Thursday, September 20, 2012

September Theme: Misconceptions About Writing (Writing, Writing...)

There are many misconceptions about what it's like to be a writer, as my fellow Smack-Dabbers have illustrated. But I think one of the biggest ones I personally had, before I began writing full-time about two years ago, was that a writer spends most of her time, well, writing. I honestly had visions of being able to sit down at my computer at nine in the morning, and write write write until lunch, take a mini-break, and then write write write until my fingers gave out completely or it was time for dinner, whichever one came first. I did not, by any stretch of the imagination, believe that everything I typed during this daily writing marathon would be good, or even usable. But I did, quite seriously, believe that the majority of my work day would be spent writing. After all, I was a "writer." That's what writers do

And perhaps that is what some writers do. But for me, at least, that hasn't been the case at all. The most surprising thing to me about being a full-time writer is how much my schedule varies from day to day. Some days I'll write for two hours in the morning, some days I'll write for thirteen (it's happened! more than once!). Sometimes I'll go for week-long stretches without writing a single word. This used to bother me, that I didn't have a set time to write, or a set amount of time I could set aside every day, but now I accept it as part of my process. If a book gets done in the end (and almost always by my deadline--I swear, just ask my editor!), then I guess it doesn't really matter if I'm writing writing writing every single day, all day long.

So what do I do when I'm not writing? That's a good question. I spend a fair amount of time doing school visits, or scheduling school visits (which can take almost as long!). I do Skype visits too. I outline. I read proofs of my books that are in the works. I read other people's books, for inspiration. I do research, online or at the library. I update my website (I am horrible at this, so it takes me forever). I fuss over promo materials. Occasionally I write blog posts or articles. I do interviews. I talk to my agent about ideas. I send LOTS of emails about everything from book jackets to meetings with my editor. I sit and stare at my computer screen and think. I talk over ideas with my fellow writers. I (yes, of course) goof off and take breaks. And sometimes, like for my upcoming middle-grade novel A TANGLE OF KNOTS (hitting a bookstore near you in February 2013!), I do things that might strike other people as bizzare, like bake over two-dozen cakes in a six month period. (The book has several cake recipes in it, so I had to do a lot of experimenting.) Here I am enjoying the fruits of my labor, an avocado chocolate cake. While the cake recipe, sadly, did not make it into the finished book, the cake itself was AMAZING.



And speaking of things that writers do besides write . . . I'm hosting a giveaway! To celebrate the release of the paperback edition of SOPHIE SIMON SOLVES THEM ALL, which just came out this Tuesday, I'd like to give away one copy each to two lucky readers. To enter, simply fill out the form below. Winners will be selected at random on October 5th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Now, fellow writers, please tell me: What do you do with your work day besides write??


5 comments:

  1. MMM, avocado chocolate cake? If that one didn't "make the cut" I'm dying to know what did.
    Obviously, a little of the writing day is spent finding inspiration from other blogs! But I have a set limit on my time or I would never get to write write writing at all. :)

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  2. I want that recipe!

    And I'm feeling relieved! I blogged yesterday about my (failed) attempts to set up and stick to a writing schedule. Nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't have one.

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  3. I tend to write a lot. Usually 8-10 (or even sometimes 12) hours a day. But I've also been a full-time writer since 2001. Writing stamina definitely increases as time goes on!

    Thanks for such a great giveaway, Lisa! I'm off to Tweet about it...

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  4. I need to write more! I goof off too much! And of course, there is the WAITING.

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  5. So glad to hear I'm not the only one who works this way!

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