I’ve often stated about a career in writing it is 25% actual writing and 75% promoting/social media/business, etc.
But does it have to be? Um… yes. And no.
I used to have a pretty killer routine each day. I’ve been blessed with having writing as my full-time job, and I used to spend about 4 hours a day writing and up to 12 promoting, etc. There was my 25% thing, nice and easy to follow.
But lately I’m finding myself getting up later than normal. I used to be up by 8 am, with coffee in hand, knocking out some words. Then it became 9 am, waiting for the coffee to brew while I went through an overnight’s worth of 500-700 e-mails (most of them spam crap or having nothing to do with my goals or me).
Today I got up after 9 am and didn’t make coffee until almost 11 am, while I chatted with six different people, read some blog posts and cut down my e-mails to under 300 to go through. As I write this it is 2 pm and I haven’t eaten lunch yet or had my third cup of coffee to fully wake up.
In theory, I could stop writing this post and get off of Facebook, and just write until Special Gal gets home from work after 5 pm. I have 3 hours to crank out 2,000 words. That should be pretty damn easy for me.
Except I’m busy with other things as well, like doing the laundry and dishes. I have an entertainment center to put together and chicken to thaw for dinner (ok, it does thaw itself, but I like to stare at it), and a hundred other important things like staring out the window waiting for the mailman to drive up with more boxes for Authors Supporting Our Troops. I also keep watch for the feral cats wandering around the property, because they distract me from doing actual work.
There are many writers who moan about working a full-time job (a couple of them I know personally) and never having time to write. I say you are also using excuses to not write every day. When I worked a ‘real’ job of 50-70 hours a week, I still managed 500-1,000 words a day. Every day. Why? Because I was hungry and I wanted a better life for myself. Maybe it didn’t happen quite the way I thought it was going to, but I’m here in the now and I’m doing this for a living. And making a good living with it, to boot.
But I think I’ve lost my focus, at least temporarily. I’ve been getting contracts with insane deadlines (15 days to write 30,000 words and have an editor over my back while I’m writing it) but with a great upfront payout. When I’m between these jobs (like I find myself today) I find it hard to do anything more than look out the window and read inane Facebook posts.
Beginning tomorrow, I will rise at 8 am again with the coffee ready to brew. I shall work on as many e-mails and Facebook messages as I can until 10 am, at which time I am shutting the internet down. Not a peep from me. At noon I will stop and get some lunch after knocking off my 2,000 word goal. Around 1 pm I might check some e-mails and do some promoting, but only if I have my 2,000 words in. I’ll mess around with writing and promoting until about 5:30, when Special Gal comes home so we can have a nice evening without me worrying.
THAT is my priority from now on… getting back into focus, getting my writing AND promoting in without one killing the other.
The rest of today will be spent watching for the mailman.