5000 Word Days

Hi there, Sugar here. I’ve been in deadline hell these past couple of weeks. I have two books due to two different publishers on the same day. I know a lot of writers would scoff at my problem. They would say it’s one they would like to have. But I would tell them to suck it.

Writing a book when you are under contract is a hell of a lot different than writing when you don’t have one.There’s a certain amount of freedom that flies out the window when you sign on the dotted line. Yes, there is the pressure of the deadline but that’s not even the issue. The pressure is to write a better book than your last, to write a book that’s going to sell more copies, that’s going to get more positive reviews. Because if you don’t, if you don’t write that better book, that sells more copies and gets more reviews you not only let down yourself, but the agent who found you in the slush pile, the editor that took a chance on acquiring you and the publisher that is putting your book in bookstores all over the country.

I work too. Full time. In a job that sometimes sucks all the energy from my body and hides it under my bed. Still I write every single day during the week. I did this before I got the call. Writing became part of my routine, part of my life. It wasn’t just a hobby. It was something I had to do in order for my day to be complete.

Sometimes I struggle to get 500 words out a day. But I shoot for a thousand. On the weekends I’ve been having 5000 word days. I make it a goal. Even when it’s torture. Even when the words don’t want to come I force myself to get them out on the page. That’s why it annoys me when I see aspiring writers who bitch and moan about not being published, who claim they just don’t have time to write but can post on Facebook 900 times a day. Or playing online games and generally just waste time.

Talent plays a big part in being successful in this business but I think it’s takes drive too. Which prompts me to ask, how driven are you when it comes to your writing?

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5 thoughts on “5000 Word Days”

  1. Sugar, fascinating post. There are dues to pay when you sign with an agent and/or a publisher, right? You get to do what you love–under pressure. It’s a job, you are no longer working for yourself as an independent, nope, now you are owned by someone else and you either do your job, or else and that doesn’t leave out the marketing, but you do have support. If you think it’s easier to be an independent and self-pub, think again. If you want to be successful, you have to not only write, but you have to network, market, advertise, and a gazillion other duties. You are in a new business, and you have to work extra hard to get it going. The best part is, you love to write. You go girl, have fun. Your students will love the hard worker in you and find you exciting to be around. God’s speed.

  2. I hear ya, Sugar, except in reverse for me! I’ve recently found myself mistress of my own clock and I’m floundering a bit. You’d think it would be Yay! I have all this time to write and do other writerly things. But without the structure that a day job gave me (I can write from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m., or from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, and that’s all the time I have so I need to make it count), it’s been easy to flit from project to project, both writing and home-life stuff, and not get as much done as I did before I was my own boss. It’s a time paradox–if you need something done, you ask a busy person. And the corollary: Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion (Parkinson’s Law) So, I’ve put myself on a schedule this week. We’ll see how it goes.

  3. Writing is work, that’s for sure. Everyone thinks that the life of a published author is some glamorous career and that we all sit around in our jammies sipping tea and writing the great American novel…not quite.

    Self publishing has allowed me the freedom to NOT stress about meeting someone else’s deadlines or worry about disappointing my “bosses,” but I’m also the toughest boss I could work for. I cut myself some slack when I need to keep my sanity and stay in balance, but if i didn’t push myself to write those 7,000 words a week, I’d never get the next book written. And when it comes down to it, that’s the job. Keep up the good work, Sugar.

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