Thursday, April 2, 2015

Day Never Finished, Massa Got Me Workin'

I'm often astounded how often people ask authors, "How do you write?" (It's right up there with "Where do you get your ideas?") The answer is pretty simple: you put words down on paper, derp. It's not a hard thing to do. People write all the time when they text, text chat with friends online, jot down notes for work... I think what they mean is "How do you treat writing as a job?" Let's face it... unless you're Stephen King or Dan Patterson or some other big name, people just don't view writing stories as a legitimate way to make money. They don't. They view it as something they had to do in school, or something they do as a past time or hobby. They don't view it as something serious.

My brain works funny. (DER HUR HUR, see, laughed for you there) I can't not be thinking about things. Even when I go to sleep, I narrow down my focus to one thing and think about that, and eventually I'll drop off if I'm warm and cozy. When I ask people, "What are you thinking about?", I'm often surprised when they say "nothing" and mean it. Like... how can you not be thinking about something? It doesn't compute to me. So, for me in particular, writing is a way to clear my mind to make way for new thoughts. It's serious fucking business. Although with this erotica I'm writing, I just vomit it up on page and forget about it (yeah, sexy image there, eh?), while I'm writing about it I agonize over what's happening next, and next, and next, and how do I wrap it up? And so on. It is a job for me, one that I'm always doing, perpetually working. Telling stories is a need. Not a want, a need. Putting it down on paper and selling it is just giving me an outlet to tell stories.

However, to answer the question properly, you have to break it down into what you think a job is. A job is something you have to do to get paid, or a task that needs to be achieved to keep your house in order. It's often viewed as something not pleasant (you ever get a job you love, you never work again), and you have to do it repetitively. It's usually not a one-time-and-done thing. So, in order to treat writing like a job, follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Treat writing seriously. Yup, that's right. Treat it like it's not a hobby or something kids do. Treat it like it deserves to be treated: as a very serious endeavor. A lot of people make their living writing: journalists, script writers, novelists, advertising peeps, scientists, researchers, and so on. They treat what they do seriously, giving it the respect the profession deserves.
  2. Write at the same time every day, for a set amount of time every day. Sure, maybe you can only devote a half hour every day for your writing, or maybe four hours. Whatever the time amount, set that aside for your writing time. Sit down and write something every damn day. You have to go to your job every day, right? (Oh wait, that's just me with the ridiculous amount of overtime I've been having lately) Discipline yourself to be consistent. 
  3. Don't expect to be complimented... ever. If you get some, great! Fantastic! However, more often than not your efforts will go unnoticed, even by the people who read your stuff. People don't leave reviews, especially in smut. Not only that, but people often take delight in tearing down others with harsh words. However... just like in a job, you don't expect to be complimented for doing your job, do you? Every once in a while the boss might poke his head in and say "Hey, good job", but for the most part, it's not every day... because you were hired to do that work, and thus, it's expected. Hence, steel yourself for never getting a compliment on your hard work in writing. 
  4. Don't expect a massive paycheck without putting in massive time. Let's face it, what you put into a job is what you get out of it. If you work part time, you get part time wages. If you work full time, you get full time wages. And if you're stuck at work continually, you'll get ridiculous amounts of overtime. However much time you put into writing will directly affect any cash you get out of it. Unless you are very fucking lucky (EL James for example), you won't get a hit book (BASED ON FUCKING TWILIGHT WTF) right away. You just won't. The more time you put in, the more stories you write, the more stories you publish... the bigger your paycheck will be. 
  5. The more education you have, the better you will do. This is not saying "Go to college!" What I mean by this is that the more you research not just how to write, but also what to write, the more you learn about the craft. The more you know about what you are doing, the better you will do. If you're not writing and you're serious about writing, you should be pondering these things (which is why you guys get my long rambly posts on blogger) or researching (which I do when I'm not writing). When I'm getting ready to write a story, I research the elements I know will be in it first, and then set it down. 
  6. The more joy you find in your work, the less like work it will be. It's just what I said above... if you do what you love, you'll never work again. People who groan and kick their feet every time when it comes to writing probably shouldn't write for a secondary income. They'll get discouraged after some failures and give up. Well, guess what? People fail at writing all the time. The reason why the big names authors are big name authors is because they didn't give up. If it's that hard, just don't. However, the converse... if you love telling stories, and love putting your thoughts down on paper, then don't be discouraged by those first failures. Everyone has them. Keep going at it and find joy in the written word, in your written words, and you'll do well in what will seem like no time at all.
Cha-ching. One more random nonsensical post under the belt. 

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