Monday, January 16, 2017

What Do You Do?

A great thing about being a full time writer, you can schedule those pesky appointments like the dentist and haircuts any day, any time. It's nice and relaxing, but those wonderful hairdressers and hygienists always want to make small talk.

"Are you off of work today? What are your plans for the rest of the day? Where do you work?

Now maybe I could do some marketing by sharing things about my job as a writer. But I really just want my teeth cleaned and my hair cut. People have so many misconceptions about writers and their jobs.

Yes, I work at home. A lot of people do that for their jobs full time or part time. I can work in my sweatpants or PJs. I can get a cup of coffee or glass of wine anytime I wish. But I'm still working.

Writing isn't a hobby. It's work and I do it almost everyday. Sometimes I think because so many people have to do at least some writing at their jobs, they believe writing is easier or less time consuming than it is. They are wrong.

“As far as I’m concerned, the entire reason for becoming a writer is not having to get up in the morning.” —Neil Gaiman 

Writers don't just write. We can't. There are too many other things we're responsible for if we want to make a living at this. (Or at least make some money.)  Submitting our work takes time both to research and prepare those query letters. Promotion and marketing, the bane of a writer's life, can be the biggest time suck of all. Writers who self published have even more work to do. Many writers have obligations to professional organizations they belong to such as writing groups.

So, I don't want to talk about my job when you have that sand blaster cleaning tool in my mouth, but I'm a full time writer and I work at home. Stop asking me.

“The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” ─ Robert Cormier

And the writing is going great. I started a new series on January first and already have written 30K in the first book. It's going great and I'm loving the story and characters. I know I'm going to cut a lot of what I've written out when I get to the second draft, but it's on the page for now.

“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so later I can build castles.” ─ Shannon Hale

At one time, perhaps 10 years ago, I considered getting my MFA. But I was too busy at the time to attend even a low residency program let alone suck up the cost with two children still in college. So I never did, but I know a number of writers who had great success with the manuscripts they developed while attending Seton Hill's MFA for writing popular fiction. Instead of focusing on literary like so many programs, they're not afraid to go with the genre fiction courses. An entirely online MFA program is offered by University of Texas, El Paso. I've seen good reviews on their program and might have considered it 10 years ago.

Does your dentist talk to you while they're poking around at your teeth? Do they learn that in dental school? Ever consider getting an MFA? Are you having a good January in writing?

25 comments:

  1. Wonderful insight of your life and thoughts. also loved the slogan verry apt I think.

    Yvonne.

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  2. You've written 30K already?! Wow. Many congrats on all the impressive progress so far!

    And I always dread small talk during dental appointments and such. My hairdresser has realized this about me, at the very least! Don't have to worry about chattiness then... XD

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  3. Since I still work a job, I just avoid mentioning the whole author bit.
    That is a lot of words so far this year!
    Must be something to Seton Hill's program. The one author I know for sure who did it got a couple big gigs right afterwards and now has an agent.

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  4. How neat with the writing you have accomplished so far this month! Dentists do have a way of expecting an answer when they have their hands in your mouth. Must be some social norm they think they have to do. I work at home, not as a writer, but people would say how fortunate and lucky I was to be able to do so. They didn't realize that it was still a job. I had to clock in and clock out. I just didn't have the commute, nor did I have to "dress for success."

    betty

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  5. Excellent that your writing is going so well! I'm in the revision trenches but so far, so good. :)

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  6. I know what you mean about the dentist. Stupid isn't it. Congrats on the writing for this month.

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  7. Occasionally the dentist will ask a question, but not often. That's fabulous that the writing is going well right now!

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  8. That is awesome you got 30K done. Yep, they all go on about it and how nice it must be or how they have that "million dollar" idea. Pfffft rather avoid it indeed.

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  9. Even when I had a 9-5 job, I still hated to discuss my work.

    I don't like to talk while they're working, but if I know I can't stop them, I switch tactics and ask them questions about their job and family. Works every time.

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  10. Love the Robert Cormier Quote ;)

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  11. Different strokes for different folks. Hairstylist have been known to be quite talkative. All the best with your writing.

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  12. Dentists always wait until you can't really respond to ask a question. And I get all sorts of odd and funny questions when I tell people I own a publishing company. The average non-writer has NO idea what that means.

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  13. I found a dentist who doesn't do that - it's really wild. She actually talks to me before she puts her hands in my mouth and waits for a reponse to any questions.
    I know what you mean about not wanting to talk about it. It's hard to explain to people that yes, I am working. It takes more than 20 minutes for a book to magically pop out of my head. Plus, I'm writing through and around regular life in my household - which includes part-time home-schooling - another activity that people seem to think includes magical time-turner properties (voila, lessons done in an hour! Ha! Not likely). Writing takes time. All the other stuff about writing takes time. Time is the most precious commodity.

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  14. Ha, I know this feeling all too well as a stay at home writer that schedules dentist appointments whenever I want and then has to try to explain what it is I do while getting my mouth probed. I don't know if it's just me, but any time I say "I'm a writer," the automatic response is NEVER that I write books. It's always, "Oh, so like, you're a journalist?"

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  15. I avoid talking about my writing if I can. I'm so bad about it. LOL Instead I'll talk about my day job. That's somehow easier.

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  16. I can't stand small talk. Everyone is always asking questions and it makes me super uncomfortable, even more so if it's about my writing. Sharing doesn't come easy for some people.

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  17. “The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” ─ Robert Cormier

    Hahahahaha. Brilliant.

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  18. Oh I SO know you are saying. At the risk of sounding anti-social, I must admit that I hate small talk - especially the ones that take place in a beauty salon.

    But then I always ALWAYS carry my Kindle, and most people take that subtle hint, and leave me alone. But some just start talking about the book. Which book? What is it about? Is it good?

    And normally I can't shut up about books, and it's among my most favorite subjects to chat about- I can just feel it when the other person isn't really interested, which is more often than not the case in these salons I go to.

    It is talk for the sake of talk - my least favorite kind of talk.

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  19. I do work outside the home as a programmer, but the small talk still gets to me. :)

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  20. My January is all about reclaiming time. I'm giving up volunteer tasks, rearranging schedules, setting new priorities, and turning my focus to writing, revising, and book promotion for one coming out in November. I'm even taking back some time for reading, painting, and playing with the furry beasts who live here. Most of my work is done at home, so I've purchased a pkg of ear plugs to combat the noise from my next-door drummer (he plays in the garage right under my office window). :D

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  21. I generally reply that I am very grateful I don't have to scrape the ice off my windshield, then maneuver icy roads on the way to work. But I let them know that the downsize is I often work 18 hour days and end up using a back brace so I can walk. They stop and think about that one.

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  22. Sounds like you've got the year off to a great start, at any rate. I work at home but do editing for my full-time job, so I tend to mention that instead if people ask me. I've never felt comfortable talking about my writing to people I don't know. And dentists and haircuts - I'm just going to get something done I don't really enjoy and I just want to get in and out!

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  23. All dentists do that, don't they? They must conspire with the servers who ask questions about your food right after you've taken a bite.

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