Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Writing: Career or hobby?

I had the opportunity to go to dinner with some great writing friends last night, including the awesome and hilarious Janette Rallison. We all met at the WIFYR conference a few years ago. I love getting together with other authors/aspiring authors and "talk shop" (plus a lot of other things--you seriously never know what's going to get brought up whenever this group gets together) (and I can't tell you upon pains of death and humiliation to all involved) (but one part may have involved Erin standing up to try and show us her new jeans and her chair falling over and hitting the older gentleman sitting behind her, and us trying to say she has turretts [because of an earlier incident in the night] while laughing hysterically, and him looking really angry at us, just as a mild example).

Left to right: Carla, Janette's daughter who doesn't want her name on the internet, Erin, Melony

Stacey, Me, Janette

One thing that Erin (the dark-haired beauty in the middle of the first picture, also the culprit of attacking innocent old men with her chair) and I were talking about at one point was how often to write. She was asking me if I write every day, and what if I'm having a day where I'm blocked and everything that's coming out is crap?

I told her I do write every day, even if I can only get 500 words out. "Even if what you write is so bad, you just have to delete it all the next day?" Yes, even then. It creates a habit, it helps train your mind, and get you into the necessary schedule of writing every day. If you want to be published, you will have to be able to do that. You can't take month long breaks because you're "blocked" if you want to be published. You will have deadlines that can't be missed, and you have to push through the block and keep going no matter what. There are tricks I use to help me get through writer's block, and maybe I'll talk about that in another post.

I guess it comes down to whether writing is a hobby for you, or if you want it to be your career. If it's just a hobby, then by all means, write when the muse strikes. If you want it to be a career, you have to treat it like a career NOW. Before you even have an agent, let alone a publishing deal? Yes. I believe that if you want something to happen, you have to act like it already has--create the habit and the mentality now. Act as if you already have an agent and an editor. It will just make it that much easier when it really does happen.

What do you think? Do you write every day? How do you get through writer's block?


Kathryn Rose said...

Yes, I write at least 500 words a day and am much happier when I go past 1,000. I agree; we need to create the habit and maintain discipline. When I started writing daily, instead of whenever I felt like it, I noticed not only I became closer to my story, but my craft started to improve.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I try to do something related to my writing every day. Even if that means I'm outlining or reading through things to see what works. I'm still working on making it a habit again. As one who got out of the habit for a while, be in the habit.

ali cross said...

Great pictures! I love that you guys still get together ~ that's awesome.

I couldn't agree more on knowing what you're in to writing for. I've said the same thing you said to my husband before. I'm working like a published author NOW so that when I AM published, I already have the work ethic in place, I already know how to work hard even when my muse is on vacation. :)

Janette Rallison said...

It was so fun to have dinner with you guys! Let me know how things go for both of your babies!

i'm erin. said...

Aw Sara, You're so cute. I'm glad we got to talk. Last night was awesome times awesome. And seriously, I swear I have turrettes.

Aubrey said...

It was SUCH a fun night. I love all the girls in our group and love hanging with Janette. One of the best things I ever did was be in her class!

Surprised you didn't mention the TOTALLY AWESOME movie we went to see too. ;)

I have always had a problem with daily commitments so for now I'd say writing is definitely a part time hobby. ;) But I LOVE LOVE LOVE hanging with all my friends who are way more awesome than I am at making it more of a job/life!

Jennie Bailey said...

I love getting together with writing buddies and talking shop (and other fun stuff)! Looks like you ladies had a great time!

I write every day! And there is no way to get over writer's block then to plow right through it. I find that if I just make myself start writing, I can usually work through it and come out on the other side!

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

What a fun, fun time! Love writer gatherings. All of you looks so cute, too!

Great point about writing! I write every day as well (well, okay, not when I have a deadline for something else, but I do try to squeeze in some writing every day). And you're right, it's all part of working your writerly brain and treating it as a career. They go hand in hand. Beautiful post, my dear.

Mary Ann said...

I'm a new follower so please pardon the intrusion. A quote attributed to Aristotle says, "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit." I have come to love my daily writing time and feel cheated if I let a day slip by without writing. I find that the best way for me to deal with a block is what Hemmingway said to do. "Apply the seat of your pants to the seat of a chair." Something magical happens when I sit down to my keyboard, but it can't happen if I never sit down.