I am a voracious reader of my monthly RWA magazine TheRomance Writers Report. The minute it arrives into my mailbox I am all over it. An article in the June 2014 edition caught more than my eye – it spoke volumes to me as a romance writer. For the next several blogs I’m going to be dissecting the piece as it applies to me and my writing career.
Multi-published and talented writer, Barbara Wallace, in an article titled “Seven Habits of Effective Writers,” details specific strategies writers should incorporate into their writing lives. The first is, basically, to write.
This may sound like common sense, but there are many distractions that can come along to prevent you from writing on a regular schedule. In truth, you can’t pen the all american great novel if you don’t sit down, get your but in the chair and type away. You can’t say “puff!” and your novel will magically appear in print. It MUST first be typed onto the page – or laptop screen. Let’s face it, if you are not employed as a writer -as I am not – finding the time to write can be difficult. Work obligations, children’s and spouse’s needs, grocery shopping, laundry, and just dealing with the everyday stresses that being alive comes with it, can make carving some time out to write your book troublesome and problematic.
If you really want to be a writer, you must write. Even if it’s for twenty minutes every night between supper and putting the kids to bed. Even if it’s on your lunch hour. I used to get up at 4 am just so I had two hours to myself before I had to get the family up to start the day. Saturday and sunday mornings were great because the members of my household liked to sleep in on those days. I recently attended a talk by famed writer Lisa Gardner, who shared with the audience that when she was beginning her career, she would write every night at eleven p.m. because that’s when she had alone, free time.
Whatever schedule you can devise that allows you to be working on your manuscript is up to you. As long as you do it consistently, regularly, and productively. It makes no sense to tell the family you’re going upstairs to the home office to write for an hour and then answer emails, check Twitter and Facebook, or be recruited into a particularly tedious game of Candy Crush. No. you are there to WRITE and that is all.
Personally, I consider everyday that I don’t write SOMETHING, a wasted day. Be it my blog, a character profile, or a scene in my current WIP. I schedule time for myself, away from everything and everyone, just so I can create. And I don’t think this is selfish, as a former friend once told me she thought it was. Did you see the word former in that last sentence?
There’s an old saying that goes, “happy wife, happy life.” I want to change that up a little and declare, “happy writer, happy woman.”