Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Take on the Writers Life



Writing, like any profession is hard work. Like anything worth striving for, writers put their heart and soul, time and energy, into making each project their very best. I can’t tell you how many times people I meet, when they learn I’m an author, tell me that they want to write their special story and get published. As with every writer, they have all these ideas they want to share. The first thing I tell them is, sit down and write. Even if you have no idea what is involved in putting a book together, the first step is getting words down on paper. Later, after time has passed and I see that friend who wants to write I ask, have you started writing? Making notes? Jotting down ideas? Most of the time the answer I receive is, well, I don’t have time... If you don’t make the time, you can’t expect to be an author.

As a professional who loves what I do, I’ve learned that I have to sit down each day for a certain amount of hours if I want to be successful. This is my job. I have deadlines, word counts I need to reach and certain commitments I make to a publisher. This requires a lot of discipline. I have a day planner by my computer so I can keep up with the demands of the week or month. Don’t get me wrong, I get great enjoyment from what I do, but I’m not naive enough to think that I can sit down and in a few hours throw something together and expect it to be any good. Writers spend hours carefully choosing our words, and on top of that, spend addition hours honing our craft. I still read craft books, still go to writing workshops. To be my best, I put forth the effort to keep my mind coming up with fresh ideas and then applying those ideas to create a book. 

Writing has to be a passion. It requires a huge commitment. As Roz wrote in her blog, waiting is also part of the writers experience. Trust me, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but we do it because we are compelled to write. We have to do this. To those who don’t write, this concept may seem a little nutty, but hey, it is our truth! 

No matter what genre we write for, there is an expectation from the reader. Again, this is where I have to make sure I work extra hard at delivering. That means a first, second, third, and probably more, draft of my story. And still I’m not finished. Heartwarming readers will pick up our books and expect a story that touches their hearts and emotions. Which means I have to nail that. So I plot and I plan, I create characters that I love first and hope the readers will also come to love later. 

Did I mention that I LOVE what I do? Every day I am thankful that I get to sit down at my computer and live in a world that I’ve created and hang around with characters I’ve come to think of as friends. Anyone who wants to join the ranks of the author can do so, just be prepared to put in the time. Once you do, you’ll see that a writer’s life isn’t glamorous, but it is very satisfying.

5 comments:

  1. Tara,
    I think you just gave me my idea for Tuesday's post. Time. The myth. Thank you.

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  2. Tara, All you've said is so true. The thing I lament is that when I worked full time, my family was home making demands, and I wrote, I seemed to be more organized. Now it's too easy to put things off thinking I have more time than I do. And do any of the rest of you think stuff piles up in bunches. Like no one will need anything from you until you are the busiest and then suddenly, calls on your time triple. Good food for thought in these posts.

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  3. Tara - Can't think of a thing to add to that - you've said it all, and beautifully. One thing (I can ALWAYS think of something to say.) Did a conference once with Jean Auel of Clan of the Cave Bear fame, and she said that the best part of working for yourself was that at least you could decide which eighteen hours of the day to work!

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  4. Tara, another great post! This also reminds me of the best writing advice I ever received: Bottom in Chair, Hands on Keyboard (BICHOK) is the only way a book gets written.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Thanks. And yes, Roz, everything piles up in bunches! I think that's what makes deadlines so difficult. I like that our posts give each other ideas. It's a writer thing!

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