Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Me and my Timing

So... How 'bout my timing, huh?

After thinking and contemplating over where to go next... I've decided to go ahead and submit my work to the Edit Fast novel writing contest... Of course, this gives me about, oooh, five days to get everything ready for submission.

Am I crazy?!

Absolutely. But that's irrelevant.

I'm not so silly as to think that a manuscript I've been working on for more than six years will magically be finished with time to spare in four days and 22 hours...

So, I highly doubt that my manuscript will be submission-worthy by that time. I can try - but I will likely fall completely on my head once Saturday's Dungeons and Dragons group gets here. So, since they do hold a contest every four months, I will be entering into a contest of theirs - just not the one for August :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Official age of Old

Ugh... My birthday.

This year is hitting me harder than most years. I'm 35 now.


Two years ago when my husband turned 35 - he deemed that as the official "age of old". Of course, now he is regretting that conversation - now that he knows I remember it and that, since it applied to him, it must now apply to me as well.

I'm officially at the age of old... still not published. This is just not my year.

Of course, I know that it's not too late. Pfft, I've probably got another, well, 47 years before I really have to worry.

Why 47? Because that would put me inline with Myrrha Stanford-Smith who, if you'll remember from last year's news, received a three-book deal to publish her trilogy at 82 years young.

So - not too late, not yet. But still, the clock is definitely ticking and the years are going by faster and faster. Maybe I'll feel better about being 35 sometime after I've been published. Or maybe after I give up on the fight against fine lines and wrinkles (no gray hairs just yet... but I'm sure they're plotting).

For now I'll try to get by with simply looking at this as the snooze alarm to my wake up call... Time to get writing!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kiss Your Spare Time Goodbye

Earlier, I had described why this manuscript sat unfinished - forgotten in a sea of files left on my computer.

And, as you can likely tell, it's still happening. Even with the new status as a necessity, I'm straining to find the time to finish it. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

I know, it's so clich├ęd to use that excuse - and far overdone. Though, that really only makes this complaint sound trite - not any less true.

The sad fact is, I just have too many necessities going on right now. Clearly I need a better way of prioritizing my life or things just aren't going to be done. I just don't know where to start with that. So how do you set writing aside as a priority when it's really little more than a glorified hobby?

I mean, at least at this point, writing this novel is not producing any money. And there's no real guarantee that it ever will. There is a very strong possibility that once I finish this novel it may never be published in the fashion that I am hoping. And an even stronger possibility that if it does get published, it will be purchased by about ten people.

Ugh, ten people. Do I even know ten people? Make that eight.

At any rate, so now I need to physically make writing a priority. Clearly, it can't be placed ahead of other things, like my income-generating job or my family. But certainly it's more important than some of my other projects that I have going on?

So, here are some tricks that I have been able to put into place over the past several weeks. Clearly there are still a few bumps in the road that I need to work on... But, as you can likely tell by my return here, these tricks have been helping me prioritize a bit and get the time back where I needed it to go - to my writing.

  • Step One - Admit that Life Happens.

  • First, Life Happens. Well, duh. Life is always going to happen. Life is always going to fight for my time. There is never going to be a great time to be a writer for me - that time left back when I was in high school and filling our my spare time with naps, the cross country team and cheerleading practice. Now, spare time doesn't exist.

    That's not just for me, that's true of anyone post-school. Upon graduating school - whether it be with a diploma or a degree - kiss your spare time goodbye because that is something handed out only to students.

    And it took me a long time to recognize and accept this... too long. Now it's time that I stop making that a reason to procrastinate. There is no spare time - so there's no way to wait until I have spare time to work on my writing.

    There, simple, right?

  • Step Two - Carve out a schedule

  • This might be one of those deals where it's easier said than done. The problem with this little step is that as of right now, I work from home. And as such - people already have a really hard time remembering that while I am working I am working.

    So my best guess is that whenever I am at the computer writing, the same interruptions and distractions will apply as they do now when I'm working. And I mean all sorts of distractions - not just the little ones.

    "Oh, well, you're home anyway so I called the electrician and made an appointment for him to come by on Thursday and told him you'd meet him there since I won't be home."

    Seriously? Okay - that's for a whole new rant so I will stop now. But, yes, this next step entailed writing, with as much detail as possible, everything that I do within a given week and finding out where I can cut back on another project to devote that time to writing. Essentially carving time out of my schedule - not something that is easily done, by the way. But, by rearranging a few other projects and carving a little time from them, I did manage to find anywhere from one to three extra hours a week that I can devote to writing.

    So, you hear that appointment-maker? Devoted to writing... not maintaining your appointments. Which brings me to the next step:

  • Step Three - Enforce my Schedule

  • I have always been soft and flexible when it comes to my schedule. Clients email me on a day that I wasn't working and I would hop onto the computer and get to working on their issues. It didn't matter if it was two in the morning and all they needed was to have a typo fixed - I was there and hopping online to find and fix that renegade typo.

    Now, reenforcing an actual schedule is proving to be a challenge. For so long, my clients have been able to write or call me at any time for changes, updates, and general support and I have been overly accommodating. Now as I try to explain the changes in my schedule and let them know that I will not be available during certain times, well, they aren't really taking too well to that. Don't get me wrong, they aren't being rude about it or anything like that. In fact, most of them actually like the idea that I am trying so hard to uphold a more defined schedule so that I can fit other sorts of projects in.

    But, it's still rather inconvenient for them; and they still sometimes forget and send me those text messages at two in the morning. But, then again, I still have trouble not answering said texts.

    Definitely have a little work to do before this step is done correctly - but I'm getting there.

  • Step Four - Hire Myself

  • I know, right? If I'm so willing to take a text at two in the morning from a client, then why can't I motivate myself to take on a few extra tasks at the end of the day for myself?

    I don't know about you, but for me the only time I jump through hoops to get my writing done is in November... It's time that I started doing things like that every time I have a writing project that I want to finish.

    And, that about sums it up. I'm sure there are about half a dozen other ways that writers have found to help them prioritize their hobby-like writing over certain aspects of life... But so far these are the steps that have really helped me.

    So now all that's left to do is to go out and get a hoop ;)