Maintaining Steam As A Fulltime Author

From Women Writers, Women’s Books:

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning” This quote often attributed to William Faulkner has become a staple in my approach when building my fulltime career as an author.

When I took the leap to follow my dream of becoming an author five years ago, I did so in the same manner in which I would approach a new career of any sort and I invested in myself. Granted an author’s career seldom takes off like a rocket and is much more akin to a slow burn.

Thus, the result of effort put in is far from immediate. If you are looking for instant gratification, you may wish to try your hand somewhere other than writing novels.

But if you are committed to the scenic route of building a career, I hope these practices will help keep you moving down the road toward a life as a fulltime author.

Show up each morning ready to work

This may seem obvious but the idea of an author lounging in their PJ’s comes up in conversation more often than you’d think. It seems many in the non-writing world have a notion that we writers, roll out of bed and stumble to the coffee pot before sitting at our desk to write the day away in brilliant fashion.

For me though, I don’t drink coffee and I rarely begin my writing day without first having taken care of the “life stuff”. You know the “life stuff”? The stuff that all of us, no matter what profession we have chosen must complete. The exercise routine, feeding the dog and the family, showering and dressing for the day, and all the other little things we cram into the hours when we aren’t at work.

Set a writing schedule

Right on the heels of showing up ready to work is the idea of having a set start and end time to your writing schedule. I prefer to write in the morning but life doesn’t always work out that way so I have learned to be flexible, but even my flexibility is scheduled. I plan each upcoming week the Sunday before the week begins and schedule my writing time just as I would a doctor’s appointment or a family commitment.

Setting an end time for your writing is just as crucial for maintaining balance in the rest of your life. Whether it is a word goal or a time goal, knowing how long you will be in writing mode each day is a blessing on good writing days and a forced imprisonment on the not so good writing days. But as you’ve likely heard a thousand times, “you can’t edit a blank page” so what you can do is sit down and write.

Read within your genre

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Read outside your genre

Link to the rest at Women Writers, Women’s Books