So You Want to Write. Some Questions to Ask Yourself

People seem endlessly fascinated by the routine writers follow. Often they don't know how much work it involves and isn't simply a matter of some inspiration that carries a story or book to completion. While an idea may come in a sudden flash, the story that follows may take months to write. And when do I do that writing? 

The flash has sometimes come in the middle of the night and I have then spent the night writing something that became the backbone for a story. But the ongoing work of writing and revising happens during the day for me. Generally in the morning. Although I've had various routines to fit different stages of my life. One period when I took time from employment at the various places I worked to make ends meet (and sometimes because I believed in and/or enjoyed the work), I found working during my children's school hours was the only time I wouldn't be distracted too often.

When my children left home, I fit my writing time around my other employment. I made a point of not working on Mondays at the job and taking that day to write. I had the good fortune of job sharing with someone who wanted Fridays off so I was able to follow that regimen for quite a few years. Since retirement from outside employment, I don't write at the same time every day. However, I have a minimum amount of time for writing each day that is on the low side and I make sure to meet that. What I find is that I more often than not exceed it. But at the same time, I don't feel as if I am missing out on what the outside world has to offer that I want to explore.

The questions to ask yourself if you, too, think you want to write likely go something like this:
  1. Do you have a deep need or a strong urge to share a story? You may know that everyone has a story to tell, but that not everyone can write. Can you write yours? Are you willing to spend a minimum of an hour or two a day on this? Are you willing to spend more time if you find the story requires more to develop?
  2. Are you willing to revise and revise and revise?
  3.  Are you able to face rejection when you send your work to editors/publishers? Do you know how difficult it is to find a publisher?
  4. Do you know how difficult it is to find an agent? The agent is looking for someone who has already published a book or two, the writer without a book published has difficulty getting their work looked at at all. Sometimes it seems like a mug's game.
  5. Would you consider self publication?
  6. Do you have any idea how rapidly the whole face of publishing is changing? With electronic media as well as the traditional book publishers now in the field, do you have the energy to learn about what is going on so that you can make the best decisions about submitting your work?And what kind of contract you need when it is accepted?
  7. Are you aware that it is difficult to get most books reviewed anywhere, that books have a short shelf life and require as much time devoted to them after publication if you want sales as during the writing process?
  8. Are you willing to put a lot of time and effort into promoting your book once it is published, in whatever format?
  9. Are you aware that only a small number of writers make significant amounts of money from their writing? 
  10. Are you going to sit down today and start?
If you don't seem to have a choice about whether you write your story or not even if you find your answers to the above questions discouraging, just get cracking!


Posted on October 6, 2011 .