Thursday, June 21, 2012

Making Time for Your Craft

Most authors pretty much need an ‘Operating’ job in addition to their writing money, if they’re lucky enough to make any money writing.
 (Okay at this point you can skip to ‘Point B’’ That’s when the short ranting stops,)

Unless, of course, you’re the woman who almost gave up after 20 big rejection letters and finally, without saying how she did it and seemingly overnight,  has a book selling 3500 – 10k a day. Yes, a day. She doesn’t need an operating job.
            Boy, I don’t know about you, but I am so glad she never got rejection letter 21, could you imagine? She may not have pushed on. The world may never have heard her inspirational story.
            I just … I just really can’t fathom giving up and being in despair after 20 rejections. Despair and feeling like a loser after 20 rejections seems dramatic.
            And anyone who gets to that point after 20 rejections, I’d like to lock them in my closet with my rejection letter bin and not let them out until they read each one. At a minute per rejection I’d see them in a couple days.
            Sorry I digressed.


            Anyhow … I must maintain a job and so do most other Indies. Whether it’s full time or part time. I’m fortunate that my ‘operating’ job is fun. I’m a karaoke DJ and while it does have its occasional stresses, it in in essence is a dream job.
            But still, dream job or not, it still takes a block of time out of my night, and like those who work a day job, I am stuck trying to balance family, job and finding time to work on my craft.
            We all know we can’t title ourselves a writer if we barely make time for it. It’s the difference between saying ‘I like to write’ and ‘I’m a writer’.
            I have a pretty hardcore stance on that one. I believe you should work on your craft every day, or at least five days a week. Now, that doesn’t just mean scribing, I know more than anyone those words sometimes don’t flow. But there are other parts to your craft, that includes, edits, research, blogging, rewrites, promoting, outlining. Being predominant on social medias to get your work known, If you want it, you work for it, any part of writing counts.
            My typical day starts at 930, I get up with Baby Frank, I make coffee while he watches cartoons. While he has his breakfast, I do emails and forums. We run our errands, dropping Ali off at work. Three days a week he has therapy, I bring my Kindle fire and work on edits while in the waiting room. My daughter is home by 3, I work on writing or edits from then till 6, make dinner,  sneak in a nap, get up and go to Dukes to Dj. I then get back and write from 2 am til 6 am, wind down with Family guy and go to sleep for a few hours.
            If I don’t DJ, I start at midnight. Always working till 6 am. My sacrifice is sleep. But that’s just me.
            There are nights I am so tired I can barely think. Those nights, I eat some cereal and crawl forums for promotions.
            It’s what I have to do. I don’t believe I’m the norm and I don’t expect anyone to be as insane as me. I do encourage finding time. And the time is there, you just have to realize it.
            Here are my tips.

  •             First thing. Get Manictime. The BEST tool you can get and it’s free. Once I downloaded this program I doubled my productivity, because it actually breaks down where you spend your time on the computer. I was able to see all the times I varied off on a youtube frenzy and how much time I spent reading celebrity gossip. It’s a total shock to see you spent 22 hours on the computer for the week and only 17% was on a word document. It keeps you in line like an overbearing boss.
  •             Put aside one hour a day for working on writing. Whether it’s edits or not. At least an hour a day. Remember it’s quality not quantity. If you swear you don’t have an hour a day, I challenge you to keep a journal for one week of everything you do. You’ll see wasted time. You can sacrifice a reality show or CSI. You can not however, sacrifice Family Guy.
  •             Have a long commute to work? Perfect. A pocket recorder or your phone, using voice activation. While sitting in traffic, talk out your story.
  •             Have little ones under the age of three? Perfect time to work on editing. Read your story to them to settle them down. Even if it’s horror, they don’t know, it’ all in how you read it. If you read a Zombie pulling out intestines the same way you’d read Sponge Bob, they won’t know. You’ll be surprised how many typos you pick up.
  •             Reward yourself. No surfing the net until you have written 500 words or edited ten pages.
  •             Too tired to move or think and only want to veg out with a movie? That’s fine Netflix has 100’s of documentaries that can be considered research. Watch something related to your writing or the project you are working on.
  •             Pickled Green tomatoes. They are tart and are a guaranteed source of energy, better than espresso.
  •             One hour a day, one way or another that is connected to your writing, added with manictime and I promise you’ll see a difference.
  •             If you want to be successful, like with anything you will make the time. Writing is no different. If you watch TV, play video games, phone games or surf the net, you have time to dedicate to writing.
            How can you expect people to sacrifice their hard earned money on your work, if you can’t sacrifice your time for your work?

            Next writers’ blog – The closer to home, the less legit you are as an author.

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