On Being Productive
Or trying to be productive.
Alright, I decided, back in mid May, but then I had many guest posts and other events schedules until now, that I’m going to severely cut my “online” hours.
I will shut down twitter during late morning and the afternoons (maybe I’ll only come online from 1 to 4pm for twitter writing sprints with JuNoWriMo during June), I’ll also close the web browser (Facebook, goodreads, blogs, google reader) and not answer to any email during that time.
May was an insanely busy month on my blog, with interviews and blogfests and cover reveals and other news. In 31 days I had 26 posts up—that never happened before and it was too much to keep up. My plan is to reduce the amount of posts. I’m not sure how many per week yet, but I’m thinking about 2 regular features and then some extras if big news need to be reported (and that doesn’t mean my news only. I like to celebrate my friends’ news too!). Not that June won’t be busy with JuNoWriMo and all, but at least I don’t think I’ll be blogging as often as May.
Why these drastic measures?
Many reasons, the main one being that I want to write more.
In May, when I came up with this decision, I talked to a good friend who is a reader, not a writer, and beta-reads my work. We talk a lot about books and market and such and she told me that in 2010, when I didn’t think much about publishing, when I wasn’t as much online as I am now, was the year that I produced the most. I wrote 4 novels that year and started 2, going up to 40k in each. Three of those novels I finished were over 100k words (yeah, I know, major cutting to be done there). Then, in 2011, when I was already in twitter and becoming member of everything I could and befriending any fellow writer on the same path as I was/am, I produced much less. I wrote 2 novels, 2 novellas and 1 novelette. Yes, I started many too, but, if you add the total word count of each year, 2010 is way ahead …
Back in 2010, I also didn’t know much about the craft and wrote what I love, the way I wanted it to be. Sure, in 2011 my writing improved a lot with all the workshops I took and craft books I read, but I also became more worried about what editors and agents want and don’t want, and that influenced what I was writing. I started many things I wasn’t really in the mood to write.
In 2012, all hell broke loose when I find out I was moving back to the US in January. Things only settled down again mid April, when we were already in the US and our new home already livable. Then last week I had a couple of days that were a mess when my daughter’s preschool decided to just close without any notice and because of that I’m way behind on JuNoWriMo and CampNaNo.
I love the writing community and twitter can get pretty distracting with all the contests and pitching talking and the supporting and cheering up thing. Also, I
stalk follow lots of agents and editors and most of them tweet about the industry and some other insider things, which is very informative. But that can be distracting, like I mentioned before, and the 15 minutes I plan to spend there, easily become 2 hours …
You see, I’m fortune enough to be able to write full time (or close to full time). To me, writing is my job, and I gotta make the most of it. I need to learn to be more productive. And that starts by shutting of the internet and writing. You know what they say, that you’ll learn how to write and improve writing and, if you’re a self-publisher, the best way to promote yourself is to write a good book, then another good book, then another good book—I’m not a self-publisher, but the principle is the same. And how would I do that? By gluing my butt in my chair, shutting off the internet, not answering the phone unless it’s an emergency (you have no idea how many precious hours I lost because family called to chat during my writing time, and I just can’t be rude or firm enough to tell them I can’t), and just write!
Another thing I need to focus: write what I want to, what excites me, not what editors and agents want … I have so many ideas I love, I need to focus on them. Certainly, writing something that enthusiasm me will make me more productive. When you’re loving a scene, don’t you keep on writing, even if you’re late for something or should be in bed already? I want that feeling again.
As a way to encourage me, I decided to post these “thoughts” here on the blog, so my friends will know if I’m not being as productive as I want to be, and I’ll feel ashamed for it and work harder.
So, if you see me online late mornings or afternoons (other than sprinting times), shoo me off!