I’m frequently asked for advice on writing, and I’m afraid my answer is more boring than aspiring writers want to hear. You’ve heard me say it over and over again… writers write. If you want to be successful, you have to write. Thinking about writing, or talking about it, or dreaming about it isn’t doing it. No one is going to read your story if you don’t get it on paper and send it out into the world for others to read.
And sometimes, I don’t want to. <Insert pouty face here>
Except, I do want to. I want the story to be on the page, and in your hands, and I want to then move on to the next story. Because I’m a storyteller, and I love to submerge myself in the flesh of it all, the thick of the drama and love and sex and live it through my characters’ eyes. It’s a great time.
But I’m also a businesswoman. The writing is only 50% of my job. I also have covers to approve, models to choose, photos to shoot, along with a staff to oversee and editors, agents and publicists to confer with. I have decisions to make, some big and some small, but all of them need my attention. I have calls to make and take, and emails to respond to. And then there’s the time that I need to devote to social media, interacting with readers and authors and friends. That’s also a great time.
So, I’m a writer, and I’m a CEO. I like to think that I wear both hats appropriately and with competence, and that I continue to grow in both roles.
There are days, like today, when I don’t just want to write, I need to write. I have a deadline breathing down my neck and threatening all kinds of horrible things in my ear, and I haven’t been submerged in the story for too long. I need it, like a junkie needs their next hit. I’m craving it.
But I also have a million things that require my attention for my business. Important things, that also breathe down my neck, with their own set of threats.
This all sounds much more dramatic than it really is, but you get the idea. It’s all important.
And then, there is the woman behind it all. Because despite what some may think, I’m still just a human being. I know, shocker. So, I get distracted. Some days, I’m distracted more easily than others.
Today, I had the business stuff that needed my attention, along with a delivery from the UPS guy – YAY! Lilly Pulitzer delivery! – which led to me opening and enjoying the new. Now I’m hungry. Cheese! I need cheese. Okay, answer email from editor and look through possible models for the covers of the new Fusion series, choose favorites, then check on the cover reveal for Easy Melody. YAY! Readers love it. How’s it ranking? Let’s see.
Need more cheese.
Is it cold in here? Grab a blanket.
Really need to write seven million words today.
Call from publicist. Let’s talk about ALL THE THINGS that are happening in the near future, because again, it’s all important. Gather info, make notes, hang up and look! More email.
Can’t ignore Twitter.
It’s Wednesday! Whine About It from Matt Bellessai is up. Gotta watch. Then forward.
Call from someone special.
Blurb for 1001 Dark Nights release in 2016 is ready, forward via email.
I really need to write. Today. Lots of words.
Call from dentist, confirming appointment for Friday where they’re going to rip a tooth out of my head. Great. That’s another day that I won’t get to write. But, drugs, so okay.
More cover reveal checking, responding to messages, thankful that readers are loving it.
Call from CPA, fire to put out, decisions to make.
Finally, all is done, and I can open my working doc to get going on the book, four hours later than planned, and then, I get another call.
There are just some days that no matter what, the writing feels a million miles away. I get it. I sooooo get it. And don’t forget, when I started, I did it while working full time, at night, in an emergency room and also taking care of a family. I understand the way it feels to be dead on your feet, your brain cloudy from the noise of the day, and still have words to get in. And IT’S NOT EVEN YOUR JOB YET. No one is paying you, no one knows your name, or your story, and they don’t give two shits that some chick that lives in the suburbs has a story she wants to write. It’s just you and the page and a glass of wine and a prayer that the baby doesn’t wake up, no one gets sick, and you don’t get called in on your only day off of work so you can write.
Life is noisy. No matter what you do for a living, there is life to take care of.
But I make it work. My priorities are my loved ones, and I make sure they’re okay and that they have my attention. I put out all of the business fires, and then I carve out a space in the chaos to sit and get the words out. Turn off the wifi, set the phone on silent, and make it known that I’m in the cave. Because that’s what I do. I’m a writer.
It’s a busy, crazy, exciting life, and I wouldn’t change a minute of it. I just have to find the space in the day, every day, to make the words happen.
“The most important thing in writing is to have written. I can always fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank one.” –Nora Roberts