Thursday, July 12, 2012

Magic Thursday: totally disorganised.


Helen has been sending polite reminders about today being my turn to post for a week now, but here it is, 3.00 in the afternoon, and I have absolutely nothing to say.

So I thought I might as well talk about being a writer and being disorganized (in a rambly, disorganized sort of way)

When I first started out writing, my goal was to become a full time writer. Not only because it was something I'd dreamed of achieving ever since I got serious about my writing, but because I figured I wouldn't have to squeeze in writing time between work and family commitments.

Now that I have achieved that goal,  do I actually have more writing time?

Ha!

In fact, I think I got more writing done when I was working full time than I do now. Why? Because it's not just about the writing anymore. It's about the edits, the line edits, the galley checks, the promotion, keeping up with social media, keeping websites up to date, and answering fan emails--all of which I'm woefully behind on. In fact, one of the reasons I'm late with this post today is the fact I got a prod from my editor about adding their links to my site (for those who don't know, I changed from Bantam Dell to Penguin Signet with my latest release).

But you have to have a life--and an escape--outside all of that as well, if only because burn out can become a very real problem if you don't. My escape is gym. I train 5 days a week, for between one and two hours a day, and if I don't get my exercise don't be in the same room as me. It gets ugly. I also lunch regularly with friends and have been known to shop. Occasionally (as anyone who follows me on facebook would know <g>)

Of course, I'm extremely lucky. My daughter is all grown up and capable of looking after herself, so it's really only me I have to look after (well, me and the dogs). I can--and do--write at all hours, depending on what else might be going on. But what if you haven't got that luxury?

Then it becomes a matter of priority. For me, there's two. I write, and I make sure I have me time. Facebook, twitter, website, emails--that's all secondary. If it falls behind, so what? When my daughter was younger, then she was top of that list, and me time came third, but I always made sure I had writing time, and I always made time I had me time. Even if it was half hour before everyone was up in the morning or once everyone had gone to bed.

I'm also a big believer in setting daily targets and making writing a habit rather than something you squeeze in when you can. For me, it's a minimum of five pages, but it doesn't matter if it's one paragraph or ten pages, the main thing is that you sit down and you hit that target. Every. Single. Day. 

So what about promotion? You hear so many writers saying these days you have to promote, promote, promote, that it is the only way to get your name out there....well, I've never actually believed it makes all that much difference. In fact, I think if you over promote it can have the opposite effect--as in, people get sick of seeing your damn name everywhere!

When I was with ImaJinn, I had a website and I blogged. I occasionally did joint RT ads with other ImaJinn authors, but other than that, I let my writing do the talking. And I was one of ImaJinn's top sellers, with mid four-figure royalty statements at a time when the Kindle and the IPad were little more than a twinkle in their creators eyes. When Bantam Dell took me on, I basically continued doing what I'd always done. I did do guest blog posts when asked, but I never actively sought them out, and I only joined facebook and twitter under pressure from my publisher. Of course, I'm lucky in that Bantam and now Penguin do a fab job promoting me themselves, but I still think it's word of mouth that makes the difference between a book selling well or not.  Which isn't saying you shouldn't promote, just that you shouldn't stress over it that much.

And I think I've rambled on enough now. To apologize for the late posting, I'm offering up a signed copy of my latest release--Darkness Devours--to one lucky person. Just send an email to kez @ keriarthur . com (no spaces) and put Darkside Giveaway in the subject line. I'll draw the winner next Wednesday (if I remember!)  :P


5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the good advice, Keri. Me time for moi boils down to twenty minutes on the bouncer with 1980s music blaring my head off. :)

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  2. Keri,
    Great post! This makes me feel so much better... last time it was my turn to do a magic thursday post, I got so busy that morning I plain forgot about it (even though I'd been thinking about it all week) and my post didn't go up until after two, leaving me feeling hopelessly unorganized.
    Like you said, I have kids, they have to come before my writing, though I totally agree with your point of making writing a habit. Despite the craziness in my house of having two kids under school age (and another on the way... *gulp*), plus other commitments, if you're really serious, you find time to get that writing/editing/whatever else done, and I also have a daily minimum I stick to.
    And OMG, while I blog, the rest of my social media is sadly neglected... so seeing someone else in the same boat doesn't make me feel like the most unorganized writer in the world any more!

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  3. I think you're right (don't you love it when people say that?). Me time and priorities are very important. Balance re: promotion is a tricky thing. I hope to one day find it. Great post, Keri.

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  4. I think you have some great advice here Keri! ;) I'm a social media addict when it comes to my 3 pages/blog/reviews/email and its SO crazy sometimes I forget to take the time to WRITE and just set a goal for myself! of course its probably a lot shorter goal than published authors but I still need to make a point of saying yes Chelsea, you're going to write at least 1k a day... :D and once I meet that for a month or two.. then I can up it to 1500 and then 2k and then 5k etc :) Thanks for sharing, its inspirational and I think I'll let my pages slide a bit while I focus on my goals :) they'll always be there next week :)

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  5. Thanks so much, Keri. It's so easy to forget the ME time.

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