Monday, October 6, 2014

The Roles of a Writer by Melinda Curtis

When I was a kid, I remember my mom driving me to the King Tut exhibit and me declaring that someday I wanted to be a writer.  Years went by.  I went to college, dreaming of the day when I'd be a...Marketer? A P.R. specialist? A researcher and fact checker? A web site designer? A graphic artist? A salesman? And a writer?

Whoa. I bet you weren't expecting me to say that. But the fact is that writers nowadays, like moms, are multi-taskers.

My kids are all away at college now, but when they were home, I was the chauffeur, the tutor, the short-order cook, the personal shopper, the hairstylist, the relationship counselor...I could go on. Now I seem to primarily be their banker.

I took a day off last week to do non-writing things.  And by that, I mean I didn't sprint with Anna Adams to write a novel!  Here's what I did:

-Wrote 10 guest blog posts (marketing/P.R.)
-Wrote a 50 word Valentine's blurb for a Harlequin mailer (marketing/P.R.)
-Finished a book trailer (graphic artist/advertising exec)
-Scheduled 10 Facebook posts on my fan page (media)
-Analyzed the impact of my last book release (marketer)
-Updated my web site with new book release information (marketer/advertising exec/web designer)
-Sent email requests to cross-promote with other authors (P.R.)
-Relaxed by searching through photo sites for new cover ideas (graphic designer)

Compare that to a more typical writing day:

-Did 45 minutes of rounds on social media/blogs/communities (not sure if this is P.R. or author)
-Edited 3 scenes (author/editor)
-Wrote 8 new pages (author)
-Did a search on designer handbags (researcher)
-Did a search on luxury chocolates (researcher)
-Did a search on luxury bridal gowns (researcher)
-Searched where cocoa plantations grow best in Ecuador, culled facts to use in story without sounding like an encyclopedia (researcher/fact checker/author)
-Searched what kind of snakes eat people in Ecuador, forgot to bookmark and had to search for it again (researcher/fact checker)

So here's my conclusion:  Being a writer today is like being a one-man band. The music doesn't sound so good if you aren't moving all your parts! So tell me, whether you're a reader or a writer, what was your day like yesterday? How many hats did you wear?

Melinda writes sweet romance, both for Harlequin Heartwarming and as a self-pubbed author. Learn more about her releases at MelindaCurtis.net and more about her book promotions on Facebook.

23 comments:

  1. That's a lot of hats... It's also why, even though I'm happy for technological advances, there are things about the "old days" I miss a lot. I was gone nearly all day yesterday, and found myself worrying about what I was missing online and what I should be doing for promotion. Even when I take a day off, it's hard to actually turn it all off, to leave the hats in the closet.

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    1. Liz, I try to stay away from the internet at least one day a week (I try)

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  2. With the great analysis of how you spend your time, Melinda, you should consider adding "statistician" to the list of things you do.

    One thing that I love about what I do now (writing and board work for a number of different companies) is that it's never boring.

    Any day--actually just about any hour--I can write, edit, promote and deal with a variety of business issues. I enjoy the diversity and like to claim (emphasis on the word claim) that all the switching back and forth creates mental acuity/agility! ;-) It certainly seems to be the case with you, Melinda!

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    1. Kate, you and I are kindred multitaskers!

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  3. Loved the post.
    These past two months I've been doing a lot of have-tos that aren't writing related and they're taking up a bunch of time. Then, I analyze my time and realize I don't have any. ARG

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    1. Ah, Pamela, the things we all don't like to do...

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  4. I couldn't agree more! I'm the mom of a first grader, a wife and a novelist. I plan and cook allergy friendly meals, I clean, I listen to problems, I read stories, I soothe, I worry, I write, I plan books, I try to forget about other worries while writing and planning books... It's a constant whirl that never stops. My days "off" STILL include several loads of laundry, dishes, cooking, and the emotional care of my husband and son.

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    1. I love how you say "I try to forget about other worries while writing and planning books" - sometimes it's very overwhelming. And that's when a nice glass of wine works wonders to shut down my brain

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  5. Great post! I love the way you've broken your day down--wish I could do that, but my brain just doesn't work that way. lol. Yesterday I spent most of the day after church working on my fast draft. That means I don't stop to research or check facts, just highlight and keep writing. Back at it this morning except for this few minutes of stolen time to check email. :-)

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    1. I love fast drafting! (Or sprinting, as Anna Adams and I do - she's on a lovely mountain retreat this week)

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  6. Okay, it's only 7:40 a.m. my time and I'm already exhausted, Mel. Of course all of this is on top of the regular "stuff" we deal with every day, right? :) You are proof we can definitely do it all (and manage a tether hold on our sanity, LOL

    On the bright side, listing it all out like that must give you a huge feeling of accomplishment. Mark them all off the list as DONE! Great post. :)

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    1. Just so people know, it's not all glamorous. I think last week I posted a twitter picture of my lunch - frozen pizza and starbucks!

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    2. What's wrong with frozen pizza?! Okay, I do like to cook, but that's for (or with) my husband or for guests. Personally, I enjoy a frozen pizza now and then!

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  7. You're marvelous, Mel. My day was busy, too, but considerably less productive - at least professionally.

    Walked the dog (housekeeping,)
    Fed dog and cats (wild animal wrangling )
    Tested Ron's blood sugar, gave him his insulin shot and fruit to hold him over to breakfast (nursing,)
    Carried his walker down the stairs and pulled it up the hill to church while he shuffled and pushed (transportation?)
    Called a cab to take us to breakfast (concierge duties?)
    Went to Sunday Market (shopping, cooking)
    Came home and wrote 10 1/2 pages (author - presuming they're any good)
    Made dinner (do hot wings and salad constitute cooking?)
    Settled down for TV watching (wife-ing)
    Went to bed and prayed for all of you because you're so special to me! (spiritual sharing)

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    1. MurIiel, too funny! I love the 'wild animal wrangling' and 'wife-ing'...

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    2. I love the concierge duties! And those of us who are married understand that even if you sit down with pages to edit while the game is on, the hubster feels like he's getting attention - lol!

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  8. Melinda, that is a lot of hats, but I still think you may secretly have a cape--like Super Woman. As a newbie, I'm still figuring all this out and I'm easily overwhelmed by the things that take away from writing time, so I appreciate you pointing out their importance. Anna is right, you are an inspiration!

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    1. I'm not an inspiration. I'm tired, but pedaling as fast as I can. I remember being new and looking up with awe at Roz! As an empty nester, I have fewer daily distractions. Everyone has their own pace at different stages of their lives. It's okay to be where you are, who you are, and writing at a pace you are. Don't compare. Be happy to get words down on the page - even if you aren't publishing (indie or traditional). Writing should give you joy!

      Now that my public service announcement is over, I must be the IS person, as my internet has been spotty this morning and I fear I have malware!

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  9. As a writer, your day is so typical, one project after another and not all of them include sitting down to the computer to write. Sure wouldn’t want to meet up with that green snake you included in your post.

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  10. You are almost as busy as I am! That's hard to do :)
    I'm just glad you find time to get writing done.

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  11. Frankly, all of you wear me out. I don't have the time to figure out what it is I do. I must be so un-organized! I agree with Carol. Mel, you definitely have a super hero costume stashed in a closet someplace. After reading your post, I need a nap!

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  12. Missed your post as I was away to a family wedding. The best thing is I came home bursting with ideas for a new book.
    Melinda, isn't it good that we women can multi-task. Otherwise how would families ever run?

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  13. Great post, Melinda. So much goes into getting words on a page and then actually selling them! And it's easy for me to get frustrated because I don't do them all as well as I'd like. One thing about my list that's different from yours: no researching man-eating snakes. I would forget that bookmark on purpose. :)

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