If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent.”
I saw this quote yesterday on a friend’s page, and though she was referring to her fitness regimen, it spoke to my beliefs about writing too.
Some of the people in my life, when they heard that I had sent my book off to an agent, said “Oh good! Now you can have your free time back.” And I realized that they saw my writing as a chore, something I undertook as a project, and now the first manuscript is finished, they saw the chore as something I could tick off my to-do list and finally have time for “fun.”
But the thing is that writing IS fun for me. It’s not a chore. Well, okay, there are days when it’s easier than others. Still, writing is something I enjoy. And it’s an ongoing thing. I’m a writer, and that word encompasses the ongoing nature of the action. For me, it’s not something I do once and then I’m finished. It’s part of who I am. It’s something that’s integral to my nature. I’ve always done it. The difference is that in the past it was something I hid from others. It was a private activity that I did late at night after everyone else was asleep. I had this feeling that I wasn’t allowed to be serious about it. I had to have a full-time job and there were responsibilities and obligations and to-do lists of chores. So my writing became like an indulgence. Something I allowed myself to do as a privilege whenever I finished everything else. It was a luxury the way other women dream of bubble baths and manicures and trips to the spa. And I was able to indulge that luxury about as often as most women get to have those other things.
It’s amazing to me that, given the sidelining of my dreams, I still managed to write anything at all. And yet, I have amassed a great deal of writing in spite of all that. I dreamed of being a writer since I was a little girl, but I allowed that dream to shrink while other things took control of my time.
This last year was the first time that I decided to stop relegating my writing to the margins of my life. I feel as though I finally allowed my true self to step forward and reclaim the importance it deserves. It’s the first time that I let myself think of writing as a true vocation.
I’ve been writing my whole life. People just never saw it before now. But I’m through hiding it. This is my new normal. I’m not apologizing for it.
“If you want to be taken seriously, be consistent.” That means setting a schedule. Following through on what I plan. Writing every day not as an afterthought or a late night indulgence but as a priority.
Here at the beginning stages of Book 2, I have some research to do to prepare for the world I’m creating. I’m not sure yet how much of that research will yield rules I will incorporate vs. those I’ll deliberately break, but I think it’s important that I remind myself what the traditional rules have been before I go making new ones of my own.
These are a couple of the books I’m looking through.
I also found some very interesting information from my History of Magic and Experimental Science books (mentioned before here) regarding vampire lore, spanning back to the Greeks and Romans. Fascinating stuff! One passage refers to the Lamias, female vampiric figures I’ve studied before.
I’m thoroughly enjoying the research, and I’m certain that the information will be useful.
One of the improvements I’ve made since I began work on this series a year ago is the use of Evernote to collect my notes, inspiration, and scraps of ideas for future reference. Evernote allows me to keep all of my ideas together and share them from my desktop to my iPad to my phone seamlessly. I can use tags to make searching for data simple, and so far it’s really helped me organize my work. Often, I’ll be walking to work and think of something that I might add to my book somehow. With Evernote, I can save it all in one place, and those ideas are never lost. Research, character notes, photos, links…all collected for me. I love it.
I’m glad it was always such a positive experience for you. When I was younger, I loved to write, but I always got so discouraged by how bad it was that I usually gave up. It’s only been in the past few years that I’ve realized 1) first drafts always suck and 2) you can’t write well until you write poorly first. I’m finally over that, and I’ve been dead serious about my writing for the past two years. But it was a really large hurtle to overcome.
On a sidenote, Evernote sounds really nice. I currently just use a leather notebook that I carry around in my pocket with a pen, but having notes tagged with meta data for easy reference and synced across multiple devices sounds like a sweet deal.
Thanks for your comment! You’re right. That was a huge hurdle. I’m a perfectionist, and it was hard for me when I was younger, not to become frustrated when what I wrote didn’t come out as a masterpiece the first time.
Evernote really is handy. I carry one of those notebooks too, and I can take a photo of whatever I’ve written to add to my Evernote. Then, thanks to those tags, it’s right at my fingertips whenever I’m ready to use it.