Friday, June 23, 2017

Stop Talking. Start Writing.

There seems to be a recurring theme in my world these days.
I'm currently on vacation with my best friend and guess what was one of the first things we did? We talked about writing. 

Did we talk about what we're writing?

Did we talk about how much we've written?

Did we discuss our upcoming projects or how excited we are about them?

We talked about how we should be writing, how much time we wish we had spent writing, and all the other things we've been doing instead.

Sound familiar?

While growing my Twitter following, I've encountered some newbie writers who are in the same boat. (Names have been omitted in order to protect the dear, sweet, writers. If by some strange twist of fate they are actually reading this, bless their dear, sweet souls, because I've got a truth bomb or two to drop.) 

Here are their the account descriptions:

I'm an aspiring author with a bad case of lazy. Currently writing a couple of novel series and a few screenplays.

I want to reply, Kudos on not calling yourself an aspiring writer! And for actually getting the job (or several jobs) started! Keep it up, Sunshine!

Here's another:

Hey guys! I'm a fiction writer who dreams of getting published; feel free to throw some inspiration my way!

I want to ask what's standing in her way. Is she waiting for the right time to publish? Is she waiting for a big, shiny contract? Those are pretty tough to score. And there are always strings attached. So if writers want to publish their stories, they need to get smarter and find the path that's right for them. 

Boom. Inspiration.

Here's my favorite account description:

Follow me as a I try to complete a novel I've been working on for the last seven years.

I want to comment on that, but I can't decide just how brutally honest I want to be. Which of the following would you suggest?

a) What's your timeline for completing this novel? Another seven years? Because YIKES.

b) Do you expect to see a return on your investment? Because you'll need to sell a ton of those puppies to break even after you've committed a decade to the project. Again, YIKES.

c) Obviously this project is going nowhere. Set it aside and find something you are truly passionate about finishing. And guess what? You'll have published that novel before you could have ever finished this one. 

I've known writers who couldn't give up on that first novel and/or publishing contract and insisted on pursuing it instead of moving on. The truth is we are better writers today than ever before and the stories and characters we develop will be more complex than they would have been several years ago.

On the other end of the spectrum is my amazing friend Jo Ann Schneider. Jo and I published our first novels the same year. However, in the time that I've published two Young Adult fairy tales, Jo has published seven novels, two novellas, as well as collaborating on a couple of short story anthologies. Did I mention that they're all in different genres?
Now that's smart. Jo not only talks about writing, she gets the job done. Her Facebook feed shows some awesome stuff these days. Here's what she shared last week:

Hey Jagged Scars fans. I'm on a mission to write a rough draft of book 5 between now and July 6th. It's only going to be about 80,000 words. That shouldn't be a problem, right? I started yesterday. 

Here is my progress report for today. Time for a snack.
Beginning word count: 5,015
Ending word count: 12,023

(Sarah's math says: 7,008 words on day one!)

Hey Jagged Scars fans, here's my daily report:
Beginning word count: 12,023
Ending word count: 21,576
21,500 words down, only 60,000 to go!

(Sarah's math says: 9,553 words on day two!)

My goal was 25,000 words this week. Got a little more in. One week down, two and a half to go.

Beginning word count: 21,576
Ending word count: 26,610

(Sarah's math says: 5,034 words on day three! 21,595 words written in one week!)

She's amazing. If I wrote like that, my 50,000-60,000 novel would already be written. But I've let life get in the way. I've let distractions (like those blasted idiots who are supposed to be fixing my AC but still haven't done so) get in the way of my summer writing goals. 

So here I am, pulling up my big girl panties and saying it loud and proud:

I'm finishing another novel this summer. 

I'm already a third of the way done at over 20,000 words. Another 10,000 words (which I knocked out in one day last summer) and I'll be halfway done. I can do that, right? 

A life lesson that both Jo and I have learned is that as soon as you publish a novel the first thing your readers will ask is:

When will the next one be out?

Every author wants to say, Holy Heck, Greedy Gus! I just got this one out and it nearly killed me! Can you give me a second?

What we should do is express our gratitude for their support. We want them to be invested in us and all we do, right?

These are the people who will pay our bills. Or at least pay for the occasional pedicure.

As I continue down the road to fame and riches (or just regularly pampered feet), I welcome you to come along on the journey. Here's to finishing my first draft instead of just talking about it!


  1. This was an amazing read. As a set blogger (with no aspirations yet to write a novel) I have three day a week writing deadlines I have to meet but most are between 650-1200 words. I wonder if I were to do a novel I could put the same dedication to it...keep on keeping on lady. This greedy fan wants more ;)

    1. Thanks for commenting, Cathy! That would absolutely work for writing a novel! No matter what people say, there aren't any perfect equations for writing a novel. The only real key to is to keep working at it. Be consistent and keep honing your craft. Knowing how clear your voice is and how broad your audience already is, it would be a great step. Feel free to bug me for help! :)