Rolled out a little after 3 this morning. I read until around 5, mostly on the Internet, mostly the stuff in “Of Interest” below, then wrote this edition of the Journal.
I think I could finish the novel this morning, but I’m going to leave it until Monday. I don’t want to risk leaving a paltry, ragged edge today of maybe less than a thousand words and then have to come back and finish on Monday.
I suspect I have another 3,000 to 5,000 words to the end. So given the choice, I’d rather leave the whole thing until Monday. And of course, I have the choice. (grin)
If I don’t write today, I can also make a lot of headway on the copyedit, which is about halfway finished right now. I’ll probably finish it completely over the weekend, especially if I work on it all day today.
Topic: Time is a Trade-Off
Folks often remind me that I’m able to write whenever I like, while they have a day job they must attend to in addition to their writing.
They see me as fortunate. I see them as fortunate, especially if in their 20s or 30s or 40s they’ve discovered and are following Heinlein’s Rules.
Most often the reminder comes in an oblique, non-confrontational way. Often they don’t even realize they’re making a comparison.
The common complaint is that they don’t have time to write as much as they’d like because they have a day job. That’s completely understandable, and I commiserate.
But if they write when they are able now, think of how far ahead they’ll be in publications and practice when they are retired and have all the time in the world.
Some who are closer to my age and situation also say they don’t have time to write as much as they’d like. In their case, it’s because their time is divided among other interests.
That’s also understandable, though it’s more a matter of priorities than time. If other things are more important to you than writing, there’s nothing wrong with that.
If I were to set up a comparison, I wouldn’t make it about priorities. For me personally, aside from family matters, writing IS my number one priority.
Or maybe it’s my number one priority even including family matters. Even when I’m doing other things, like family things or friend things, I’m usually thinking about writing or writing-related topics.
If I set up a comparison, I also wouldn’t make it about responsibilities, e.g., the necessity of holding down an outside job. Been there, done that. And again, I didn’t have the time-saving, time-valuing luxury of being aware of Heinlein’s Rules.
So for me, neither responsibilities nor priorities form a basis for a valid comparison.
If I were to set up a comparison, the focus would be on time, period, and time management always involves a trade-off.
During the time you are able to set aside for writing, whether that’s several hours every day or one hour per day or one hour per week or one hour per month, what do you actually do?
If you finish a 60,000 word novel in about 60 hours, does it matter whether it takes a week or a month or a year? Sixty hours is still 60 hours, no matter what the calendar says.
So whatever your writing “process,” it is dependent on application. And as a famous writer, maybe Hemingway, once said, the primary problem with application in the writing habit is applying the seat of your pants to the seat of your chair and your fingers to the keyboard.
If you actually write during the six hours (or one hour) per day (or week or month) you’ve set aside for writing, you will succeed. If you don’t, you won’t. It really is that simple.
Of course, there are certain requirements.
You can’t write a novel or a short story without writing scenes. You can’t write a scene without writing paragraphs. You can’t write a paragraph without writing sentences. And you can’t write a sentence without writing words.
Thinking or talking about writing is not writing. As a writer, you don’t get paid to do that. Rewriting or revising is not writing either. Again, as a writer, you don’t get paid to do that. Writing is putting new words on the page. As a writer, that’s what you’re paid to do.
So how best to spend your writing time? Well, the answer to that is up to you. And thank God. I’d hate to be responsible for your career as well as my own.
The only person I criticize as a result of my own comparison is myself. Realistically and not including breaks, I have, on average, four to five hours per day during which I can write.
So on average, I should be able to put out 4000 to 5000 words per writing day.
Yet on many writing days — in fact, on most of them — I simply don’t write 4,000 to 5,000 words. There’s always a Reason, but very seldom an Excuse.
And of course, Reason is a product of the critical mind. At my current age and situation, actual excuses (events that excuse me from the utter joy of writing) are the result of surprises.
Fortunately, I don’t have many of those.
I received an email from Kat McGee of Daring Creative Designs. I used her service for my print books and highly recommended her to others for layout and cover design.
Kat has had to shut down her business due to health concerns. If you pray, please consider this a call for prayers for Kat. Thanks.
See you soon.
See “Product Focused vs Process Focused” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/product-focused-vs-process-focused/.
Via The Digital Reader, see “Six Myths — And One Fact — About Traditional Publishing” at https://medium.com/@stevenspatz4/six-myths-and-one-fact-about-traditional-publishing-b3309f70fcb8.
Also via TDR, see “Infographic: The Indispensable Social Media Cheat Sheet” at https://the-digital-reader.com/2018/05/17/infographic-the-indispensable-social-media-cheat-sheet/. I include this because it has handy size charts for adding photos without guessing.
A lot of great comments on “The Reader Perception” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/the-reader-perception/#comments.
See “What Exactly is a Cozy Mystery?” at http://www.thepassivevoice.com/what-exactly-is-a-cozy-mystery/.
Fiction Words: XXXX
Nonfiction Words: 1030 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 1030
Writing of A Storyteller (novel and short story collection)
Brought forward…………………………………………………………………… 44837
Day 16… 3117 words. Total words to date…… 47954
Day 17… 2680 words. Total words to date…… 50634
Day 18… 1278 words. Total words to date…… 51912
Day 19… 1687 words. Total words to date…… 53599
Day 20… 1792 words. Total words to date…… 55391
Day 21… 1998 words. Total words to date…… 57389
Day 22… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 32404
Total fiction words for the year………… 193690
Total nonfiction words for the month… 7960
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 57430
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 250850
Calendar Year 2018 Novels to Date………………………… 3
Calenday Year 2018 Novellas to Date…………………… 1
Calendar Year 2018 Short Stories to Date……… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 30
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 5
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 182