Today we have the pleasure of featuring fellow writer, Sara Jayne Townsend. Sara has written and published several books. Her latest is an intriguing story titled, Suffer the Children, released by MuseItUp Publishing in August. Sara has also written the Shara Summer mystery series. As writers we all struggle with the discipline of writing. Sara will share her thoughts about how she disciplines herself.
The Discipline of a Writer
As an unpublished writer, the end goal was to get published. That was my focus. That was my ‘happy ever after’. The moment the first contract arrived, though, everything changed. And it wasn’t just the realisation that this wasn’t the end after all – it was merely the beginning.
Another significant thing that changed was the fact that as an unpublished writer, I had the luxury of taking as long as I wanted to plan and write the next book. To a certain degree, that’s something that unpublished writers take for granted. There’s no one waiting to read the book, no one knows who you are, and if you want to take 10 years to write it, that’s fine. Once you’re published, though, especially if you’re writing a series, there is a certain pressure of time. Even if your publisher is understanding and is not expecting you to produce a new book every nine months, as a published writer your main aim is to attract readers. With every new book in a series you hope to attract a few more readers, but you also want to hold the attention of those who’ve read the other books. And can you really expect readers to wait on tenterhooks for a decade while you write the next book? Chances are, they might have moved on to other authors and forgotten about you by then.
And that’s why
You can no longer wait for the muse to strike; you have to chain her up in a corner of your brain and force her to go to work, whether she wants to or not. You have to make time to write.
Contrary to popular belief the majority of published writers don’t earn enough from the writing to live on so they have another source of income. To many, that means a day job. Most writers have other things going on their lives as well – kids to ferry to school and football club, maybe; exercise sessions; coffee mornings; looking after elderly parents. With all the demands on your time it’s important to schedule some time to write, and work out what’s most effective for you. Some writers work late in the evening, when the kids are in bed and they can schedule some quiet time. Some writers with day jobs use their lunch hour as writing time. I find I work better in the mornings. This means getting up stupidly early and sitting in a coffee shop round the corner from the office for an hour before going to work. Not everyone can cope with early starts, and there was a time I couldn’t either, but I do find now that I am too tired to do any writing when I get home from work, whereas that hour before work – fuelled by a large cup of tea and a breakfast muffin – is quite productive, and certainly I get more done than I do when I write at home. Perhaps the pressure of only having an hour to write helps focus my mind. The only downside is that sometimes if I’m on a roll it can be difficult to stop and shift gear, to get into ‘day job’ mode and to my desk on time. But if I am that energised, then I can look forward to more writing time the next day, picking up where I left off.
The pressures of promotion is another challenge facing writers, and for the e-book author, online promotion is another thing to find time for. However, the old saying is true –
So find out what time works best for you, and protect your writing time. You owe it to your readers (including the ones yet to discover you) to give them a new book to look forward to. So get writing!
Orphaned at eighteen, Leanne’s life is adrift in a sea of grief and drug use. She washes up on the shore of estranged relatives, the Carver family, struggling with loss of their own. The transition from her South London council estate to her new home in the Surrey middle-class suburbs is difficult for Leanne.
But beneath the respectable veneer of the quiet neighborhood, something terrifying lurks. Displaced and troubled teenagers are disappearing. Leanne recruits her cousin Simon and his girlfriend Carrie to help get to the bottom of the sinister mystery. Can the three of them stop a creature of unimaginable evil before Leanne becomes a target?
So, how do you discipline yourself as a writer? Do you, as Sara, write in the early morning? Share your thoughts with us.