What is The Writing Life?

Last week life got a bit hectic and I let it get to me, so I didn’t get a post out. Looking back at it now, the actual reason for not having a post last Monday was that I didn’t put time aside for the blog. Instead of working on the blog, I got work done on my writing project, did some reading, and took care of the extra bits life threw at me. Although I could have worked on the blog over the weekend, the hubby and I had tickets to see Bob the Drag Queen perform at Provincetown Town Hall, so off we went for an overnight in Provincetown.

Before leaving for Provincetown, I told myself that I’d done some good work on the novel and that I would put out a post later in the week. Well, that didn’t happen either. The post I came up with for “later in the week” is the post you’re reading now, which came out the following Monday. Sigh. One goal met and the other pushed aside. Such is the writing life.

Bob’s show was a mixture of stand up comedy and drag, which was very enjoyable. We had side balcony seats and a great view.

The picture below of Bob isn’t the best because I zoomed in when taking it. Zooming in with a phone camera is never a good idea, and this is why. However, it’s the only picture I have of Bob, so it will have to do.

Bob the Drag Queen Provincetown Town Hall
Bob the Drag Queen Provincetown Town Hall

The Writing Life

To take part in the writing life you must be able to give your writing precedence over being social. This means fewer parties, not hanging out with friends as much, and less free time. It’s not quite the life of a hermit, but it’s pretty damn close. Some would call it reclusive.

The amount of time spent writing depends on the amount of free time each person has outside of working an actual job. Let’s face it, we all need a job that pays the bills, and that job has to come first. It also helps if your job is something you have an interest in and enjoy doing.

I don’t approach writing as a vocation. I think of it as something I do that sometimes makes money.

After the time spent being employed, the remaining hours in the day are up for grabs. Some chores can be put to the side, depending on your level of cleanliness, and some minor home repairs may have to take a back-seat. That leaky pipe will get fixed, but a room or two may not get painted for another few weeks or months. It all depends on how you manage time and what life throws your way.

The Rub

While the writing life is mainly about being less social in order to complete your project, there’s a downside to that: you need to live. That’s right, if you don’t experience life, you can’t write about it. When I say experience life, I’m talking about going to festivals, art openings, plays, music events, etc… Take a class, join a social group, meet people.

The problem is, you need to fit this into your life while making time to write every day. I know, it’s not easy. We all have busy lives, so you need to find time, maybe once a month, to get out and live. And while you’re out experiencing life, take some pictures to  get some inspiration for your current project or a story you may write in the future.

Don’t Talk About Your Writing Project

The best way to kill your writing project is to talk to other people about it. For some unknown reason, nothing kills a story idea faster than telling other people about it.  I’m sure there are other interesting aspects of your life you can share with others, so choose wisely.

My Basic Rules for Finishing a Writing Project

Writing takes time a patience, especially if you’re working on anything longer than 40,000 words. The best you can do is follow these three simple rules and hope your creativity holds out.

  1. Write daily
  2. Set a daily word count and stick with it
  3. Don’t work on revisions until the first draft is complete.

This is solid advice, although I’ve been known to hit a snag halfway through the first draft, make the revisions I’ve jotted notes on, then finish the first draft once I hit where I stopped. It’s not something I suggest people do, but I have to be honest about my bad habits.

I have other writing tips in my post The Care and Feeding of the Creative Process.

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