Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Fabulosities--Writing's a job?

The novelists quoted in The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists all say the same thing. From Kat Martin, to Cynthia Riggs, to the late Beverly Barton--they are all in agreement. Writing should be treated as a job with a schedule.

Yup, you can't wait around for the muse to strike. She's either too busy or too fickle.

I love this from Joann Ross:
An important thing to keep in mind is that while editors like brilliant authors. they love prolific ones. This means you're going to need to show up every day prepared to work, the same as you would any other job. Can you imagine calling a plumber or the fire department or showing up at an emergency room with a heart attack and being told the people just didn't feel like working that day?
Before you all clamor that this feels way too stultifying, I hasten to add that I have a very broad view of what constitutes writing. It's not just getting words on paper or screen. It's the minute by minute cogitating while walking the dog, washing the dishes, throwing the frisbee with the kids. So, in my definition, you don't have to feel like a failure if you're not butt-in-chair all of the time. Writing is a lot like playing. Thank God the imagination is such a grand playground.


  1. Although (as is obvious by my post Wednesday) I am a big proponent of cogitating, I do agree that at some point, you have to write something. What we know from research is that yes, thoughts influence behavior (if you think, "I'm a terrible writer", you won't feel like writing and probably won't write). But just as important--behavior influences thoughts. If you sit down and write, that's when the inspiration may come, so I agree this is important.

  2. Hi Sarah,

    I guess I'm just trying to have my cake and eat it too!

  3. I am a big fan of giant playgrounds
    I have to work at the writing I'm trying to work at ;)

  4. The idea of treating writing like a job is one I have read over and over in many books on writing. The way I look at it is that treating it like a job means I take it seriously. And if I take it seriously, everyone in my life will be more willing to take it seriously, as well. If I treat it like a hobby, why should my family treat it as anything else?


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