There’s a Twitter thread going around now, about Scalzi’s lack of writing and how he’s a part-time writer. He has a reply about it, about all the things that writers do that aren’t part of ‘writing’.
And a lot of it rings true. Like, this year, non-writing things that I have done…
– Go to 3 different conventions
– Go to the UK for the Kindle Storyteller Award shortlist ceremony
– Hire and fire multiple people to help run the indie publishing business
– Edit two different co-author works
– Work with cover artists for all the books I have put out
– Write blurbs
– Sort out categories (or train people to sort that out later) on Amazon. Same with keywords and linking series together
– Put together SOPs
– Work with narrators / find new narrators / listen to audiobooks and set those up for sale
– Talk to new authors, some of which might become co-authors
– Look into chairs for sitting on since I don’t have one for the office
– Set-up the office (a 1/4 done!)
– Get new paperbacks and hardcovers and the lot ordered, signed, shipped
And that’s just like a small, small portion of the work that goes on as an indie author. I mean, I literally have 2.5 staff now, helping me do everything from formatting to setting up newsletters and newsletter promos to editing AMS ads and FB ads and keeping track of ROI for those and….
All of which are ‘indie publisher’ work, not author work.
But as an author, spending time reading, watching TV, taking a shower, staring into space – all that is plotting time too. It’s refilling the creative well, helping me create connections that might not be there without doing all those things.
Sometimes, people are like ‘how do you have so many ideas?’. The answer is – filling up that well. Seeing what sparks, and not saying ‘no’ to any of those silly ideas. I jot them down. Sometimes they are actual books. Often they’re just shorts. But more than that, I sometimes get full series from those ideas.
Now, I’m a plansters (sort of a plotter and pantser. I have a rough start and generally firm end. Everything in-between is vague scenes in my head that form as I write).
Just on SA 12 itself, I’ve now come up with an entirely new twist on the finale while lying down, coming out of a nap in the middle of the day. Or was it a bath? I forget, but it was one of those two things…
And another twist came about, as I sat down and just wrote. A twist that will lead to a whole new series in the universe, which is really cool.
All of these ideas, all of these things that I’m working to build into the story; they come from the times when I’m not writing, whether it’s refilling the well or working on the business or just, taking a moment for my brain to settle.
A part of me always says I could do more. In some ways, I have purposely cut down on how much I write. Like, I ‘only’ hit 600k words this year. Won’t even make 700k. Slow for me in a way, with it being less than 2k a day.
I could do more. 3k a day ‘should’ be my minimum.
That’s what a part of me grumbles at. I could do more if I just focused, if I took away all these distractions, if I just did nothing but write….
And that’s a lie too. Even if there is a little truth in there (evil Facebook). But then… really, is working 11 hours a day that important? That great?
If I did nothing but write, would I still enjoy it?
And so, we come to the other question. The one about burnout.
Everyone who has done this for a while talk about burnout. All authors burn out at some point – whether it’s for a few months or a few years. Some decades. Others never come back.
Those who keep writing, year in and year out? They spend their time refilling that creative well constantly. They don’t demand 10k days from themselves.
That’s something I try to keep in mind. Because I want to be writing 20 years from now. 40.
Not write a ton now, and then burn out and never come back.
Like the business blog post? Want to support me writing more of them? Want to read ahead (2 weeks) of others? Become a Patron and choose the $2-tier to be able to read the business posts only and ask questions about the business side of writing.