The Hurrieder I Go, the Behinder I Get

I got home from Eureka Springs last Sunday. Yes. It will be a week tomorrow. I had a couple hours of rest on Sunday, and then I hit it running after that. It has been a combination of things I planned, things I didn’t plan, and even some things that were unexpected, but it has all been good.

It has given me one excuse after another not to blog, though.

I keep planning to post some highlights from my session at the conference. Due to operator error (mine, not my friend who I asked to push the button), my session was not recorded. I didn’t set the camera up properly.

Here’s what I’m going to do instead. I will convert my handouts to PDF files tomorrow morning and post them here.

In the meantime, what am I going to do to combat forgetting to blog? I’m going to go back to writing things down. No, I haven’t gotten away from that, but I haven’t written down my blog schedule for the rest of the month either. That will happen tomorrow.

Putting It in Writing

I know and understand the need to put things in writing. So why don’t I do it more often?

For me, writing things out serves a variety of purposes.

1. It helps me to plan.

When I need to think things through and make a plan, it helps me to write it all out. I don’t mean type it on a computer. I mean get a notebook and pen and physically write it out longhand. Handwriting. Cursive.

There is something about the flow of the pen on the paper, the scratching of the nib, the feel of the pen in my hand and the paper under my hand, that ties me to the moment. It’s very tactile. And that becomes very important in the planning process. I can touch something and feel connected, down-to-earth instead of pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

2. It helps me to remember.

Up until about a year ago, I didn’t have any trouble with my memory. But the last six months at one particular job changed that. It was high stress. OK. It was always high stress, but the last six months were more high stress than usual. I started forgetting things. Simple things. And, honestly, that scared me. So I started writing things down that I absolutely had to remember.

I’m out of that job and no longer have such high stress levels, so my memory has been improving, but I guess writing things down became a habit, so I still do it.

3. It helps with my writing.

That sounds silly. Writing helps with writing? Of course it does! But let me explain.

There are some things that I cannot just type on the computer as I think them up. Poems are in this list. I have to write poems out longhand first. Then I revise them. Then I type them in the computer and revise as I type. And they will probably go through another revision after that.

There are also some story segments that are sticky, meaning they don[t really want to be written the way I’m writing them, so they go into a notebook first, too. If I’m writing nonfiction (like I’ve been doing a lot lately), sometimes I have to write around the subject before I can get straight to the point. It helps to write that out longhand, too, instead of dumping it all into a manuscript and then having to edit it out later.

These are my main reasons for putting things in writing. Do you have any to add to it?

Works-in-Progress

redpenHave you ever thought about why current projects are called “work-in-progress” (WIP)?

Have you ever been in the middle of something and it…just…doesn’t….feel quite right?

I’m there.

I have a couple friends I can use as sounding boards and I am very grateful to them! Last night, I chatted with one of them on Facebook;

The project, a book, was tentatively titled Selling Yourself Is Not Prostitution: Networking & Self-Promotion for Wallflowers. For now, it will be a newsletter and possibly an ecourse that will be available through Udemy. Nothing on that is set in stone yet, but I will let you now what happens with that.

It will still be a book. Just not in the way I had originally planned it. But that’s the way it goes with WIPs. They’re changeable. Unless you have a written contract in hand that says it has to be a certain way, you can always change it up. So I am.

Today, I am working on setting up the newsletter. It will be offered through MailChimp.com. I will post tomorrow when I have the signup information.

50% Writer, 50% Business Person

Eloisa James
Photo (c) 2014 by Jen Nipps

Eloisa James was the keynote speaker at the Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc., conference earlier this month. She also presented a lunch session one day of the conference.

If at all possible, you need to hear her speak. She is very polished and very knowledgeable.

Of everything she said, one thing has really stayed with me.

“You are 50% writer and 50% business person and the business comes first.”

Why did that resonate so much in my mind?

That’s an easy answer and a hard truth.

I tend to ignore the business side of things. I write too much for free or for very little pay. Speaking of which, I’m going to stop writing for free. That means I’m going to start charging you to read this blog.

Just kidding.

The blog is something I do for me as well as for you. That’s something I couldn’t charge for.

There are things I can do — need to do — should have already been doing — though.

At the moment, I am a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. In addition to working on a book about self-promotion and networking (Selling Yourself Is Not Prostitution: Networking & Self-Promotion for Wallflowers) while I’m here, I will also be planning how I can address more of the business side.

I need to do that.

I have to do that.

If I don’t, there is no sense in my continuing to work as a writer. No one would expect an accountant or a lawyer to work for free. They wouldn’t expect a doctor to either.

Why should writers?

Why should any kind of artist?

We shouldn’t.

I’m going to change that for myself. I have friends I can call on for advice. Friends who have made their livings as freelance writers/editors for years. If they can do it, so can I.

But I have to put the business side into practice as well.

What about you? What is it in your writing life that you tend to neglect even though it needs attention?