Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Worst Job in the World

"Treat your writing like a job" is basically the worst and best advice any one who is not getting paid for it can receive.  If you're married with a steady job and kids, you might set aside an hour fifteen minutes for some frantic, beneath the sheets coupling that reminds you entirely too much of being in high school, but odds are that most of those appointments are getting skipped like a visit to the dentist when your teeth aren't hurting.

The same thing happens when you try and make writing into a shitty unpaid internship.  There's all of the stress of working, with none of the actual benefits.  And let's face it, you'd rather use that time for boning.

Sure, if you have an actual deadline, or a concrete goal with consequences, or some reason beyond "I always wanted to be the one to write the eight millionth Spock/Kirk slash fic," then setting aside a specific time and sticking to it can help.

"I'm, not, sure, but I think the cue card has a typo."

In most cases, it isn't going to open the flood gates of inspiration and you'll end a lot of sessions with "and then came the surprise," because you stop caring what you are writing when your only goal is 500 1000 2000 words a day.  There's no motivation, just fear, and that's how recessions happen.

Assuming you don't want Obama to get blamed for another one of your messes, you're probably wondering, "Well, what advice do you have then; high and mighty blog writer?"

It's not as hard as you think.  First, you need to figure out if you are someone who enjoys writing.  If you don't, but you still want to write, Redtube has a half dozen sidebar ads for local S&M clubs you could probably risk clicking on as long as you are using someone else's computer.

"Honey, what were you doing at--oh my Tebow!"

Easiest way to figure out whether or not you like to write is to use it as a reward.  If you normally take an hour to do the dishes and fold the laundry, try telling yourself that if you do it in thirty minutes, you'll get thirty minutes to write.

The beauty of this test is that it doesn't matter if you actually sit down and write for thirty minutes.  Like meeting Chris Hansen with a camera crew, all you need to do is show up.  If you do, now you have motivation.  Bring your iPad or a note book with you in the car.  Show up to get the kids from school twenty minutes early?  Reward yourself.

Substitute a delicious bag of Bertolli's for that complicated foie gras you were going to try?  Hide in the bedroom and scribble the next scene.

Wake up early to beat rush hour but still get caught in traffic anyway?  There's a half-dozen free apps with Dragon speech recognition now.

And if it turns out that rewarding yourself with time to write only leaves you staring at a blinking cursor until your nose starts to bleed?  Don't worry about it.  You could have worse habits; meth comes to mind.  Besides, now you can use the extra time you've earned for something that's actually worth it.

*Was not a beach during the first drafts.

Ben Snyder quit a job paying him almost eighty thousand a year to make more time for both writing and sex, but found that not having any money hurts his prospects of the latter happening.  So, with the double extra writing time, he managed to publish a novel.  Go ahead and download the eBook now for your favorite reader.  It costs less than lunch at McDonald's and you might earn some karma.

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