This Writer's Life · Writing

6 Signs You May be a Writer.

Lately, I’ve been working on my current work in progress and now I can finally say that I’ve finished!

It’s the longest piece I’ve ever done, so it has been quite a challenge. I have wrestled self-doubt and there were times when I didn’t think I would actually make it, but I finally got there. This got me thinking about the writer’s life in general and some of our special habits. 😉

You know you’re a writer when:-

1. You’d rather be with your imaginary friends than with real people.

2. You have a habit of staring out your window to solve some of your problems (or even just to daydream).

3. You keep adding books to your ‘to be read’ pile (besides, some of that is research).

4.You have a love-hate relationship with paper.

5. You collect various stationary, even if you don’t need it (but it sure looks pretty).

6. You’d rather write than be in a ‘real’ job (whether you have one or not).

What do you think are some of the special quirks of being a writer? Do you consider yourself to be a ‘slow’ writer in a fast-moving world? Have you managed to achieve your writing goals this year?

Main image courtesy of Pixabay

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Life Lessons · This Writer's Life · Writing

Having a Writing Plan.

Giving up work to write full-time I think is every writer’s dream come true. The thought of simply writing what we want to write in whatever hours that suits us, sounds appealing, but that’s far from the reality. I’ve found out the hard way that writing takes a lot more time and energy than what we’ve all been led to believe.

A few months after I got married, I handed in my notice to my employer of almost ten years. It was a decision that was not made lightly, but one I knew had to be made. I had tired of my job and as far as I could see there was no future for me there. It was time I moved on to something different.

Excited by the prospect of fulfilling the writing dream of writing full time, I gathered enough notebooks and pens to last me a good while. I spent time making sure the computer had enough space to accommodate my works, and living in the Blue Mountains at the time, I had an inspiring view of the Grose Valley from my balcony. I was in a perfect situation in which to write.

With so much time on my hands, I began to squander it. Projects I had eagerly begun were tossed aside for the next project, only to see the process repeated. After these ‘failures’, doubts began to fester until I dreaded starting anything new and spent less time writing altogether. It was about this time that my husband landed a job in the country, and we relocated, giving me the chance to have some casual work within the same department. Almost two years later, I became pregnant with my first child. Writing during this time was very much on the back-burner.

Looking back, I realise that although I wanted to write, that period in my life was not the time; clearly I was not ready. Also I did not have a plan. It may sound simple, but in my eagerness, I had no idea where I going. Before handing in my resignation, I should have put more thought into what exactly I was going to do, have some kind of back up plan, consider finances, etc.

These days, I’m working to two different pieces of advice: plan your work, work your plan and finish what you started. Planning ahead can save you a lot of time and effort. It also allows you to focus on the task ahead and gives you the confidence you need to reach those goals.

Have you ever stopped working to pursue writing full-time and it didn’t work out? Do you feel guilty when you squander your time rather than write? Do you have any writing projects that are incomplete? 

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Images courtesy of Pixabay

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This Writer's Life · Writing

How Do You Define Success as a Writer?

success

We creative types have a tendency to dream big, and why not? If we want something badly enough, the sky’s the limit. Unfortunately, when we begin the hard work that is involved the get there we can feel as if we’ve been hit with the ice bucket challenge. This can be an especially daunting time for unpublished writers, like myself, yet we have an advantage over those already published – time.

During my university studies, one of the first subjects I undertook was on publishing and editing. One of the required readings stuck a chord with me and has remained ever since. It demonstrated the hard work that is required if we wish to succeed as authors (admittedly, though, some of it was rather extreme). This particular author did not discover fame, rewards or find himself upon the road to riches. He was, however, an extremely productive writer.

Born in 1907, Gordon Clive Bleeck is a relatively unknown author, yet he was one of the most prolific and successful fiction writers Australia has produced. He wrote in multiple genres, including crime thrillers, romance and science fiction. As well as writing under his own name, he also wrote under a number of pseudonyms – believed to number at around twenty-two (I told you that was extreme)! Some of these include ‘Brad Cordell’ for westerns and ‘Belli Luigi’ for thrillers and horror stories. In total, he wrote 250 novels or novellas – 150 of these were westerns, which were produced every month for nine years. What is also remarkable about Bleeck is that all this output was produced while working full time.

Admittedly, he may well have had a particular formula for some of his books, like the westerns for example, but so does Mills & Boon and we all know how successful they have been over the years. Regardless, it is still an extraordinary achievement and clearly he had an audience for his work.

As unpublished writers, we not only have time on our side, but we need to make sure that the writer’s life is for us. It’s not going to be easy, no matter which road we take, so we need to be prepared to be in it for the long haul. We become writers because we love stories, and like any other art, it pleases us when we see other people enjoy our work. To me, to become a successful author means writing my stories, getting them published and finding an audience that love what I do. If I’m extremely productive in this process, I’ll be very happy indeed.

How do you define success as a writer? Are you prepared to do what it takes? Are you making the most of your time as a ‘pre-published’ author?

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This Writer's Life · Writing

Being a Writer: Me, Myself & I.

BuddhaAs writers, we are often told that writing is a solitary pursuit, and in recent months I have begun to feel that more than at any other time. Despite my husband working 95 kilometres (59 miles) away, I have learned to adjust, yet for the past couple of months he has started a new position that takes up so much of his time, I hear less from him than ever before. Learning to adjust to this current situation is a lot harder to come to terms with.

Almost twelve years ago, my husband and I moved out here to the country to make our ‘tree change’ – a slower, quieter pace of life to get away from the hectic, stressful life of living in the city. For the most part it has worked, and the solitude has been idyllic for the writer in me, but as a person, in need of company sometimes – well, maybe not so much.

During my last days in sixth class (yes, I can remember that far back), my teacher wrote me a short note stating: Silence is Golden – it was wonderful having you. I have never forgotten this message simply because it taught me these two things:- that I was appreciated for who I was and that silence is not such a bad thing after all.

I have always been the quiet one; the one my mother always labelled as being ‘different’ from my older sisters; the one who had a close circle of friends but jumped every time another kid spoke to me; the one who was happy to be on their own within their imaginary worlds rather than play with her sisters. Becoming a writer was inevitable.

These days in a busy world where noise is the norm and everyone is expected to work above and beyond what a human being is capable of, we need some time out for ourselves. Lately, I’m finding myself more ‘inward looking’, yet the advantage is, it is a perfect situation for writing. Spending quality time alone allows you to focus and determine your goals. Silence teaches you that if you really want to be a writer, you have to learn to get used to it and appreciate what it can do for you. As writing is a solitary profession, we need to learn to be comfortable with ourselves.

Keeping quiet also makes for good listeners, which is important for writers. Not only can we pick up on ideas for stories, it also gives us the opportunity to listen more to our characters and the stories they wish to tell. For now, I need to learn to make the most of this situation. Without trying to sound like a complete crackpot, I need to finally give a voice to these characters and their stories. After all, it’s the quiet ones you have to watch! 😉

As a writer, have you learnt to embrace the solitude? What do you do to help break the silence? Would you prefer to have more time alone in order to help you write?

Enjoy this article? Subscribe to my blog and never miss a post. You can also follow me on Twitter and Google+. You can also find me on Goodreads and Pinterest.