Being an author – being a commercial indie author, is so much more than just churning out the volumes. I have to plan and execute a marketing and promotion campaign for each book I publish. I’m writing weekly blogs and a monthly newsletter. I write shorts for my wonderful subscribers. I try to be active on Facebook and Goodreads. I have to do stuff in between publications so that people don’t forget who I am.
Please don’t think I’m complaining! I love the variety that being an indie author brings me. I don’t know if I could just sit down and write books all day every day. I’m a little bit capricious like that. However, I do worry that I’m spending more time on non-writing tasks than writing ones. And it led to that horrible feeling of overwhelm, like there was too much to do and not enough hours in the day or days in the week and I had to give up my creativity to be this business machine.
So I pulled myself up and had a long talk to myself, and made myself a promise.
The first hour of the day will be spent on writing. Then, any further energy can be spent on the other stuff. I made this decision for a couple of reasons:
(1) Novels are the bread and butter of a writer. They are the product I have to sell. Without novels, I might as well be trying to market snake oil. So, if I’m not writing novels, I’m not taking things seriously.
(2) Writing is what I got into this gig for. I love to write. I love to create and explore and describe. I love to build characters and situations and I love to build worlds and then destroy them and then build them again.
(3) I was literally spending all morning reading emails and looking at Facebook. And that’s just crazy. With limited time, I was wasting half of my hours on social media. And mostly non-writing related social media.
I also realised that I was spending way too much time on non-essential matters. I’ve been agonising over my short story The Marquess and the May Flower for weeks, when it should have been completed in just under two. It’s a light, sweet story, and I’m thinking too hard about it, which means I’m not writing novels. I promised myself that I would work on crafting quick, clean shorts. It’s a skill to be learned. And one that I really need, since my newsletter readers have been promised exclusive short stories (and when I examined myself, I realised that I WANTED to write them.)
Also agonising over writing to bloggers to ask them to read and review my stories. I know it’s going to be a fairly thankless task, but it’s a necessary one if I want to gain even a little traction for my book. Publishing with a small publisher means that most of the marketing and promo for the Hidden Duchess is going to fall on my shoulders. So, there are also marketing materials to create for Hidden Duchess. I know how to do them, and I know what I want, its just a matter of getting around to them.
My hat is off to all of you who manage to write and publish books and also have another job. I have no idea where you pull the hours from.
It’s all in the planning. But the bottom line is – If I don’t write books, I don’t even have a product to sell. So writing has to come First.
Wish me luck.