Writers get a lot of advice. For instance, we’re often told that we have to write every day to practice our craft and complete our work. This makes sense. If we’re not writing every day, then can we really call ourselves writers?
I tell people I’m a writer though there will be days, even a week or two when I haven’t written a single word. However, even though I’m not tapping away on my keyboard my mind is working hard trying to resolve plot issues and creating my characters’ backstories. I do a lot of my best writing in the shower, at the gym, or waking at 3 a.m.
But I’m also human and can’t help but compare my productivity to other writers.
In 2015, I went to the Writers’ Police Academy. Since Carpe Diem, Illinois had been published the year before, I thought I was one of the more accomplished of the 400 attendees. Then I met a woman who told me she had published 15, or was it 16, books. So many she couldn’t remember. Soon after, I ran into an acquaintance who was on her 7th romance novel. I mentioned I was still plugging away on my sequel. She asked me what the hell I’d been doing.
I also know writers who have published not only multiple books but multiple series of books in the last few years. In fact, I’ll be on a panel discussion with a woman who has published 30 books since 2013. That’s 6 books a year! I didn’t know that was humanly possible. And she’s made a lot of money. A lot.
Granted, some genres like romance have formulas that supposedly make them easier to write. And I don’t write in those genres. But arguably, young adult dystopian novels, like The Hunger Games, follow some formulaic guidelines but even knowing those guidelines it’s still taking me years to complete my YA dystopian series.
And so I’ve been doing some soul-searching. It’s possible that if I wrote quicker, I could be financially successful. Knowing this, I’ve tried to rush my writing and editing processes only to realize I can’t be rushed. My brain doesn’t work that way. I’m a slow, methodical writer. And I’m in good company (ever hear of George R. R. Martin?).
I know that if I try to crank out books, the quality of those books won’t be as good. I’m not okay with that. I’m not okay with putting my name on something I’m not proud of. I want each novel to be better than the last. They should be. I invest a lot of money on books, classes, workshops, conferences, and editors and spend hours and hours writing and re-writing.
So I’m embracing slow, methodical me. I’m trusting that The Devil Particle will be published this year or the next and that when it is finally released it will be the best thing I’ve ever written. And I’m definitely okay with that.
Where you can learn more about me:
January 22nd – Listen to my interview with Author Rex Owens during his My World and Welcome to It radio program on Sun Prairie’s 103.5 The Sun when we talk all things writing. The Sun is an amazing radio station. If you’re a citizen of Sun Prairie, you can host your own talk show on whatever strikes your fancy — free of cost!
Where you can find me in this new year:
Party with me at the Eighth Annual Chicago Writers Association Book of the Year Awards – January 19, 2019, The Book Cellar, Chicago’s Lincoln Square. A wonderful night to celebrate amazing authors!
Just Write! An Uncommon Writers Conference 2019 – March 16 – 17, 2019, Warwick Allerton Hotel, Chicago. Great workshops on the craft of writing, plus book signings and a live lit event. I’m looking forward to teaching my cliffhanger workshop and curating the live lit event.
UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies 30th Annual Writers Institute – April 4 – 7, 2019 Concourse Hotel, Madison, WI. Workshops on everything from craft to marketing to pitching to publishing. I’ll be on the “Celebrating Your Book: Festivals and Readings Panel” with Author Shannon Henry Kleiber, helping writers hone their pitches, running the book day events, and judging the Live Lit Event with Author Silvia Acevedo.
Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat – May 19 – 25, 2019, Cedar Valley Retreat Center in West Bend, Wisconsin. I’ll be on a self-publishing panel with Authors Nicole Pierce and Melissa Haag and presenting my workshop titled “The Formula for Settings Agents, Editors, and Readers Love”.