Wednesday, July 5, 2017
IWSG: Valuable Lessons
IWSG is asking this month: What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing? I'm going to take "started writing" to mean "started seriously writing" because I've always dabbled and played, but I've only been serious about it since about 2013.
The most valuable lesson I've learned during this time is that you have to understand yourself as an artist to get anywhere. There are thousands of paths to a writing life, and myriad advice about when and how to work your way through the writing and publishing process, but none of that matters in the end. You have to find and do what works for you as an individual. That's going to mean trial and error to find a process that gets results.
I learned that I can write anywhere--I don't have to have a particular environment or time of day--but that I have to write every day in order to make progress and stay on track.
I was reasonable about it. I didn't ask for twenty-three of every twenty-four hours or anything crazy like that. I tried to choose my writing time during hours that would have lower impact on the needs and wants of the people in my life. It took a little time, but we all adjusted and now writing is just something I do every day.
As of the writing of this post, I have written for 1,373 days in a row (250 words is the minimum to count as "having written" by my reckoning, though I shoot for 800 on schooldays and 2,000 on non-schooldays now, after building up my endurance). I've written 1,672,415 words since I started tracking with Magic Spreadsheet (1,373 days ago). I've finished drafts of six novels, and seen three through to publication (the third one comes out July 11). I've also written several short stories and novellas as well, and written a weekly blog post, articles, and guest posts galore during this time.
But all of that is after making a commitment to myself and keeping it, and getting to that point took all the forty-years that led there. My new struggle, what I'm learning now, is how to set priorities to make the most efficient use of my writing time. I still work full time, and am now managing book promotion and publication business as well as writing new words. It's a whole new ballgame.
I'm looking forward to reading the other posts by IWSGers on this topic and would love to hear from you in the comments. What have you learned? What are you still struggling with?
If you're not already following #IWSG (Insecure Writer's Support Group), you should really check it out. The monthly blog hop is a panoply of insight into the writing life at all stages of hobby and career. Search the hashtag in your favorite social media venue and you'll find something interesting on the first Wednesday of every month.