Monday, June 4, 2018

Separating the writing from the rest

So the basic premise for this week's topic is how do you separate the writing from the rest of your world. How much time goes to the writing versus everything else?

What do I mean?

I mean, if you're in a relationship, when do you stop writing and take care of the relationship? When you've got other things to do, when do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the muse?

For me thats easy. I've been at this for over twenty-five years, and at the end of the day, with very few exceptions, I write every day. I may wait until I'm done with the day job (often) I may have to do a few things on the Honey-Do list (also often) and I might want to take a break and see a movie or hang out with my friends (also often) but at the end of the day, I have to get my writing done, It's my career. It's not a hobby that occasionally pays bills, though it has been that very thing, it's not a part time job to covered my insurance ( that's the day job as Starbucks), it's my career. that means I pay my dues same as anyone going to their day job does. Want a roof over your head? Better get writing. Want dinner every day of the week? Sit your butt down and hit the keyboard.

Sometimes, if I need to make my deadlines and I want to see friends, etc, I sacrifice sleep. not the first time, and I promise it won't be the last. If something has to give, I can promise it won't be my writing.

Some writers, a lot of writers, manage most of the actual act of writing in maybe 2 hours a day. the rest of their writing time is spent handling business. there are calls to make, networking to do, agents and editors to chat with. There's another manuscript to edit/ there's that outline for the novel you already write but never actually did a proper proposal for. There're a dozen different aspects tot he writing gig that HAVE to be handled, regardless of whether or not they get in the way of the actual writing process. They don't wait.

Currently I am between contracted novels.  What does that mean? It mens I just secured the cover for my next reprint coming out from Haverhill House Publications in July. It means I've got a short story to write by the 15th, a novella to finish wring with my coauthor Charles Rutledge (he's waiting on me), I have a a novel proposal and sample chapters I'm working on. I have three seperate novels that I would like to finish in the next month or two. All three are MOSTLY finished  but that isn't completely finished no matter how hard I might wish. They were all stopped at different points for different reasons but I want to finish them soon. I'm still reading through the seven hundred stories received for the Twisted Book of Shadows Anthology. There's another anthology that I need to get to work on soon.  Convention season is coming up, and I have to prepare for that. There are more novels I need to plan and at least two novellas I need to finish, preferably before October, and any day now I'll be getting back the editor's notes on the last book in the TIDES OF WAR series.  every week I stop what I'm doing and try to knock out an article for SFF7 and oh, yeah, whenever possible I do a Three Guys With Beards Podcast with Jonathan Maberry and Christopher Golden.

And, of course, I have a lovely girlfriend I like to spend time with every day, because I'm sort of addicted to her.

Life is always going to get in the way. The job is the job and my career is my career. I want to make a living. I want to have a few luxuries like a roof over my head, food in my belly, gas for the car. Now and then I have to say no to a movie, or getting together for dinner with the gang. It's not even a question.

This is my career. This, right here, the writing. If my friends don't want to hear it, well, I don't always like when they go to their 9-5 jobs either but fecal matter happens. There are a few people I used to be closer with. They decided my writing was a nuisance. I decided they could feel anyway they wanted to as long as they didn't get in the way of my writing.

If I was standing between them and their house payment, or feeding their families or tending to the necessities of their chosen careers, I would expect the same treatment in return.

Does that sound mercenary?

Well, here's another one for you: I do what I love for a living. I do what I have to to pay my bills. Unless someone is coming along and offering to cover my expenses for me, that will never change. I love what I do and if I have to I'll fight to protect it.

There ya go. That's my answer.