BICHOK Defined: Butt in Chair Hands on Keys
This has been an interesting week for me personally and professionally. On the personal front I have back to school shopping, back to school calendars to incorporate into my life, a weird widow wrecking havoc in Texas, a new car to get tags downtown and floors to clean.
Confession: the whole house needs a good do over, but if I do the floors, the house "looks" clean. It's like a mirage...
On the professional front I have a new online workshop to coordinate, which includes Yahoo meltdowns and new class members to welcome to the class as well as financial reckonings. I have two partials to prep for the requests I received at Nationals, which means redoing the synopsis and writing yet another query letter, meetings to attend and contests to process and prep for as well.
Confession: I'm a decent synopsis writer, but the query takes a committee to whip into shape. If I had known about the synopsis and query requirements BEFORE I started writing, I might not have started.
Now in addition to all the "stuff" I have to deal with personally and professionally, I've been processing the Dorchester news, feeling icky about my own uncertain future in this business, reading articles about e-publishing and wondering how it all will play out. It's hard to focus. Very hard. How do I get BICHOK with all these distractions?
First of all, I remember what Nora Roberts said during her Keynote address to the Romance Writers of America at the National Conference: in a nutshell--"don't whine, just write." Is it any harder to get published today amidst all the turmoil? Nora has an answer: "carbon paper." Okay, what does that mean? It means writing hasn't changed other than to become easier for us with the advent of computers, laptops and cool writing programs. Publishing wasn't easy for her 30 years ago. She got rejected, too. Then an opportunity opened up and voila, we have 30 years of books written and published by Nora Roberts and her alter pseudonym, J.D. Robb.
She is ONE of many writers who fought to make our genre the powerhouse that it has become today. And yes, e and digital publishing have changed the face of the writing world, but in order to survive and win we have to remember one thing: "don't whine, just write." Get into the "swimming pool" and be ready for your opportunity to arrive. Then grab hold and hang on tight cause the work's only going to grow exponentially. Ask any writer who just got the call this year. Ask about the workload and the deadlines and the expectations.
So that's my first rule: look for inspiration, write it down, post it somewhere and then write.
Do you have to write every day? Some people do and some take breaks. I tend to dabble a bit every day, but my focus changes. I also give myself permission to take "breaks" from my manuscripts. I like to let them percolate before I hit the revisions and edits. I use the break time to work on my contest entries, learn about my craft, read good books, bone up about the business of writing and publishing, send off queries, and submit.
So here's my second rule: find your own process and your own rhythm for writing. If you aren't published, really work hard to hone this process so when you get the call, you'll know what you have to do to get the JOB DONE.
This brings me to the third rule: treat your writing like a profession and you will be treated like a professional.
How to be a professional? Make a commitment to go to the "office" and write on a regular schedule. Life bopping you over the head? Give yourself a break. Need a sick day? Take it. Need a Vacation? Take one. But know when you're going back to work. Schedule it if you have to do it.
Okay, so that brings me to a sidebar: sometimes you have to chunk the schedule and roll with the punches. Yup. Like today. Today I had big plans--I was going to make it my errand/clean house day/run to the courthouse to get tags day. Instead I got a humungous hive on my lip while I started writing this blog and, given my allergy history I got pretty gosh darned freaked, so I popped two Benadryl and called my darling husband downstairs to watch over me.
Nothing else happened except I finished this blog under the influence of Benadryl. So I'm giving myself permission to take a break from work cause I need a wake up call. And that's a wrap for me. But tomorrow? Tomorrow I get back in the chair and become BICHOK all over again.