Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Hate Answering Comments

Don't get me wrong, I love it when you comment on things here, but then I go to return that comment and end up writing another huge essay - so I end up deleting the comment and writing a new post instead.

As I was replying to the comments on the last post, this is how far I got before moving everything into this post...

"That's interesting. I may have to do a post on the lack of time required to write a book... (which would be this post)

I'm sorry, but we struggle to find the time to write while we work full time and some of you are saying you'd struggle to be able to write if you didn't work full time? Did I miss something?

Or is this from past experience; some time in the past before you made the current commitment you have to your writing?"

Okay - let me expand (now I have the room). Do you prefer to squeeze your writing time into an already busy schedule? In the past, has copious amounts of time led to thoughts of, I can do that tomorrow?

If you answer yes to questions like that, then you're not kidding yourself, so much as not doing yourself or your writing justice.

If you get the chance to write full time and pass that up because you think you wouldn't be disciplined enough, then writing is a hobby and may never become more than that. Harsh? You know me... (lets just call a spade a spade and move on).

Writing is a job just like any other. If you're a self employed tradeperson, are you saying you wouldn't be any good because you couldn't get up in the morning, and go out to do the jobs you have scheduled for that day? Of course not. If you must go out the door to work, whether it's for yourself or "The Man", then you do, because bills have to be paid, and your chosen way of life needs to be maintained.

Why do you think writing would be any different?

If you earn enough to write full time, and choose to procrastinate the time away doing other stuff, then writing is a hobby. If you procrastinated while you worked in an office, how long do you think it would be before you'd get into trouble? If you procrastinated while you worked for yourself as a tradeperson, how long before you stopped getting jobs?

Writing is the same thing. It takes discipline and a schedule. You are given a deadline and you must work within it. You must know your own limitations so you plan to meet that deadline taking those limitations into account. And then just put bum in chair (or other favourite writing place) and get to work.

While you have a full time job, you have the perfect excuse for dragging a writing project out, especially if you are writing on spec - i.e. you don't have an agent or a contract in place. Hell, no one is paying you to do this, so get to it when you can - understandable.

But now is the time to put in place the discipline you need for when you are a full time writer.

Everyone who writes, finds some time of the day works better for them. Night owls, early birds, or those who need to write in the middle of the day. Different strokes for different folks - all good. So if that works for you when you're working full time, why would you change it when you write full time? Answer - you wouldn't.

But now you have more time to devote to your writing. So spend the normal time you write, doing that. Spend a few extra hours, improving your writing, paying forward, or researching. Do something related to your writing.

If you have the wonderful opportunity to write full time, now that you have decided writing is what you want to do as a vocation rather than as a hobby, then don't take it for granted.

For the rest of us still struggling to get there, now is the time to learn the discipline we will need once we finally arrive.


  1. I have worked from home for neary three years...drafting, not writing. I wasn't sure, at first, if I would be disciplined enough. At the end of the day one sort of has to be in order to meet the deadlines imposed (or one is out of a job and in the unemployment line...) I still find it difficult to keep focus and meet the demands of "the man". I would hope, if the writing Gods were to smile upon me, that I could display the same discipline if I had the opportunity to write full-time (still with a deadline and a contract, of course).

    Thanks for putting that dilema into perspective, BT. Perhaps I'll run out and buy a lottery ticket, just in case...

  2. Wow, love this post. It's so true - and this is coming from someone who thinks of himself as poor disciplined.

    I've done pretty well for myself this weekend though. Getting in the habit of working seriously again.

  3. Excellent post, BT. I've been needing a fire sparked, and I think.. I think maybe you've done it.

    I've been far too focused on something that in the end is way beyond my control, and trying to figure out a way to make it better. I can't - but I can get back to what's important to me personally. My work.

    Five star post, and thank you!

    PS-I've been nutty over replying to comments lately.. LOL

  4. And here I was worried I'd offend people.

    Glad it's been of use to someone.