The answer used to be easy: blog. I used to blog fairly regularly about my writing process and progress.
Of course, that was before I had any readers.
And that’s the problem. Once I became conscious—or rather, self-conscious—about pleasing my readers, I felt shy about sharing my struggles to write. As long as I was an aspiring writer, I could moan on my blog, “I goofed off today. Instead of writing, I ate ice cream while watching a Buffy the Vampire Slayer marathon on Netflix instead of writing.”
But now, were I to confess that in public, I imagine angry fans shouting at their computers, “What? You lazy wench! Why aren’t you working on the sequel!”
So I fell silent.
I still feel shy, but I’ve decided to try blogging again, even if it means showing my hair in curlers before the ball. Even if it means that my readers will realize there are some days when I stare all day at my computer, unable to write, or that I might be re-writing the same damn scene for the thirteenth time in a month because I just can’t seem to get it right.
I’m also going to try reviewing books… in public. On my blog. The fact is, I read about twenty novels a month, and I keep a Book Log with my own private reviews. I’ve never shared them, because I don’t like giving a book less than four stars publically. Maybe that’s a silly attitude. I’ve decided to compromise, and at least share the 4 and 5 star books that I’ve enjoyed.
I realized that it might be helpful to other writers to see what at least one full time (sometimes part time) writer does with her time. All writers are different, so it doesn’t say anything about what a full time writer should be doing with her time.
You see, my philosophy is that a writer needs to do more than write. Other things are absolutely as critical to developing a strong writing career. Here are a few of the things I might discuss on my blog—t hings I do regularly because they improve my writing.
- Fiction: As I said I read about twenty books a month, and many of those are novels in the same genres I write or am trying to learn to write.
- Non-fiction: I also read widely in many fields, including history, science, psychology, sociology, biography and travel. Many times the non-fiction I read is directly related to research I’m doing for a given novel, but I also read non-fiction for fun. Even if I can’t see any relevance to my immediate writing, non-fiction is often where I glean new ideas for future stories.
- How To Write: I continually search for new books on Writing Technique at all levels… from how to construct beautiful sentences, to how to outline a novel.
- Book Log: I keep track of what I read and what I thought of it.
- Television & Movies: Yeah, you heard me. Watching Game of Thrones and Lost Girl is part of my job. I have to keep up with my genre in all media, not just in novels. Didn’t I mention I have the best job in the world? Of course, I do this in the evening, not during my work day.
- Outlining,Worldbuilding & Research: I’ve become an avid outliner, but even before I learned how to plan my plots in advance, I still had to spend a lot of time before I was ready to dive into a novel doing research and worldbuilding.
- Writing: The best part of writing is… writing! I LOVE this part! I have the best job in the world!
- Editing & Revising: But a book isn’t done until it’s been torn apart scene by scene and sentence by sentence and polished until I can see my reflection in it.
- Co-Writing & Co-Editing: I also have a couple co-writers with whom I’m collaborating or for whom I’m editing.
This is all on the “Writing” side of the business. All of these activities are directly related to (a) learning to master my craft, (b) keeping abreast of developments in the genre, and (c) creating new works.
Since a writer is an entrepreneur, there’s also the Management & Marketing side of the business. But that’s a huge area in and of itself, and therefore the topic of another day’s post. Just keep in mind that everything I’ve listed above is half my job.