Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Writer Will Take Your Questions Now (#22) -- Punching the Clock

How many hours a day do you write on average? -- John Morgan Neal

Not enough. I'd love to be able to say that I sit down at nine and work until four or five and get in my eight hours of solid work, but that would be a huge lie -- huge as in large enough to trample Toyko and battle Mothra.

The simple truth is that I write as much as I can, whatever that happens to be. When you write full-time, there are always a thousand distractions to tear you away from the keyboard. I still have to deal with the bill collectors and phone calls from family just like everyone else. And when you supplement that writing income with other revenue streams (like Web design and freelance editing jobs), you really begin to appreciate those juggling lessons that you got in clown school at Ringling Bros. University.

I have found that if I leave the house to write, for example going to the "office away from home," i.e., Starbucks, I tend to get more writing done because I'm away from the distractions. (But that can also get expensive, so it's a tradeoff.)

Then, on top of all that, you also have the non-writing stuff that is part of your job as a writer, the stuff that helps to keep your name out there in front of people (for those of us without our own team of publisher-paid public relations folks and marketers). There are all kinds of things like that to deal with: press releases, posting to promotional outlets, doing interviews, drumming up new business from editors, etc.

So... all that to say, if I can get a solid three-four hours of pure, unadulterated fiction-writing time in each day, I consider that day a resounding success.