I'm piggy backing on Jody Hedlund's blog post today. Jody says that there's no secret to gaining success as an author or on building a web presence.
It takes hard work to gain success.
And if anyone I know is the epitome of hard work, Jody sure is.
But saying it's hard work to me, is like reading a book with absolutely no setting, or vise versa, only setting, no dialogue, no internal monologue, no interaction between characters. It's too vague for me. It doesn't offer advice on what to do. I want to know what constitutes working hard?
This made me pause to consider if I'm working hard. But more importantly to me, if I'm working hard and smart. Let's face it, time is of the essence this day and age. It's hard to come by, and yet it still does exist. We still have twenty-four hours in a day, and we don't have to plow our own fields, hunt for our food, travel up hill to the outhouse, chop wood for the stove, or pump water from the well in that same time span today, but yet it just seems to disappear in a fog regardless. If we use our time wisely in this age of amenities though, God can do wonders with it . . . in His timing, I'm certain!
So, okay, I'm going to do a little analysis of how I believe a writer should use their time.
1) Write daily. Whether you're working on a first draft or editing, or creating a query or proposal, be sure to write with respect to your writing career daily. Am I not working hard if I take weekends off for my family's sake? That's debatable, as most things are. But for me, if I've destroyed my relationships with my loved ones in order to build my writing career, then I'm not okay in God's eyes or my own. But if I can etch out a half hour or more on those "family" days when my working isn't taking away from family, then I better make use of that time wisely, or I'm not working hard. Do you have a TBD (to be done) list? Make sure there are things on it writing related that can be done in small increments of time for when the family unexpectedly disappears during "family" time.
2) Never stop learning and apply that new knowledge every chance you get. If you don't have a novel you're "studying", you most definitely should have a how-to book on the craft of writing, or on social networking and marketing on the go. Life is a journey of learning and growing and there are all kinds of ways to nurture this. Find what works for you, and make sure it's available for a daily dose of L&L (Live and Learn). If you're creative, you can even do this while enjoying "family" time on occasion. Hint: Movies as homework --have a pad of paper at hand to jot down the structure, find the MOG (moment of grace), discover the moral premise (if there is one), or whatever else aids in your current study.
3) If you're a blogger, be consistent with posting. I'm failing in this lately. Good thing I'm doing this analysis after all!
4) FIGURE OUT the social networking sites you SHOULD be on, and learn how to use them wisely. I'm still working on this. How do we do this smart so that it doesn't eat up precious hours of our writing time? This is one journey that's a huge struggle for me. I've read Kristen Lamb's books and I'm still in a fog. Guess it's time to reread and find other sources of how-to's regarding this topic.
and to do all of the above leaves me with one more glaring analysis.
5) Divide the household chores. My kids would hate me if they read this. But it's true, somewhere along the way I've made the upkeep of our home my responsibility. And I'm sacrificing sanity/health for writing. Yes, you read that correctly. Since I can't do all those things "writerly" and keep up with the daily chores, I settle for dust and fur motes surrounding me as I write, which increases my blood pressure and has me mentally fighting with myself. Why am I not super woman? Why can't I keep up our house AND build a successful writing career? I just can't. At least not alone, I can't. So, girls, a new ship's about to sail (no, I would never use that cliche in a book, but since I need to get back to editing, I will here), and you're not a guest on it, you're a fully fledged member of the crew! (Check back with me in a week to see if I stuck to my plan. Lifting prayers now that I do.)
So what did I miss? What more do we have to do to work hard and smart as novelists?
Surrendering to Him,