Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pacing Yourself As A Writer

When I published the first Warden and Sensation novels around May of 2013, I was more than a little nervous. I really didn't know what to expect and was completely unsure of the reception my books would receive. Fortunately, audiences seemed to like my work (which was very encouraging, to say the least), and I was blessed to have a moderate amount of success early on. Moreover, that success continued through the release of additional books - six in all - through the end of 2013.

In retrospect, releasing 6 books (3 novels, 2 novellas and one short story) over an 8-month span sounds fairly productive on the surface. However, I can't help but notice that it's taking me longer and longer to write books. Prior to releasing Infiltration in late December, my previous release was the second book in the Warden series in early October. That's almost three months between releases. For me, that's just way too long.

Of course, I'm not saying that every author has to crank out a new book every four weeks or anything like that. In fact, there are people who will only put out one or two per year and that will be plenty for them. For me personally, however, a new book every three months will probably mean that I'll never get to tell all the stories that I want to, and I guess that's what it's really about. I feel like a-book-a-quarter won't let me get out all of the novels that are runing around in my head.

Bearing all that in mind, I think it's important to establish a pace as an author. Whether you define that as writing 1000 words per day, typing 60 words per minute, or something else, I think it's vital to your success to find a consistent approach to writing. In fact, it's probably less about pace and more about routine. Writing needs to be an ingrained pattern, like waking up at the same time every day, always having your morning cup of joe, etc. It needs to become a habit, whereby you are unfulfilled if you don't do it on a daily basis.

Needless to say, there will be barriers to establishing a routine. A day job can often play havoc with your schedule, as will other personal and professional issues (illness, work-related travel, etc.). However, if you are trying to establish writing as your career, you will have to treat it like a business and prioritze it in such a way that - despite almost anything else going on in your life - it still gets done.

In essence, if being an author is your dream, you have to find a way to make it come true - which may require extra effort on your part. Maybe you need to get up an hour earlier and go to bed an hour later. Maybe you need to invest in a laptop. Maybe you need to type on your lunch break. Whatever it is, you need to figure out what's going to work for you and allow you to operate at a pace and within a routine that will encourages you to be as efficient as possible.

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