It’s so easy to get bogged down when trying to promote ourselves as writers as well as sell our books. Marketing, book tours, newsletters, weekly blogs – the list goes on! It seems author promotion is as time-consuming as writing stories. While author promotion is necessary, we as writers cannot forget the one thing that makes us…well writers. And that is writing. With technology at our fingertips, it seems like our stories just write themselves and the Print button just magically hits itself with freshly printed 300-something pages of the Great American novel. Well…no that doesn’t happen! We have to make that happen.
Whether you’re querying to agents/editors, or just counting down the days to that long-awaited release date of your fabulous book, you need to keep the pen to the paper. Writing is, of course, the reason we decided to become authors in the first place, no? Musicians and songwriters have to constantly keep producing songs and albums, or they’ll end up as just another ‘One Hit Wonder’. Authors have to do the same, or they fall into the same hole. Of course, if just want to write one novel and nothing after that, that’s completely fine. For those that want to quit their day jobs and write full-time, they have to keep going. Writing is how you improve your skills and keep your story-telling juices flowing. The longer you go without writing, the harder it is get back in the groove. And eventually, you will forget how to craft great stories.
Now you don’t have to write stories everyday or every week. Let’s say you’ve written a novel (fully edited) and currently querying your manuscript. You could develop another story in that time. Just jotting notes about the plot, setting and the characters is writing practice. Even a hundred words a day or every two days is better than no words a week. Whatever it is, just put that pen to the paper and write!
I’m working on a novel and a novella, as well as attending school full-time. I know that I can only get a little done here and there. A friend I met a RWA 2013 told me that she writes during her lunch break, which I found pretty impressive. I’m not able to do that, I do the following:
- write for an hour here, an hour there
- bring my laptop everywhere I go and write while I’m waiting for a class, etc.
- remind myself that I have my own writing style and stick to it
- remind myself, ‘write the book first, then worry about selling/promoting afterwards’
Simple things like these can keep you on track and remind you that your main priority should always be writing.