Hey, sorry it’s been so long. We’re in the process of having the website moved to a different server and I didn’t even know I could still post until I figured out it’s still on wordpress this past week. (No, I am not technologically inclined 🙂
So, writing is a job.
Easy to say. Much harder to practice. It’s not just that you have to exercise self discipline to write regularly, honestly, that’s just step one.
The thing about being a writer that can be difficult (yeah, like there’s just one) is not only do you have to treat it like a job to be successful, you have to convince others around you it is a job.
When you’re “just writing,” people don’t treat it like they would if you were at work. They act like you’re sitting around your room watching TV or reading. People act like if you’re writing that you’re ignoring them, or blowing them off, or just don’t want to spend time with them. In reality, you’re working.
The issue with this is they can start to resent you or hold it against you that you’re “just writing” when you “should” be spending time with them/helping with something/being social.
But people don’t hold it against you when you’re “really working,” as in at your day job, because that’s a “real job,” and writing isn’t to them.
Does this sound familiar?
“We’re doing X, come with us. Yeah, you’re just writing, so it’s not like you have plans.”
“Writing? You can do that any time.”
“It’s kind of rude to just be sitting up in your room when there’s people over.”
By the way, on that last one, I don’t invite people over and then ignore them because that actually is rude. My bf is a photographer who works out of the house, so people come over for that and he’ll socialize with them before the shoot and on breaks and such, and they’ll be offended, or at least comment, when I only pop down to say hi or don’t come out of my writing hole at all.
I don’t know any writer who doesn’t or at least didn’t have this problem. And besides telling people you’re working, I really don’t have a solution.
You can explain to them that you’re working until you’re blue in the face, but if they don’t respect what you’re doing and think of it as you at work, there’s not much else you can do.
It is your job and you must make time for it. If you wander off from work every time somebody wants you to hang out, how long until you lose your job? You have to think of writing the same way. Sure, you won’t get fired by one boss for slacking off, but you will by hundreds of readers when you don’t put anything new out.
I’ve been doing fairly well the last few months (really well for me) with the first three books in the Ariana paranormal cozy mystery series coming out every two to three months. But that only last so long if you don’t get something new out.
I have to still finish the second Gods book and it was supposed to be out in April. I had an emotional setback last year (OCD flareup due to infestation in the house) that cost me months of productivity because it took so long to get my brain back to normal, for relative amounts of normal since we are talking about a writer here 🙂
And I’m having, if not an emotional crisis now, issues. Which is whole different story that should be its own post… if I’ll put it up at all since we are talking personal issues here and I don’t know what’s appropriate to put out there for my readers and what isn’t.
Yes, I have boundary issues. 🙂
But that’s gets back to what I’m talking about here. You have to set boundaries and say I write at these times or I write this much, and people just need to deal with it.
You can and should do that, but just because you set the boundaries doesn’t mean people will respect them. I’m having serious issues now with someone whom I apparently gravely offended because I didn’t spend enough time with her when she was visiting, even though I explained to her when she got here that I would be working some, but would make time for her, and I hoped she’d be okay with that and she said she was and she understood I had to work and it was fine.
I’m sorry, I know this is a stereotypical girl thing and guys reading this are laughing at me since they deal with this all the damn time, but do not say something is fine if it isn’t!
Why is that so hard?
Yeah, yeah, go ahead and laugh. Right now I’m just ranting because I don’t know what else to do. I have friends making suggestions, but all of them involve a lot of time and effort and pretty much just taking that time off of work when this person visits.
Which you can do. But, and here’s the problem, if you take time off your writing job, you really do have to treat it like it’s vacation days, as in, you only get so many. So when you take off a week because someone’s in town, you don’t get to take off a week two weeks later when someone else is in town.
Do this with a “real job” and people are fine with it. They get it because they only get so much vacation time too. Do it with your writing job and suddenly you’re choosing your work over them.
And I wish I had a solution. Mostly this is me saying treat writing like a job, which we’ve all heard, but also asking for advice, because if someone doesn’t get it after I’ve explained it to them and is honestly upset with me even after saying they understood and it was fine, I don’t know what to do.
No, seriously, help the social awkward introvert out because I’m at a loss and don’t know how to fix this.