Blog Post

Writing IS a Real Job


Thursday is my Wednesday. I work Tuesday through Saturday so the middle of my week is on Thursday. it’s my humpday. While everyone else is coming to the end of their week and rejoicing over the fact that their weekend begins the next day, I’m still trying to crawl through the middle.

Normally this doesn’t bother me at all. In fact, I love my schedule and I don’t think I’ll willingly go back to a Monday through Friday work week. There are just too many advantages. The biggest being that I get to totally miss Monday.

“Oh?” You say. “Don’t you still have a Monday on Tuesday?”

Nope. It’s not at all the same. At least not where I work. Tuesdays, being the second day after the weekend for most people, are much slower, more relaxed days. So, I don’t come back to chaos. Saturdays are also a slower day, so it normally makes for a mellower week.

Even with those benefits, there are still some weeks that are harder than others. This one happens to be one of them.

This has been one of those weeks that have just crawled by. I’m just so exhausted that even taking a breath seems like too much energy. Needless to say, coming home and sitting down to write after a long day, isn’t easy. Somedays, writing is just harder than others. Today is one of those days.

Last night I didn’t sleep well, so I was tired all day. Writing when you’re tired isn’t an easy endeavor. There was a time just a couple years ago that this would have kept me from coming home and writing at all.

That was then. I have discovered the secret of pushing through those times. That secret is a writing schedule. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it was on my mind today, so I thought it just might help some of my newer readers.

Schedules are a necessary part of any serious writer’s life. Just ask any editor who wants a book done on a deadline.

Don’t let the fact that you don’t have a book deal yet discourage you from setting those writing goals. If you do, you just might not ever get that book written. There needs to be a goal.

I only have about two hours of free time on an average workday, but I have other relationships that need to be nurtured and other responsibilities that go with them. Yep… I even need to do the dishes.

The goal itself is completely up to you and your lifestyle.  What works for me may not work for anyone else. You have to make it personal. All our other goals and responsibilities need to be taken into consideration too, so don’t set them too high.

I use to have a word count goal. The last few months, however, I changed it to a chapter goal. After some feedback from an agent, I found I needed to rework my last novel. While this may come with the territory, reworking a story can feel as painful as major surgery to an author.  But it’s something that happens with many manuscripts for even some of the most accomplished writers. Setting a goal of a chapter a week gives me a little more flexibility to write harder on my days off but allows me the ability to skip workdays that get overwhelmed with other things.

I also adjust my week. I start my “writing week” on Monday. Since it’s my day off I can spend more time writing on that day. The last day of my “writing week” is Sunday. Another day off and with the next day off also, I can stay up late if I need the extra time to finish my chapter. I often do. My goal is somewhat flexible, but it’s also set in stone. If I’m not done on Sunday night, I don’t go to bed until I am.

Life is challenging.  But we can do it, writers! Don’t let others tell you what you need to do or how it needs to be done. Set those goals. Make a list of what you need to get done and find those times you can devote completely to your writing.

Do you realize that if all we write is 165 words a day, we’ll have 60,000 in one year?  300 a day and we’ll have that book completed in six months and those next six can be used to edit and rewrite.

Don’t treat your writing as though it’s different from any other job. Writing IS a job and needs to be treated with the same respect as any other job.  We can’t expect those around us to take our writing seriously if we don’t ourselves.



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