This post isn’t about gadgets or books or some sure-fire, secret to transform your writing into everything you’ve ever dreamed of, plus a basket of kittens.
This is about table stakes. Basics that other people may not tell you about because you’re expected to already know.
Because they’re part of every writer’s job.
I knew I have a lot of books. Hard not to notice when I have five full bookcases, plus three knee-high stacks that live on the floor and a short stack on my nightstand.
And the miscellaneous collections tucked in my nightstand, my workbag, my purse and in the back of my car.
Still, I hadn’t realized how much they’d taken over until I walked into 7’x7’ space I call my home office. Most, I don’t even remember buying. No idea where they came from or how long I’ve had them.
I also realized that I hadn’t been in my office in quite some time because it was overcrowded with my books; no room for me to be comfortable.
So, I decided to purge.
I began by searching “how to purge books” online because clearly I had no idea how to get it done or I wouldn’t be surrounded in the first place.
The past couple of weeks have been a flurry. Work is picking up right before I’m going to be out for dental surgery.
Which means: a) I’m multitasking on a regular basis; and b) I almost can’t be trusted to think straight because I’m scared. (I don’t handle dentist stuff well—at all. Seriously, I have to be gassed for a basic cleaning, I’m that bad.)
Now, whatever type of writer you are, you’re going to have times when you can’t seem to get your work done because you can’t focus on squat because your brain is going in more directions than a Hot Wheels race track that was put together by a group of toddlers and monkeys who are all screaming at each other because they won’t let each other play and hey, isn’t it time for pudding?
Yeah, that’s how my last two weeks have been.
But I’ve found some coping strategies—and I’m happy to share.
In my last post, I shared how a fellow writer managed to get down almost 36,000 words despite him having a family, a toddler and mushrooms growing in his basement.
And I asked “What’s my excuse?”
Truth is, I don’t have one. I just suck at setting boundaries with myself. When I’ve blocked off time to work on my writing, my process goes something like this:
Last week a fellow copywriter accidentally sent me his first draft of his work in progress.
(Note to those of you who are new to Apple Air Drop: make sure you know where you’re sending your stuff. And don’t send sensitive materials if you’re practicing.)
We commonly share all kinds of writing and such with each other so of course, I cracked it open and read it. (I didn’t know he didn’t mean to share. Otherwise I would have respected his privacy.)
Reading his work was a wake-up call for me. In many ways. First, he had almost 36,000 words down. That made 99 pages. I still haven’t hit 10,000 words.
This is a man with a full-time job, a wife and a three-year-old. Way busier than I am. They recently found mushrooms growing in their basement. His hands are full.
Yet he still managed to get down half a novel.
Where’s my excuse?
The cat’s looking at me funny.