Writing is a Business
I took Friday off. It was grand. I binge watched Louie CK’s show on Netflix. I highly recommend using your vacation days, even if it’s one day for no reason, except that you need to breathe a little, because it’s become difficult to catch your breath in the world you’ve chosen of responsibilities and obligations and self-imposed deadlines.
One of my mentors has been talking about writing being an art form, that you need to allow creativity to flow in order to produce good work. I can buy that. Yet, I still need to work, whether my muse is cooperating or not. Maybe I’m wrong. I have, after all, only recently begun this new adventure of becoming a professional writer.
This is how I see my job and how I’m doing:
- Reading: I must read every day. The act of reading has become more of a critical endeavor as I try to learn how to, and how not to, form sentences and thrill the reader. I AM reading every day before I go to bed. I know I should take more time to read than that. I give myself a B.
2. Writing: Obviously, I should write every day. But I don’t. I didn’t write yesterday. I was on vacation. (Did I mention it was awesome?) I do, however, have business goals established for writing. My novels have been progressing splendidly. The extra writing I was hoping to do, like a short story every month, is not happening. I give myself a C until I can find the discipline to finish the extra writing assignments.
3. Revising: I hesitated whether to separate this from writing, but it feels VERY different. I have kept on schedule with revising, even when beta reader feedback was late. Yet, I am not confident that I am doing a thorough enough job. Colleagues have described the eight to ten revisions they’ve struggled through before submitting a novel. I only did three full length revisions on Tarbin’s True Heir. Until I get feedback from a professional editor, I’m not sure how I did. Gabriella and Periwinkle will get attacked next weekend. I’ll give myself a C for now.
4. Social Media: Twitter and Facebook and blogging, oh my. I give myself a B on this one. Explanation to come…in a separate social media post.
5. Community Building: I participate in MANY writing communities, some virtual, some actual, most a combination of the two. Networking is a vital part of ANY business. Writing is no exception. I give myself an A.
6. Submitting for Publication: I was going to call this publishing, but the writer has very little control over that. I changed it to submitting, which is completely under my control. I await a response from one short story as well as Tarbin’s True Heir. Hence, though I consider it a part of the job, my experience is nil. I give myself a D. (Maybe unfairly, but if I would finish more short stories, I could gain a bit of experience here and earn a higher grade.)
7. Attending Conferences: I am a regular at Dragon Con, not solely for the parties and celebrities. I spend most of my time with writers and in author classes. I love the Houston Writers Guild April Conference; opportunities abound. Next weekend, I will jump into my first writer’s retreat with Inklings Publishing. I look forward to meeting colleagues and learning more about the craft. I give myself an A.
8. Promoting My Work: Since I have nothing out, there is nothing to promote. I’m looking forward to release parties and book signings and booth sales. Until then, I give myself a NA. (But soon, my dear, soon.)
I watch some of my favorite writers produce loads of work on a yearly basis: Kevin J. Anderson, Jody Lynn Nye, Jonathon Maberry, Kim Harrison, Stephen King. I still consider them artists. I want to be like these authors. I want to explore different worlds, not one series, pushing myself to keep the productivity high. I don’t want to sit on my book until it’s perfect, because it will NEVER be perfect. I want the work to be as good as I can make it, then release it into the world as I attack the next creation.
What do you think about writing? Is it an art or a business or something in between? What do you consider part of your job as a writer?
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