay was a serious medical emergency. It was scary, and draining and not at all conducive to writing. Everything is fine now, but it wasn't for a long time.

I've also been in the middle of a move. We bought a house. We were supposed to close right before Christmas. We didn't. We moved a month later. Smack dab in the middle of this medical emergency. After all of our relatives who were going to help with the move went back home. As I type this, I am surrounded by unopened boxes and tubs of possessions I didn't even know we owned. We had a new roof put on, which resulted in someone stepping through the ceiling and requiring additional work. We painted every room in the house. We had plumbing work done and gas lines installed, and we're not even close to being done. Today, we have a new plumber because there is a crack in our sewer line. Yeah fun.

In addition to all of this, I was in a theater performance I auditioned for way back in early December when my calendar didn't look so crazy. It was immensely fun, but performance have a tendency to drain my physical and creative energy. It was a three week performance run.

Yet, even with all of that in addition to the normal tasks that life throws at us, I wrote the first draft for Rite of Redemption in January and February.

Woohoo! Fire the confetti cannon!

I don't tell you all of this to brag or ask for sympathy, but I do hope to prove a point.

We each have curve balls that life throws at us. So it's easy to say that everything is too crazy right now to work on that novel. I'll get to it when life has settled down. But the reality is that life never really settles down. There will always be something that comes up. An unexpected event that can easily become an excuse to not do the writing.

But if we want to be authors, who do this for real, and make real money (yes, I said it, I like making money from my books), we have to ignore the excuses.


I have a deadline for when I need to finish this book if I want to have it ready for a June release. And that means I have to write. Even when I don't feel like it. Especially when I don't feel like it. For me, this meant handling all of the rest of life during the day, and writing when the world around me slept.

It means that even when I'm staring at a to-do list a mile long and everything shows a priority of "should have been done yesterday", I have to carve out time to write. It means other things have to be pushed to the side. It means putting writing on your to-do list and not letting it get pushed off for everything else..

If that sounds awful too you, then maybe this isn't the career path for you. That doesn't mean you can't write. Write as much, or as little as you want. But don't expect that writing on a "when the moment strikes me and my calendar is clear" kind of schedule will lead to a steady income and a film deal. Even authors who commit hard core aren't guaranteed success.

But if being an author is what you really want. And you've got a goal to give it a real go, and yes, make real money, then stop making excuses and start making your writing a priority.

5 comments:

  1. I have been less frustrated with the things I can't control in publishing since I stopped treating it like a career. But if your books make money I can see how that would be motivation to keep making money.

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    1. For me, it's about focusing on what I can control. And that's my output. I want to write more, so I have to work and do that. I think a lot of authors get frustrated when they set their goals around things they can't control.

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  2. You are an inspiration! But you're right, and I try to follow your philosophy also. Even if my books don't make money (and they do, but not enough to brag about, that's for sure), this writing is our career and our life and our passion. JUST DO IT, no excuses.

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    1. Thank you! There's nothing wrong with having a hobbyist mindset, but for those of us who are looking for a career, just do it is the perfect mantra. :)

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  3. Wow, Sarah. Thanks for inspiring me! I've also had a recent move and a bout of illnesses hit the family. I'm continuing to put BIC, but my deadlines have shifted a bit, so kudos to you!

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