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Let’s talk about writing. That’s what we’re all here for. Because we love the written word, in one way or another.
Well, writing is hard. I don’t mean being a great, or even good writer is hard. Although it is. I mean the act of writing is hard. I’m sitting here now writing this an hour later than I usually post, because life happens. And when it happened, over the course of the last few weeks, I fell behind. I was writing a week ahead, meaning the post I was writing was actually for the following week. I started out writing two weeks ahead. If you have looked over my page at all, you will see that my site has only been live for a little over a month, so shit fell apart pretty quickly. I was stressed about life events, and my fulltime job, and writing fell to the wayside. When I got home from work after 10-12 hour days, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down at this computer. It is so much work. If you read The Ragged Edge, then you know how exhausting writing can be. There were people to spend time with, dogs to throw toys for, shows to watch, anything to make my time away from work not feel like work. Writing did not fit that description.
I sat down here last night to write. I started by trying to look up Keywords to plan out my post. This was a new practice for me. Usually I just sit down and dump my heart onto the page. However I did not have much left to give and went looking for inspiration. What I found instead was a black hole. I found an article that told me about Google Webmaster tools. Eureka, why had I not heard of this before? Probably because I’ve only been doing this a month, and I’m not exactly following a map. So I signed up for Webmaster tools, which is supposed to help you find keywords. I spent half an hour validating my site, again because I’m a little inexperienced. Then got sucked into AdSense. Tried signing up for that for about an hour on a rotating cycle of “You cannot sign up because your Google account does not have a valid birthday.” And “Yes it does, I can see it right there.” Next thing I know it is 1 a.m., I haven’t written a word, and this is the third thing that made me wish Google was a real person so I could punch him in the face.
If you want to be a writer, you have to write. I’m not saying you’ll be good, or even successful, but you will be a writer. Writing can’t fall to the wayside. I know, you don’t want writing to feel like a job. If your goal is to make money writing, then it is a job, and you need to treat it as such. It should never be a demanding 10 hour a day job. You will burn out, and end up writing shit, or worse hating what you once loved.
You’re probably thinking that I’m telling you what to do, after admitting that I wasn’t doing it myself. You’re right. That was the point of this Blog remember. I told you in the Introduction that the idea was for you to learn from my mistakes. Hopefully you get here in your first few months and get this lesson in quick. If you’ve already been Blogging for a while you’ve probably already figured this out, and if that’s the case, I hope you were entertained.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. By “treat it like a job” I mean you need structure, and repetition. Schedule out your time.
Try to write the same time every day. Your brain will get used to this schedule and become creative around this time. I tend to write at night after work, and I don’t recommend it. Writing can take a lot out of you and starting out drained after a long day only hinders the process further. Now on the days I don’t write I lay in bed thinking about things to write, which are always gone by morning. Writing in the morning is generally best.
Block out time for research and stick to it. You have to fight the time vampire that is the internet. Facebook is not research. YouTube is rarely research. Pornhub is definitely not research.
Have a designated work area. All those adds that say “Take our class, become a writer, work from anywhere” with a picture of someone with a laptop on a tropical beach, are crap. You can’t write there, at least not for long.
Picture a beautiful bright sunny beach. Clear waves lapping the sand. Bikinis and shirtless men everywhere. Drinks flowing. And you, with your laptop in your lap, watching everyone swim and play while you work. Be honest, how long will that last? A day? An hour? What, you’re going to put your computer down once an hour and go for a swim? No you’re not. That’s your life in there. It could get stolen, stepped on, kicked, or get sand in it. You won’t leave it alone for one single minute. In a perfect world everything will be backed up and you won’t care…. We’re writers, we make our living designing very imperfect worlds.
It doesn’t have to be an office, or even a desk, just try to work in the same place every day. It helps put your brain in the mindset. We are here, that must mean it is time to work.
Most of all, write. Every day if you can. Journal on the days you aren’t working. Pen a poem, or write a short story, just put words on paper.
I’m sure you want to know what make me the authority on writing, well I’m not. I’m only parroting what I learned from those that know. Most of the information above came from these books. Pick them up now and hone your craft.