We’re gonna write, write, write ‘til broad daylight!
Psh, I wish.
If there was one thing I could go back and tell the writer version of myself when I first started this whole crazy career, it’s that romance writing may be a passion, but it has to be a business. Over the years, it’s come to my attention just how many hours a day I spend marketing, promoting, writing blogs, scheduling social, filing expenses, the whole nine.
These are things I never even considered before I got started, and now they occupy my days and nights, taking up far more time than they deserve, and cutting into the hours I really should be writing.
So, I compartmentalize. Or I try to, at least. Give my planner-Ravenclaw tendencies, the to do list and outline is the way to go, and so I settle down, usually the night before, and write out an impossible list of items for the following day. What I intend to be a daily to do list, often becomes the weekly to do list, but that’s okay. The vital element of completing important projects remains.
And writing is on that list.
It doesn’t seem like it should have to be on the author’s to do list. After all, without the writing, what’s the point in all the rest? But if something isn’t on the list, it doesn’t get done, end of story, I wipe my hands of it.
Instead, I write out everything, from answering the more complex individual emails, to filing new invoices, to completing my freelance work tasks. Everything. And in that everything, I break my writing goals up into chunks. That way I can better reach my goals of hitting, say, ten thousand words in the week, if I know I’m only aiming after two thousand at a time.
An added bonus of that, is that it makes the writing concrete. Some people hate word count. Others write by a timer. Either way, I like going in with a goal and coming out with a project to mark off my to do list.
It seems a shame that I literally have to schedule the writing part of my career into my planning and outlining for the day. Some naive part of me still imagines the fantasy writer, hacking at their ancient keyboard for hours on end, never stopping for a break or a different project. But that is a fantasy. Because I’m not sitting on the roof of an aged Paris apartment, dreaming of a dying girl. I’m not the stereotypical middle-aged white man in his bathrobe writer, trudging along looking for my next great story. No, I’m running a business, first and foremost, and even the fundamental task of writing, still must be organized and completed.
Of course, I write in a thousand other ways. I jot down entire chapters in my phone and scribble illegible notes into my ancient mole skin. But that’s a little like scheduling Tweets and then sending a spur of the moment thought. I can send spur of the moment thoughts, but I can also relax, knowing the rest is already in the system.
This is the way that works for me. Some folks wake up an hour earlier. Others write on their lunch break. Some people use timers, others stick to word count. The point is, at the end of the day, we do need to find that way, whichever way works for us, to shut all the rest of it out and just prioritize the writing. Because when everything is said and done, if we don’t have the writing, none of the rest of it will matter at all. ♦