Monday, August 11, 2008

First Day Of School And Writing Routine

Today I saw my daughter off to school. Wow, time flies by. It's so quiet here. In front of me is this large amount of time. Did I say it was quiet here? I miss my daughter calling to me just as soon as I get into the best part of what I'm writing. I never thought I'd miss that.

So this is the first day for both of us. I'm back to writing four to five hours a day. Today I managed three before I broke for a blog break. I'm nearing the end of my novel polishing. In front of me stretches a new project. Many writers hate the first draft part, but I love finding the new voices and following their lead. I love the thought of this so much, I find it hard to focus on finishing this project.

Over the summer I've spent time writing in my notebook. Many sketches for the new project appeared here, but much of it is still too foggy to talk about it. I might talk it away :).

Sometimes it's tough being a writer. Bet you never thought I'd say that! Many people don't get that it is work. They see me as having it made, and in many ways I do. I work on my own time. I don't have a boss breathing down my neck. I knock off when school is over. I have school holidays off. But it is a little harder than it sounds.

First: I set a goal of at least one chapter a day. This runs roughly three to four thousand words. I don't have to show it to anyone, so I can fudge if I want. Sounds good! But to be a professional working at home, I have to produce. So, I'm the boss of me, and let me tell you I'm my own worse nightmare. No writing in pajamas. No being sick. No checking email while writing. No going on the internet. No breaking for coffee and a stretch. Gees, I had it made when I worked in an office.

Second: I have a certain amount of editing I do each day. This requires me to sit someplace and really focus. I can't answer the phone. I can't watch TV. I can't do the dishes from that morning. Edit only.

Third: I only get a half of an hour for lunch. When I worked in an office, I got an hour. Gees.

Fourth: I have to fight off the questions: When are you publishing that book? How much money do you make? Really, how many people do you know asked that question of a corporate professional? Can't you skip writing today so you can do what I need? Now most people don't ask in this way, but they ask this question in many of their own ways. Why does it take so long?

Fifth: Working on the filler stuff. What is filler stuff? It is book reviews, short stories, and book introductions. This is the work that keeps my name out in the publishing world, and yes, brings in some money, so I can answer that income question.

So as you can see, I have to be my own boss, multitask, focus, and develop tough skin. Many of you are saying why do it? Get a job where you're noticed and you can make more money? Are you kidding? This is the best job in all the world and I would not change a thing. I know this each school day when I see my daughter come out of the school looking for me. God, just keep me writing.

Off to edit.

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