When I am working on a project, I work fast. I don’t waste any time and I do not make the excuse that I don’t have time because it is exactly that, an excuse. I work fast. I am getting into a rhythm of busting out a novel in less than a month. I do want to be clear that I am not looking down on people who work slow, everyone works at their own pace as well they should, but I am letting you know the way it is for me.
I currently work a full-time job in addition to attacking my writing career. I call this full-time job my income gig. It is not my passion, but for now it is funding my dream of being a writer! Between the two I work 12-16 hours per day during my writing phase. What my process looks like right now is I will wake up at 4:45am and start my coffee. I go back to sleep for about 20 minutes. Why? For two reason. One, I love the feeling of going back to sleep and by doing it for just a few minutes I can avoid going back to sleep for several hours until I have to get up for my income gig.
The second reason that I go back to sleep for a few minutes is that I hate waiting for my coffee to be cool enough to drink. So, by the time I lay back down, snooze for a few and get back up to retrieve my coffee, it is the perfect temperature and I can get my day going with some coffee. Side note, I drink that baby black. No sugar. No creamer. Nothing. Something about that bitterness really gets my attention first thing! Now I have my coffee, it is 5:00am or a little after. I sit down at the computer and read the page that I last wrote of the project.
This is NOT for editing. I don’t edit at all during my writing phase, I save that for the editing phase, and I keep the two separate. Reading this page is purely to remind me where I left off. Once I have a grip on it, I get to work, and I write for two hours straight until 7:00am. I find that in the morning I am able to write for hours on end without interruption. This is not the case in the afternoon. I find myself getting more easily distracted in the afternoons, so I really make the most of my morning sessions.
During my morning writing sessions, I routinely bust out between 1800-2000 words sometimes more. I am, what the writing world would call, a pantser. This means that I write by the seat of my pants. I do not keep a structured outline or follow any kind of written plan. I have an idea in my head and I let the story flow out of me and I find out what is going to happen as I write. This is one of the things about writing that is so exciting for me! I get to be the first reader of my own book!
Once it hits 7:00am, I stop writing. Wherever I am, I stop, save and shut the computer. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to keep writing well into the day. If I could, I would write from 5:00am to Noon and spend the afternoon promoting, but for now I have an obligation to my income gig. So, at 7:00am, I stop and get ready for the income gig part of my day. I get there by 8:00am I am done and home by 5:00pm. I eat a little dinner and by 6:00pm I am back at the computer.
I always, ALWAYS, have a deadline and that thing is sacred. So, there are times when I am approaching my deadline that I will write from 6:00pm to midnight. If I am not on a time crunch, I will typically bust out another 1000-2000 words in the evening. People close to me have voiced concern about how much work I engage in and how much time I give. Some of them are concerned that I am going to wear myself thin and burn out.
I will say this, I have had a lot of jobs and at every one of them I have tried to excel and at every single one I have burned out. The difference is, I didn’t have a passion for a single one of them. I did them, because I had to, and I excelled because if I was going to do it I was going to do it well. I LOVE writing. I LOVE creating a story. I have a passion for the process and that is why early in the morning and late into the evening I work. I just work. I am a work horse and I don’t get tired of pursuing my dream! By the end of this year I will have published three books and I plan to publish at least six next year!
Don’t settle for the nine to five if it isn’t what you truly want for your life. If climbing the corporate ladder is your dream, then by all means go for it! We need titans of industry to keep the world turning. However, if that is not your goal for your life, go after what is. We have such little time. So much less than it seems and to spend all of it doing something that we do not enjoy is a waste! Find what it is you love and attack it with everything you have!