Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pieces of the writing life

The popular conception of an author's life comprises two aspects, I think: pounding away at the keyboard creating, and making the bookstore/talk-show circuit to sell the book. Those are two parts to the writing life (although the latter is not likely to include talk shows for most authors, but may include visits to schools, libraries, book festivals, conferences, conventions, and so on). But there are many more. These are some of the hats writers wear:

Creative: the actual writing part; daydreaming and peripheral creative acts (such as drawing a map of your fictional world, or designing your cover if you self-publish, etc.); revising; attending classes and workshops focused on craft

Administrative/Professional: researching the business; querying agents and editors; tracking submissions; filing; writing correspondence; managing schedules; booking travel; maintaining supplies and equipment

Financial: tracking grants, royalties, expenses, taxes, and other monies

Marketing and Publicity: arranging and conducting author visits, interviews, etc.; ordering swag; maintaining an online presence

Social: maintaining ties with readers and other writers, live and/or online

Service: donating books or services; teaching; mentoring; using one's platform for outreach on good causes

Not every writer does every one of these things. But most writers find themselves spending much less time on writing and much more time on other activities than they ever would have believed when they scribbled their first stories, poems, essays. 

The upside to having so many pieces to this pie is that if one task seems like a nuisance, there are plenty of other tasks to look forward to--or procrastinate with. 

And at the center of it is the writing. It's home base, the core that's essential to all the rest.


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