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!

Cheers,

21 Responses to On Being Productive

  • That’s a lot of posts for May! Of course, I had that many for April and the A to Z Challenge.
    Cutting back posting days works. My normal weeks are three days but I’m hitting a few weeks of just two now and then to give myself to write. Fell a little behind yesterday with IWSG posts taking over writing time, but not worried. Still plan to conquer BuNoWriMo!
    Alex J. Cavanaugh recently posted: Insecure Writer’s Support Group and Ninja NewsMy Profile

    • Yes, and it wasn’t during the A-Z challenge lol
      I’ll have 2 fixed features next week, then the extras are extras … hopefully, I won’t blog that much anymore.

  • I did the same thing you did my dear. I used to comment on every one’s blogs almost every day, but I just can’t do that anymore. My community has grown to large and my goals have grown as well so there just isn’t enough time in the day (or week :) haha).

    So we just make due. :) I post only about twice a week and make the rounds at least once, hopefully twice to the other wonderful blogs.

    Good for you for finding out what works for you! :)
    Kelley Lynn recently posted: Collaboration Project Reveal – Already ThereMy Profile

    • I guess I’ll choose one day of the week and use a morning or afternoon of that day just to comment on other blogs and catch up with other blogs, but not outside that window anymore … it’s getting too time consuming.

  • I think this is a really great post, and I think a lot of writers should read it. For several reasons. First, being an active part of social media is obviously hugely important in this publishing age, but it’s completely worthless if all your writing time is spent bloggging and tweeting and not actually writing a book. I struggle to work on this every single day because it is so much easier to TALK about writing than it is to actually write.

    Second, while I think it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in publishing, I’m with you that it just causes me to stress out. If I’m really honest, the number of times I’ve said “Well, if they won’t want my book anyway, why am I writing it?” has increased 10-fold since really getting involved in this NA stuff. NOT that I don’t think this NA push is exceedingly important, and not that I don’t think indie and self-publishing is a great route, but I’d be lying completely if part of my dream wasn’t to be at one of the big houses. Not for any reason now other than it’s because that’s just what part of the writing dream always WAS. It’s not even necessarily the same place I’m heading now, but it’s kind of always at the back of my mind. I agree that it’s important to write the book, to edit, and then when feedback actually starts rolling in from agents or publishers in rejections or best yet, in acceptance, that’s when a writer’s priority changes from what they write to what other people may want. (I’m also a firm believer that really great agents, editors, and publishers see the very best version of every book they buy and don’t want to “ruin” it — I’m optimistic like that.)

    Of course, I’m here, leaving this extremely lengthy comment instead of writing. Oops. But I’m not a morning person, and I work afternoons — guess I gotta make myself a morning person.
    Bailey recently posted: Where’s your favorite space?My Profile

  • You are not alone. I have also noted that it takes me longer to finish a book now, although I do have fewer edits since I know more of what I’m doing. It’s a constant juggle to stay informed, connected, yet productive. Best wishes!
    Julie Glover recently posted: Word Games for the RoadMy Profile

  • I’m in a similar situation. I blogged TONS in April and May, and now I’m going to take the summer (mostly) off because it just became WAY too time consuming. I was blogging and commenting and responding far more than I was writing, and that’s just wrong! I’ll shoo you off Twitter if you do the same for me. :)

    • Alright, I’ll shoo you off if you shoo me off too, deal!
      That is wrong, I mean, we’re writers! We should write more than anything else ;)

  • I’m trying to do this too. It’s so tempting to be constantly popping onto Twitter, checking if other people of updated their blogs, going on to Goodreads… There are just too many ways to spend time away from writing, which isn’t good if you want to get published.

    I also find that it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing what you know agents and publishers are looking for even if it isn’t what you truly want to write. Lately, I’m just trying to focus on writing a good story, and if it goes somewhere great. :)
    Jaime Morrow recently posted: RTW: Best Book of MayMy Profile

  • Brilliant for noticing and doing something about it!! I like the way you are thinking and I think it will lead you to a better balance.
    S. J. Maylee recently posted: Spotlight: Sara’s Smile by Sandra Bunino ~ Q&A and GiveawayMy Profile

  • You have to put writing first so I think taking a step back from social media and the Internet is a smart move! I’ll check Twitter and blogs when I’m in transit or during my lunch hour at work, but try not to look at it much when I’m at home or when I should be working.
    Ghenet Myrthil recently posted: Book Expo America 2012My Profile

    • I go through my google reader during breakfast … I don’t read the articles, I just screen through the ones I want to read later. That’s one way to gain a bit of time, right? lol

  • Fantastic self-assessment, Juliana. Delving into what you want and formulating how you’re going to get there is half the battle. You know I’ll be around, cheering you on! As for writing what you love? That’s the best idea of all. :}
    Nadja Notariani recently posted: Shameless Summer Giveaway Hop!My Profile

  • I understand the feeling and admire you for taking the necessary steps for your writing! :D Go, Juliana, go! :D
    Elodie recently posted: The magic of Teen Author Carnival…My Profile

  • Hi Juliana!

    I think you are absolutely doing the “write thing” get it? hehe. Ok. Sorry about the pun. But it’s true!! I too have noticed that my writing time is ever-increasingly sucked into blogging/internet time. Twitter is a time-vampire! There is only so much time in the day, we have to make our dreams a priority. Weigh everything and consider, does this really help me toward my goals compared to the time I am spending? It sounds like we are both goal-oriented people. I bet you have goals you want to accomplish this year. How about..make those goals a priority and do those first, then if you have time spend it on the other things.

    Easier said, than done. I know! Let me know what you think! :)

    Andrea
    Andrea recently posted: Book in a Month Pt 14: Choosing a POVMy Profile

  • I need to learn how to cut down my online time too! I feel like everything has been a whirlwind since the A-Z challenge, and my brain is only just slowing down!

    I really hope the extra time off helps you, and that you get lots of writing done!
    Kyra Lennon recently posted: IWSG: Am I doing it right? And does anyone care?My Profile

  • I’m a big fan of fitting blogging into writing, rather than the other way around. Social media IS a time-suck, so it’s important to make all your time count. Kudos for you for even looking at ways to make it work. :-)
    Jenny Hansen recently posted: A Different Kind of Baby Post at More Cowbell Today…#Puppies!My Profile

Hi! I'm Juliana Haygert,

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