Wednesday, November 6, 2013

IWSG: The Writing Life

Much thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for being the creative mastermind of this wonderful, very active group called the Insecure Writer's Support Group. You'll find lots of support, advice and the chance to offer support to other writers. Also, you can join the blog or facebook group belonging to the IWSG.

Most writers also hold days jobs, busy earning money to pay the bills. A few of my writer friends are stay at home moms which is a very demanding job choice. I've been fortunate to take on the title of full time writer for the last few months. It's the best job I've ever had. And like most careers, the longer I'm at it, the better I get at it. I'm not talking about my writing, though I hope it is continually improving.

One thing I've learned to do is set personal goals. I've never participated in NaNo and probably never will, but I set writing goals for each week and determine an end date for each project. Sometimes a deadline from one of my editors determines my goal. Having a very specific goal insures I'll sit down and write because that is my job.

I've learned that despite all the actual time I get for writing, I can still resent interruptions. But I've also learned to fit many other chores in while I'm writing. I can toss a load of laundry over to the dryer at the end of a page. I run the vacuum when I'm working through a scene that's giving me fits. I ponder my promotional efforts while I'm jogging. And I have all day.

When I first started writing and dreamed of doing it full time, I entertained fantasies of what that would be like. A pot of tea at my elbow, just me and the computer, perhaps in a cozy cottage in the woods with gardens of flowers lining the bricked patio. Well the pot of tea sometimes sits on my desk. But the flowers surrounding my sprawling country home need weeding. And my office sometimes looks like a bus depot there are so many people walking through. But it's still wonderful.

What expectations or dreams did you have of the writing life that have not come true or that have? Is it better than you hoped or hasn't it measured up to those early fantasies? Do you set personal goals or do you prefer something like NaNo that challenges you to  a level of achievement? Have you visited other IWSGers? Did you check out the IWSG blog?



29 comments:

  1. I still haven't got that first novel published :(

    I've dreamed of being a full time writer. My day job has been eliminated at the end of this year and for a couple weeks I was glad. I can take the unemployment and sit home and write.

    Well, I'm job hunting again, lol. I'm not sure I'm cut out for that life at this time. But, I'll see how it all goes in the next couple months :)

    Ya know, when you talked about flower gardens lining the walls my first thought was "wow, that'd be a lot of work to keep up and would interfere with writing." Hmm, seems like you had the same thought, lol.

    ........dhole

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  2. I would love to be a full time writer, though I can't see it happening for a long time yet! I love doing things like NaNoWriMo because it makes me feel like a full time writer, even if I'm tired doing it alongside work!
    When I'm not doing NaNo, I still set myself goals for my writing.

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  3. It's not exactly what you expected, but glad you are adapting and enjoying it anyway!
    I didn't expect all the friends I would make. Or any real success. Both are bonus!

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  4. I'm doing a better job of setting monthly writing goals for myself, but I'm also doing NaNo and I always find that helps me get and stay on track.

    This month is my first time doing an IWSG post!

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  5. I've been writing full-time for the past month (on top of freelancing and interning) and it's been great! I enjoy goal-setting and always have at least two projects on the go. I'm still living at home but I'd love my writing to be my main income at some point in the future!

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  6. Oh life and its curve balls. Yup, yup have had a few. It's OK. I hold to the vision, make the adjustments I need to and trust God with the details. The rest I let go.:)

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  7. Personal goals--sounds like a good plan. I need to focus more on that.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  8. What a great, hopeful post! Congratulations on LIVING this dream. I'm so happy for you, and so hopeful that one day, soon, I'll be able to use all of this excellent advice to help me write full-time.

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  9. It's been a roller coaster for me too. I had three contracts with two different publishers, and both folded before publication.

    But the learning experience was worth it. This writer's life ain't easy!

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  10. I had visions of being interviewed on Larry King and Charlie Rose. Well, there's still hope for Charlie, but Larry's do something weird about pain pills. Never done NaNo and don't care if I do. Goal? To keep writing. Early Fantasies? Well, publishing didn't fix all my problems like I thought it would. LOL.

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  11. Setting goals is so important. I'm doing Nano this month. I've found it helps me push past the first draft stage. Editing and revising is my favorite part of the process, but I've got to have something to work on.

    When I first started writing I felt possessed. Had to get those words on the page. I thought it would always be like that. It's not. It's hard work sometimes just to make myself sit down and do it. And like Joylene said above, getting published didn't make me as happy as I thought it would.

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  12. Donna, so true about the flowers. Good luck with NaNo, Laura, Madeline and Charity. Welcome to IWSG, Madeline.
    All the online friends surprised me too, Alex, though I don't have near as many as you.
    I know what you mean, Joylene. Sorry to hear about your publishers, Jay.

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  13. Writing has its ups and downs, like any job. In some ways, it's been better than I hoped. Some day I'd like to earn more than my social security. Don't see that happening any time soon, but the freedom to write is almost worth it.

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  14. I could be a full time writer if I wanted to. But I don't seem to operate that way. The same goes with setting personal goals. They don't work for me. I will be very prolific and then not write anything much for long periods of time, even years. It used to bother me. I used I couldn't possibly be a writer because I don't write every day. But I got over that. Despite my somewhat sporadic schedule I continue to produce stuff.

    I do have a dream, though, of have my own space, a room I don't have to share and my own computer too. :)

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  15. I do what I call Start-Stop writing. I think and then I write. And then I think some and write some more. That thinking time mostly consists of What Needs To Happen To Propel My Plot or Who Is This Character and What Motivates Him/Her. Once I figure those things out I am back to writing. Would I do better with Word Count goals? Maybe. I don't know.

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  17. Writing full time would be wonderful, but I don't have any exact dreams about I would live it out. I do set writing goals, but they are very lax. I find I tend to stress myself out with too many deadlines. Thank you for sharing a bit of your story.

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  18. I'm doing NaNo because it helps me stick to a goal. I do love deadlines that I don't set myself.

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  19. See, multi-tasking is an essential skill for every job. :) I'm constantly interrupted during my writing time, whether it's at work or at home. I get frustrated sometimes, too, but then just try to remind myself that it's all part of the job. Happy writing!

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  20. I have found myself in a position to write all the time if I should choose do to so. However, I'm not taking advantage of the situation like I should be. I'm planning on changing that now that I have recognized it. Wish me luck! Maybe you can teach me how to set some goals. :D

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  21. Sounds like heaven! Glad you're enjoying being a full-time writer. And while the cozy cottage in the woods sounds divine, I'll take writing anywhere.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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  22. You are so inspirational!! I still have so many mixed feelings about my writing. Guess there's no way to overcome that but to just do it. Right?

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  23. Yes, writing and life is such a great balancing act. I love how you toss in a load of laundry at the end of a page. I find for me, I let chores get in the way of writing. I need to learn how to balance this better and not put sweeping the floors as a top priority. Floors can wait, sometimes inspiration cannot. Great IWSG post. :)

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  24. I think we all have a starry-eyed version of a writing career when we first start out. Turns out even though reality is harder, it's also better! Such is life :)

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  25. I'll let you know when I start my own full-time writing life in January. Meanwhile, I really love hearing about your routine.

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  26. I technically because a full time writer when I retired a couple years ago but I haven't found the productivity I was expecting. I fear I'm too deadline driven. In my former life there were lots of deadlines, everyone needing something right away. Now the only one setting deadlines or goals for me is me and it seems my own goals are far to easy to ignore.

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  27. I do wish I could write full-time but that isn't a reality yet and I do know I should set more goals and stick with them.

    Glad you're happy with what you're doing.

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  28. I never really had expectations. Still don't. Things change too much all the time.

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  29. Hi Susan,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. I appreciate it!

    This is a wonderful post. I'm writing part time/working an outside job part time. My biggest woe has been trying to tackle the break in my writing days. Just as I get on a writing roll, I have to go to the outside job. It's frustrating and takes me a bit to get back into the groove of writing...just in time to go back to work! *le sigh*

    Thanks to this post, I'm going to set about making a schedule of goals each week for my writing. Thanks for lighting that fire under my chair!

    Nice to meet you!
    Jen

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