Forget The Muse- You Need A Guardian To Become A Published Author

Don't interrupt the writer...

Don’t interrupt the writer…

As I write this, Twitter is ablaze with writers professing their excitement about attending the upcoming Romance Writers of  America national conference this July in San Diego. Registration just opened and #RWA16 is trending, and it’s stabbing me in the heart repeatedly.
I had planned to go this year, but financial issues and pesky life situations caused me to change my mind. I disappointed myself and my critique partner who wanted to go with me. She’s still speaking to me, but gives me dirty looks every now and then, and I can’t really blame her. (She won’t go alone). Though I know the conference provides invaluable knowledge and networking, I decided not to go because of the cost, in both money and time.
So Ironic
Why is it, when you finally decide to make your writing career a top priority, the universe or whatever higher power you believe in, picks that moment to throw everything else at you? All three books in my trilogy are written, and in various stages of editing, and my goal is to begin self-publishing them this year. I’ve started to line up all the other components I’ll need, for covers, my website, marketing, etc. I even set up my LLC, Royal Turtle Publishing. I’m coming down the home stretch, and my goal of being a published author is closer than ever.
But…
I’m an entrepreneur so my day job situation is erratic. Sometimes I have free time and sometimes I don’t. So chances are it will take up a good deal of my time in unpredictable ways. I’m also in a situation where I am likely to be moving and changing households in the next few months, with all the fun that entails. Add to that some volunteer work I committed to, and some major family drama that has occurred, and now I’m wondering if I will ever get my books to market!
I’m reminded of a quote I heard, attributed to J.K. Rowling: “Be ruthless about protecting your writing days, i.e. do not cave in to endless requests to have “essential” and “long overdue” meetings on those days.”
You have to guard your writing time fiercely. At least, that’s how it feels sometimes, doesn’t it? Last night I finally sat down to edit and lost count of how many phone calls and texts I was interrupted by. But that’s life- you can’t always run away to write, you have to fit it in. I would have turned off the phone, but I was expecting important calls that had to be attended to right away, so while waiting, I worked on my book.
Muse vs. Guardian
We talk so much about the Muse- that mystical part of us that inspires what we write. But there is so much battling for our attention these days- work, family, friends, social media, etc., that we also need a Guardian to make sure we sit down and do the work of being a writer, or whatever material the Muse gives us won’t ever get finished or published. It’s a long process from story idea to a finished product that can be published or submitted for publication, and we must fight every step of the way to get it done. Either life gets in the way of our writing work, or we get in our own way by procrastinating.
The bottom line is- changes or sacrifices must be made in order to make writing a priority. I have given up on my herb garden, and hire local kids to weed my yard for me. I don’t watch television as much as I used to, and housework, cooking, laundry and even shopping are either delegated or put off as long as possible. I don’t read for pleasure, except for a few pages here and there when I use the restroom (double duty, lol). I’d love to go to conferences like RWA16 or even on a long-overdue vacation, but I am giving those up so I will have time and money available to launch my books this year.
I’ve known people who want to write, but just never seem to fit in the time. I can’t make a judgement, not knowing their full situation, but I do know this- if you are passionate about writing and really want it, there is a way to find the time. It may mean you have to work on writing when you are mentally or physically wiped out from your other obligations, or work on a project in bits and pieces, but if you keep trying, keep pushing, keep fighting for the time and resources, you will eventually succeed. Try to do something, anything writing- related each day, to develop the habit. If you don’t become the Guardian of your own writing career, other obligations or distractions will continue take it from you.
It Never Ends
I’m learning how to make better use of my time, and what distractions I can eliminate. I enjoy my writing work much more than any of the pleasures or tasks I have let go of, so there is not much I miss. I do try to keep a balance, though, and spend quality time with my Hubby, friends and family when I can. The trick for me is finding what I can let go of in life order to push my writing career to the forefront as much as possible. With perseverance and a little luck, who knows? Maybe someday I’ll be able to quit the day job and have all the free time I need to pursue writing.
Yeah, even then, I’ll likely have to keep on fighting for time to write. I hear once you’re published, it gets even crazier, but…
Bring it on!
How do you fight for your writing time? What have you given up in order to write?

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2 thoughts on “Forget The Muse- You Need A Guardian To Become A Published Author

  1. Renee,
    I, too, suffer from the time affliction, so I feel your pain. Sadly, there is no magical cure.

    I’ve learned to be okay with a house that’s less than white-glove perfect. My hubby grows the garden, takes care of it all. I harvest from the garden and cook. That’s the deal we’ve struck.

    But there are intangibles that seep in and suck time–like family members being nearly on death’s door or aging canines that have been a daily part of my life for nearly 14 years… so I let go of some of my writing time to tend to them. At first, the conflict ate at me. I told myself I had to solider through no matter what…but in defining my life’s mission, I want to be of service to others. I value relationships. My goal for 2016 is Joy and Inspiration. I want it. I want to share it. I have discovered, I only experience it when I have more balance.

    And why don’t we gather a group and head south next year to RWA 2017 in Orlando?
    Road Trip!

    Smiles,
    Linda

    Like

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