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Other writers have asked me how I get so much writing, blogging, etc. done. This often makes me feel like a fraud—I don’t feel like I’m doing very well. Comparison can be a dangerous thing. Someone is always more successful or less so than we are, at whatever we think of as success.
But I am committed to writing. Whether I sell it or not is a different subject. However, let’s discuss what works for me.
First, set aside time. I’m very blessed to not have to work full time. That means I get up in the morning and write, or do writing related business. Let me explain the latter since it comes in many forms. It could be research for a project or for finding an agent or editor, catching up on reading newsletters or blogs focused on writing, working on a student lesson, submitting or querying projects, updating spreadsheets, critiquing for a client or work to find a client, etc. It often includes time spent on social media, although it’s easy to get sidetracked with that so I try to limit it. I also volunteer for a writing organization and may spend some time on that.
The writing part can be fiction or short nonfiction and is 99% of the time done on a keyboard. If I’m in the midst of a novel, that’s usually the most compelling project for me to approach. Nonfiction usually includes blog posts for both of my sites, plus occasional articles for pay. On my writing for children site, I also do book recommendations. Of course, writing any of these can require me stopping to research a needed fact or two. This is another place I can get sidetracked... Whatever I’m writing, I may be at the getting words down part or revising what I already wrote.
After lunch I return to the computer to do one or more of the above. This schedule is normal five days a week. Saturdays, I may write, or I may do family things. Sundays, we meet with our local church and usually rest and relax the rest of the day.
However, I know many others who write after their full-time job is done for the day. They write in the evening and on weekends. Maybe on lunch breaks. So, if you’re working another job, don’t despair that you can’t also make progress on your writing. If you only writes 1000 words a week, that’s 50,000+ words in a year.
Second, I’ve given up other things. I used to sew and do a few handcrafts. I haven’t done them in many, many years. Instead, I write. I used to do scrapbooking—I’d like to say I do it occasionally but can’t remember the last time I did so. Yes, of course, I read books—mainly in the genres I write. I even watch TV via Netflix or watch a movie in the evening. I spend time with friends—mainly my fellow writers—and family. And of course, I cook, clean, do laundry, pay bills in partnership with my husband. (Our children are grown.)
Third, I’ve made a commitment to myself to write. What helps me stay committed? Love of the written word. Habit. Meeting with other writers. A regular critique group motivates to bring something to share. A scheduled writing time makes me show up with computer in hand and usually a project in mind. As Tony Fahkry says, “Success requires discipline, hard work, perseverance, tenacity, will, courage and faith.” Until I read that quote, I hadn’t thought much about the faith part. Yes, I believe I’m doing what God would have me do. But I have faith that my writing is worth something as well.
Here is another writer’s story on being committed: “Three powerful lessons from my 2017 Writing Challenge.”
Your path won’t look like mine or hers. But it’s amazing how deciding to commit to writing makes being committed to writing easier.
SM Ford writes inspirational fiction for adults, although teens may find the stories of interest, too. She also loves assisting other writers on their journeys.