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Posts tagged ‘blogs’

Are You Writing or Working?

Yesterday I was talking to a friend when she said, “I’ve finished writing for the day. Now I have to go to work.”
Excuse me?
I’ve heard variations on this so often that I feel a blog is needed.


I was also inspired by today’s post by Ebony McKenna – – on the Melbourne Romance Writers’ Guild blog, where she says:

…perhaps it’s time to step back for a moment and have a think. Do you write for fun? Excellent. Keep doing it. Does the thought of sending your story out into the world, to be ripped apart by critics kill you inside? Good then, don’t do that. Do the bit you love, without the other stuff. The pressure stuff, that will suck all the joy from your hobby.

She’s right of course. Hobbyist painters can happily paint for their own enjoyment without expecting the Louvre to come knocking. Singers join choirs, and actors volunteer with local drama societies, giving pleasure to huge numbers. Why can’t writers enjoy writing as a hobby?

Many do, of course. Some writing groups let members read work aloud for the satisfaction of sharing their words. You can write journals, competition entries, blogs, family histories. As Ebony says, “Don’t get drawn into the competitive nature of writing as a full time job. Write for the pure, simple joy it brings you. Write for yourself. Write to feed your heart.”

But if feeding your heart isn’t enough and you want to be published, you have to start seeing your writing as real work. You need to learn all you can about the craft and stay current with the publishing industry. All while writing regularly, around a day job, family commitments and life in general.

After writing over 80 published books plus film scripts, novellas, articles, short stories and blog posts; assessing work by my “minions” in the Valerie Parv Award;as well as words for promotional copy and cover blurbs, I guarantee it’s work with a capital W.

And it never stops.

Unlike most jobs, a writer’s work follows us everywhere, interrupting sleep, restaurant meals, holidays and TV programs. We spend half our working lives waiting – for editors, for publication, reviews, sales…while wrestling with the next project. As I said in my last blog, writing is one of the toughest gigs around.

Hobby or work? It all depends on why you write, and where you dream of going.

Why do you write? I look forward to sharing your comments here.


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First Monday Mentoring – don’t forget to enjoy writing

It’s the first Monday of the month (or the first Sunday if you’re in the northern hemisphere). You’re invited to ask writing-related questions here for me to answer. Your thoughts and writing experiences may also help others.

Questions posted ahead of time will be answered during Monday November 5.

Sometimes the questions go past Monday into the week, and that’s okay too.

To kick things off, here’s a question I was  asked at the RWA conference in August: writers have so much to do with all the blogging, tweeting and other social networking,  getting work ready to pitch to editors and agents at conference, designing and promoting your books if you’re indie published (and even if you’re with an established publisher)…it never seems to stop. When do we get to enjoy the writing process itself?

This is a good question, and one we need to address if we’re not to burn out

First, accept that you can’t do everything. If you hate doing live blog tours, don’t commit to days or weeks of them. Can the blog owner send you some questions you can answer in your own time? If you love Twitter and hate Facebook, focus on building your Twitter following. You’ll need a Facebook presence, but you don’t have to be online every minute or even every day. Aim for most days.

Put a value on your time

This was one of the earliest lessons I learned as a freelance writer. Work out roughly what your time is worth per hour, easy enough if you have or had a day job. If you can hire someone to handle your website while you write, that may be a fair trade. Business people don’t think of doing all their own grunt work – why should writers? Farm out gardening, laundry, anything you can afford, freeing up more time to write. This also helps you to see yourself as professional, and less likely to fritter away precious writing time.

Most of all, remember why you want to write

The one thing every publisher, editor and agent asked for at conference was “a good story”. They want to read the adventures, romances and fantasies bubbling away inside you. A perfect lawn won’t make those stories happen. Only you can do that, and it must be important to you or you wouldn’t have chosen to write. Tell the stories only you can write, and let yourself enjoy the experience. As little as an hour a day can make your dreams happen. Everything else other than precious family time can wait or be delegated.

Agree? Have questions or other thoughts? First Monday Mentoring is the place to share what’s on your mind.


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First Monday Mentoring August, are we writing too much?

August already, where did the time go? 

The first Monday of each month is when you can ask your writing-related questions and I’ll do my best to answer. Questions can be posted ahead of time and I’ll answer during Monday August 6.  I monitor the blog and post answers throughout the day.  Sometimes discussions go past Monday into the week, and that’s OK too.

First I’d like to ASK a question – are we writing too much?

With all the blogs, interviews, articles and courses about writing out there, plus the vast number of “indie” published books for sale, there has never been more choice of writing or information about the craft.

Some information is amazing. You can access practically every editor and agent in the business. You can ask questions, make comments, take part in discussions. You can also chat with your favourite authors, review books and read reviews by others.  So how do you sort out what’s useful?

Here are my three tips:

1. Look at who’s giving the advice.

Are they published? In what markets? Are their books successful? If the answers are mostly yes, you know they speak from experience. You don’t have to agree with everything, but it’s worth your time to consider.

2. Is the advice written on tablets of stone?

If it is, approach with caution. The best teachers of writing recommend using what you find useful and leaving the rest. I’m  wary

of anyone who suggests there’s only one way to write. There are as many ways as their are writers.

3. Is the information current?

In a landscape where changes are occurring daily, you need to know the advice you’re relying on is up to date.. Even better if it’s forward looking and willing to explore where we might go from here.

What do you look for in workshops, how-to books and writing advice? What are you not getting but would like to?

Let First Monday Mentoring begin. Feel free to post about these or any other aspects of writing, I’ll do my best to answer.


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