Cross-training for writers

 

How are you all today? 3 days into 2012 and so far? What a great year! *insert cheeky grin*

My last post was very broad and general – if it were a behind, it would not fit into the average aeroplane seat. We all know that the more specific your goals are, the more chance you have of hitting them – rocket science 101 – so I thought I’d focus my attention on the biggest conundrum … writing.

I’m hoping at this point, that some seasoned campaigners will chip in with some golden advice gleaned over years of consistently meeting deadlines with obedient words that line up and jump through whatever hoop they are pointed at. The big question is this: just how do you keep multiple projects moving at the same time?

For me, the biggest downfall has been this: if it comes with a deadline, it gets first priority. (Self-imposed deadlines don’t count, not in my life anyway… trust me, I’ve tried!) 

At first glance this is a no-brainer. The problem is I seem to end up serving back-to-back deadlines. So the projects that are closest to my heart get left choking in the dust of those who come under the banner of ‘finish-by-such-and-such-and-we’ll-pay-you’.

The other part of the challenge of keeping multiples moving is switching track in my brain. To hop between a quiz on ‘What Kind of Friend Are You’ (written in a funky up-beat manner to suit 20-30ish savvy modern women), to a short story challenging young people to stay pure and avoid a devastating clash with HIV (written for english second language learners – i.e. ULTRA simple language / no contractions…) to a humour piece involving our feline friends and then – the thing that makes my heart happy – get lost in the world of book #2.

HA! I love my life!

As I was writing that paragraph, it hit me. To survive and thrive – and dare I say it… make money – as a writer in this era, it’s essential to cross-train. You can’t just be cardio fit. You can’t just have a body that is superbly conditioned. And you certainly can’t be pure muscle.  The writer who will be succesful with whatever opportunities come his/her way, is one that can mentally track-hop without derailing.

And with that, my littlest is awake and I must go be mom. That’s her in the picture above – today’s inspiration for us…

We stand peering across the gleaming waters of 2012, full of the unknown… but also teeming with promise and opportunity.

Bring it on!

 

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10 thoughts on “Cross-training for writers

  1. Heh… glad I’m not the only one with that deadline thing going. That comes back to bite me again and again… making peace with the fact that work is what it is (including being a parent) and that stress grows me, I can keep rounding the same corners to give it another go year after year.

    Lovely post, nicely written, especially the shot of encouragement at the end…

    Indeed! BRING IT ON!

  2. Oh… and I WISH I had advice for the deadline thing. I’ll be eagerly awaiting other’s advice myself. I suspect something is broken in the way I respond to challenges… very differently when I have loads of time vs little or no time. I assume I have a habit of somehow pacing myself to fit the deadline EXACTLY – sometimes to the hour (and sometimes my aim is off lol). When I have more time, I tend to spend more time in an effort to perfect things.

    I suspect I don’t always add value with the time, however, and therein lies the conundrum… do I start a task way earlier, knowing that i’m going to spend more time on it in the long run, or do I give myself what I feel is ‘enough’ time to do it adequately and find new projects for myself in ‘spare time’? Sometimes the answer depends on whether or not I have other pressing things on the plate – almost always yes.

    Indeed I have a way of loading it on sometimes… trying to be efficient, after all, sometimes you have to wait for the paint to dry between coats no matter how much you want to have the place painted, and you can’t sit around watching the paint dry.

    Then there’s the catch 22 where certain tasks refuse to release your brain until they are done… they cling on like… uh… Klingons? I suspect old habits are to blame somehow.

  3. I am considering blogging just to advance my husband’s art work but obstensibley so i have something to motivate me learn how to do it. Yes, I guess it is great to have an online community to respond to our ramblings and it is crosstraining for writing to do that….. but if you can’t work on your projects because you are lonely, bored and have to talk to the intenet… it is time to get out of the house. There are apparently too many blogs. I am never bored and I still do not get out of the house. Make an excuse to leave list. It works every time (less so on a snowy day). My thought about that:blogs are procrastination, closure, not vey helpful. Buy a new pen, write by hand first. It flows faster. Then you only have to edit a few times. Just get down to business and do your projects every day. learn to give up a pet projet that is not going anywhere. Another will come along. Give the brain time to percolate and write about what is in front of you. I have never published a book but I have enjoyed writint for a very long time , more and more and I will never stop.

    1. Hi Lenny,
      Just to pick up on a few things you mentioned… loney? NEVER bored? NEVER… have to talk to the inet? Nope. I like the real people on the other side of the inet. I’ve met some fantastic writers (published and not) who’ve been able to dish out brilliant advice and encouragement. I like them, I’ve got to share in the joy of babies being born… daughters and sons starting school and getting married… these people are my friends. I have 2 jobs (other than writing) and 2 writing jobs that come at me on a monthly basis and pay. I have 3 school going kids and a dance group that I watch over. So my issue is not anything other than – getting my brain into gear in the short bursts of time that I have to write.
      I wish you all the best with your writing!

  4. thanks diane.
    I did not really mean to focus on getting out of the house . This was just my first time commenting on something and i was just trying to figure out how to get the #%$#**%$ thing working. So nice to see I got thru to someone who did not complain about my spelling mistakes. One think I have learned about writing in 45 years is that you have to focus, you need a good strong back and it helps if you can type. Alos it is very important to manage your time well or you will get no writing done necause it take one half hour to wrtie one unedited page. So if you want to write about gardening you have to decide how to allocate your time between reading about gardening, doing gardening, going to gardening club, and writing about gardening. With our busy lives we are often doing too much leaving not enough time for writing. But we do need to get out of the house, see people and exercise or we will be little old writer ladies with osteoporosis.
    Cheers,

    1. Aaah Lenny! Thank you for this. I was a bit taken aback as you seemed quite anti – but I hear you. Managing time is very tricky and I do err on the side of never wanting to say no to opportunities that present themselves and land up squished between conflicting deadlines. But I muddle through and its all good. I’m laughing at your picture of us as little old writer ladies! Ha ha! I hope you do get a blog going as I’d love to stay in touch. xxx

      1. I did figure out how to check your web site and find out a bit more about you .If you want to reply to me I will check it from time to time when I have time. I am a very occupied person – you know not b u s y (being under satan’s yoke). My interests are very eclectic because I am not linear in my thinking but we have plenty in common especially the God related things. However, I am not usually using any form of social media because I just do not have time and I have not figured out the boundary thing with internet yet so I am not confident in using it and knowing what not to talk about. So while I would like to stay in touch my confidence level of that happening is about a 3 out of 10. This is an important year for writing for me her because of a historic 200 anniversary of something I have been working on for over 20 years so I ought not to get distracted. My goodness you have a large following. Like your website. I am trying to set something up for a wood artist I know well but I know this is going to take a lot of time to do it right. That is why I am testing the blog thing.

      2. Hi Lenny, seems we do have a lot in common!
        I wish you all the best with your big writing project and yes, it would be good to remain undistracted. That sounds really interesting.
        Shout if there is anything I can help with regarding setting up a website etc – I’m not a fundi, I muddled through setting mine up, but if there is something I could help with- I’m happy to try.
        xxx

  5. Thank you, I am taking this slow because at my age I can either write or learn the computer but not both on the same day. I used to be an amazing multitasker bu not anymore and the internet can sure turn your head around. At the moment I am playing with my msn profile to see how that works. You can be my friend since I do not have any and I could see how that works. I have uploaded a short bio of my husband and some photos of his work. Have a peak! but you will have to tell me how to make you my friend by email. As a one time sailor, I believe in “steady as she goes.” Thanks so much for your encouragement. So far you are the only one I have responded to. This is fun and easy, like having an unconditional friendship with big brother looking over our shoulders, so we have to be careful what we say. How am I doing? Blessings

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