Monday, September 29, 2008

Writing Seriously

When I started out writing, I considered it a hobby. Writing was something I’d done in periods of time where I didn’t have anything else to do. As the writing bug grew and my desire to become published gradually turned to obsession, I realized I would need to treat my craft as more than a hobby.

First and foremost, writing is a business. I believe this realization is the first mindset needed to taking your writing seriously. Publishers are in the business for one thing only: to make money.

So. In order to make money for yourself and for your publishers, you need to carve out a set number of hours to put into your business, which is what you are: a business.
When not on deadline, I need to write a minimum of twenty hours per week. I do this one of two ways. I work full time, but my nights are generally free, so I usually reserve 7:00 to 11:00 pm for writing time. That’s four hours Monday through Friday. Of course, things happen, so I can’t always keep this commitment, but I’m flexible enough that I can write on the weekends to at least get my twenty hours in. And most weekends I’m writing anyway, so I’m usually working over the set twenty hours each week. Sundays I reserve for my slug time when I flop on the couch, usually reading for pleasure or for research needed for a book I’m working on.
Another way to take your writing seriously is to have a writing space. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, just a spot where you come to write every day and your are free to leave your mess as is and call it your own. For years, I worked at the kitchen table. I now have a separate writing room. It’s cluttered and disorganized, but it’s my space. My cave where I can escape to my own little world. Or big world, depending on what I’m writing at the time. Going there forces me to take my writing seriously. I’m not quite sure how, but it does, so I go with it because it works. Don’t get me wrong, I also write in other places like the library, the local coffee shop (I don’t have the luxury of living near a Starbucks.) or even in my car on lunch hours. This is all fine. As long as it’s somewhere you can work. That’s what’s important.

I also set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. There are constantly changing, depending on what I’m working on. I constantly go back and revise them too. This helps keep me on track so I can see where I’ve changed, if I’ve gone a new direction, etc.

These are some of my own ideas for how I take my writing seriously. You can probably come up with ones that work for you.

~ Nancy