I’ll start by saying that this post isn’t about throwing a pity party for myself or asking for pity. It’s also not an attempt to make excuses or to blame anyone for anything. All I want to do is explain some things, is all. It’ll make my new writing plan make some more sense when I get down to that part.
Ok, now for the post!
I’ve done a lot of thinking this past week.
During my last post, I mentioned how I’m beginning to feel that some of my past writing should have been better. How my characters should have come out stronger. Of course, anyone’s writing can be better and it’s impossible to write anything perfect or to please everyone. But I really feel like I’ve missed the mark on a lot of things in the past, writing-wise. And I think I’ve figured out why.
Writers can’t see their own mistakes, so we need others to look at our work before even thinking of releasing it. I’m in a great critique group for this reason, and it has helped me to improve my writing. But sometimes issues with a book slip through, things that I totally miss or don’t think are problems. These are the things that don’t come to light until a book’s out there in the world and in the hands of readers and reviewers.
Then, and only then do I see how good of a book I’ve written.
I do get mostly mixed to positive reviews on my books, but many of these still point out what could have been better, or what could have made an OK or a good book into a great book. These are those things where I miss the mark. I don’t want to write “OK” books. I want to write amazing books for my readers and put out the very best. So many of you guys have been very supportive and you deserve to get the very best.
Which brings me to what’s stopping me from doing that. And how I’m going to get rid those hurdles.
Hurdle #1: I work 9 hours a day, 5 days a week at a job that has nothing to do with writing. This job is mentally and physically taxing sometimes. That doesn’t include the hour and a half of driving that I do every day.
That means that every day of the week, I spend almost twelve hours a day at my day job or going back and forth from it. And in the winter when the roads are usually bad, that can take even longer.
I get up around 7 every morning and get home close to 7 at night. Then, it’s time to make dinner, do some possible errands, feed the cats, water my tarantulas and do whatever else happens to pop up.
Then I have time to write. Maybe.
I do most of my writing when I’m at my most tired, when most of my energy for the day has already been used up. Sometimes, I don’t get any writing done at all.
This “duh” moment hit me earlier while I was at work earlier and my brain was still working at 100%. Of course I’m not going to write at my best when I’m super tired! I do write on the weekends, too, but this doesn’t make the mess I’ve probably made during the rest of the week disappear.
Solution: Do some writing in the morning. Before work.
I’m not a morning person, but I think I will need to set my alarm an hour earlier and see if I can write before work takes all the energy from me. If I can make myself get used to this schedule, it’s possible that this will help me out quite a bit.
Hurdle #2: Deadlines force me to rush on top of being super tired after work.
In the past couple of years, I’ve made a habit of setting tight deadlines for myself to finish a book so my readers don’t have to wait a long time for a sequel or a next project. That’s the way it works in publishing. If you don’t release a new book every few months or so, readers tend to forget about you, so there’s lots of pressure to keep up.
Having a tight deadline gives me less room to work on a book, and therefore less time to catch any issues or flaws with it before it’s too late.
Solution: No more deadlines. Ever.
I won’t release books quite as fast as I used to, so please bear with me. I won’t slow down too much, but I will no longer say when a book will be done until I’m very close to release and I’ve had extra time to make sure it shines. If I have no deadline, I won’t feel as much pressure to hurry as fast as I can and can focus on other things.
I’ll still keep you updated on progress, though! That won’t change.
Hurdle #3: I give myself way too much to do on the weekends, and some of it has nothing to do with writing.
I also run a Youtube channel and post videos there weekly (that have nothing to do with writing) and I have a schedule to keep up with there as well. This distracts me from writing on the weekends, so I’m losing lots of non-tired time that I could be using on my books.
Solution: Do my Youtube stuff on weeknights and more writing on the weekends.
I’ll just switch the two. I don’t have to think nearly as much for Youtube.