It’s no secret that publishing, and especially self-publishing, will burn a lot of your time. There are submissions, proposals, side-efforts. If you attend a show and rent a booth, there are all sorts of things you have to arrange (as detailed HERE). All this takes time.
I used to write – a lot – at lunch. The café downstairs has a nice outdoor patio and if I go early, nobody is out there. But now I haven’t been – I’ve been busy with getting Early ReTyrement ready, cleaning it, changing it, fiddling with it. I’m so focused on it (and it’s a many problems and disappointments) that I forget about writing. It’s hard to write when you are organizing, blogging, cleaning up your website and getting your coverart finalized. In a way, it’s like parents who bring a newborn home – with all the noise and poop and change, it’s hard to make time for things like sex.
And to writers, writing is their intercourse. We feel whole and new and free after an hour of writing. When there is no deadline, when it is not for anyone’s enjoyment but our own, that’s writing. True writing. And that’s what we need to remember. How many writers get their first book finished and send it off to agents, then wait. And wait. Rejection letters drift in. They tune their story, trying to anticipate why it’s not selling. They end up despondent, equating writing with rejection rather than fulfillment. They don’t write anymore. They just put it away and move on to other things.
If one can find pleasure in writing then do so, even if it’s a journal. I keep a free website under a service where I can post short stories up under a pen name. This is great – I get to play with different styles and voices, writing whatever I want with no thought of harming my brand. Even better, I get immediate feedback from fans, ones who enjoy what I post and like to chat about it. I haven’t updated in a bit – too busy cleaning up Indigo. But once it’s launched at agents I’ll have more time. And then I can start writing again, just writing what I want, 70mph and 80wpm, just flying down a sweeping plot device with a new character at my side, writing for myself. Keyboard rattling and world forgotten, I’ll be in the zone.
Writers write. It’s what we do.