Today I am honoured to have the respected reviewer and writer, Vanessa Wu on my blog, with some very good advice indeed! Over to you Vanessa…
Three Easy Steps to Becoming a Prolific Writer
A little while ago someone wrote to me and told me he had always wanted to write but had always been too busy with other things. ‘So, seriously, how do you find the time?’ he asked me.
I would have loved to be able to offer him three easy steps to becoming a prolific writer but, the truth is, the only way you can find the time to write is by not doing other things. Like sleeping. Or taking a lunch break. Or responding to emails.
So the first thing I did was file away the email and not respond.
But it’s an intriguing question that I’m sure many people ask themselves. How do you find the time to write? After all, for the vast majority of writers, writing is very poorly paid. Most of us have to do something else to earn money. We fit the writing in around work, family, flatmates, lovers, and all the distractions of daily life. And the writing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has to be about something. It has to be based on experience.
So how do you get experience and find the time to write about it too?
Well, if I wasn’t too busy writing stories, I’d probably want to say something like this.
Step 1. Write Every Day.
It’s a lot easier to do something every day than it is to do it for an hour once a week. Once you start to miss a day, you lose the habit. You forget to do it. It slips your mind. A day becomes a week. A week becomes a month and before you know it, ten years have gone by and your novel hasn’t progressed by so much as one word.
If you write every day, on the other hand, even if it’s only a paragraph, even if it’s only a sentence, your chapters and stories march inexorably onwards. They nag at you as you lie in bed at night. They wake you up at the crack of dawn and compel you to add paragraphs and pages. They bother you on the bus on your way to work. They jostle you in your lunch break. They stand in your way when you try to watch television. In short, they refuse to be silenced.
Step 2. Count Minutes Not Words.
All writers count words. It’s an occupational psychosis. But if you’re not yet at the stage where you instinctively know when you’ve done 1,000 words, you should start by setting aside a certain number of minutes for writing each day and doing absolutely nothing else. And I mean absolutely nothing else. Not even research. Not even cleaning your glasses or digging the biscuit crumbs out of your keyboard. You must only write. If you are strict about it, you will write because it’s such a waste of time not to.
If you can establish a routine in which you do nothing but focus on writing in that time, you will be surprised by how much you can write. But you must do it every day. (See Step 1.) This is very important because it tells your subconscious that you are serious. After a while you will be able to write at your appointed time and for your set number of minutes without a moment’s hesitation, no matter what you’ve been busy with before.
Step 3. Work Smarter, Not Harder.
This isn’t the nineteenth century. Even if you wrote a 900,000 word three-volume masterpiece, who do you think would have time to read it? You need to complete something short and complete it fairly quickly. This will inspire you to write something else. And the more things you complete, the more your sense of achievement will grow, which will spur you on to write even faster. Look at Kay Jaybee. She is more prolific than Tolstoy and much more widely read.
Which, by the way, brings me to a very important warning. Have a blog if you must, but remember that your blog is there to serve your writing. Your writing is not there to serve your blog. So be sensible. Put your writing first and let other people worry about your blog. If you’re really clever and write very sexy books that everyone admires, they may even write your blog for you.
This is when you can truly call yourself a writer.
Thank you once again Vanessa. This is excellent sound advice. I am often asked how I manage to produce so much work. I’m convinced it is because I do exactly what you suggest in Step One. I write for the same about of time, at the same time, in the same place, everyday. If I can work through those two hours, then the stories happen- if I can’t- I am not only a grumpy Kay, but the time wasted getting back into routine over the subsequent days can be criminal!!
Vanessa Wu is the author of three collections of sexy stories and a full-length erotic memoir called Love Has No Limits. Her most recent work is a collection of four stories about love between women called Lure of the Feminine.
Vanessa reviews erotic and literary fiction on her blog, Intense Sensations. She occasionally finds time to write for other people’s blogs but only if they are really fab.
Awww…bless u hun. xxx