Tag Archives: writer

Why Deadlines Are My Best Friend

11 Nov

As happens to so many writers who have day jobs, families, school, you name it, I often push my writing to the back burner. Family is top priority. Then comes the day job because it pays the bills. You can find writing at the very bottom of my uber long to-do list. Actually, it might be in the margin at the very bottom, almost as an after thought. Why does this happen? How can I allow it to happen? Oh, the humanity!

I found that there is one thing that my writing is missing that everything else on the infinite To-Do List has: a deadline. When I prioritize my tasks, I do so according to how long each task takes and when the task is due. Those tasks without deadlines are pushed to the bottom to make room for more tasks with deadlines. My writing isn’t a priority because I haven’t put a deadline on it.  There is a simple fix for this dilemma.

Create deadlines!

They can be impossible deadlines. In fact, those are my very favorite kind! Seemingly impossible deadlines tend to light a fire under my hind quarters. More often than not, I find that these so-called “impossible” deadlines are very possible once I put in some effort and ingenuity. Why do you think National Novel Writing Month is such a huge hit?

Do you create deadlines for yourself? How have deadlines helped or hindered your writing process?

Want more? Below are links to a couple of Writers Digest articles about time management and deadlines.
http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/meet-your-writing-goals-with-four-time-management-tools
http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/accomplish-your-writing-goals-make-a-schedule-and-meet-your-deadlines

C. L. Parson

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Professional Writer Quiz

7 Aug

In response to recent events, namely the publishing of an article by Lisa Morton of the HWA LA chapter, I decided to post my own quiz to help other writers determine whether or not they are allowed to call themselves professional writers. To be a professional writer, you must answer “yes” to ALL the questions, because professionals do not do anything half-assed. Those who fail this quiz will be put on the black list labeled “Hobbyists” and shall be monitored from here on out. 

Here is the quiz:

1. Do you blow off parties so you can go home and write?

2. Do you sometimes forget to eat because you are too busy writing?

3. Do you forget to visit your grandmother in the nursing home because you are too busy writing, even though the hospice nurse leaves a message every day saying she could pass away any day now?

4. Do you forget to feed your pets because you are too busy writing?

5. Does your home look like a hoarder’s paradise because you are too busy writing to take out the trash or put anything away?

6. Have you broken promises because to keep them would take time away from your writing? Example: You didn’t pick up your significant other at the airport like you said you would.

7. Are you still wearing the same clothes going on a week, underwear included, because to change clothes would cut into your prime writing time?

8. Have you forgotten to pick up your children at school because you are too engrossed in your writing?

9. Have your children missed a meal because your writing is much more important than cooking?

10. Has your spouse filed for divorce and/or has DFCS taken your children away because you have neglected your duties as spouse and/or parent due to the fact that those duties would take time away from your writing?

If you answered “yes” to ALL of these questions, congratulations! You are a professional writer!

C. L. Parson

5 Things You Need to be a Writer

13 Feb

1. A medium       

ex: pen or pencil and paper, typewriter, computer, smart phone, tablet, audio recorder

This kind of medium…

… not this kind of medium.

2. Buttocks (ass)

3. Chair (to sit your buttocks in)

4. Window (to gaze out of while waiting for inspiration to strike)

Right

Wrong

5. Imagination

C. L. Parson

How To Tell If You Are a Writer

25 Jan

You read this blog and other musings that are similar, knowing these experiences and reflections to be true and that they are shared by the majority of writers. You are painfully aware that the world, time, your family, your job, school, the dishes, the laundry, the dog, and everything else in your life should take priority in your life, but you cannot deny the itch to write. You know that writing will more than likely fail to feed your family, pay the bills, and put your kids through college. But you do it anyway. Despite everything, you still write. There is no doubt about it. YOU are a Writer.

C. L. Parson

Killing My Darlings Part Deux

11 Jan

Time for a mini rant, y’all.

I don’t mind taking an editing machete to my zombie pages. No problem whatsoever. But those suckers won’t stay dead! I have a few pages that are shambling along slower than a brain biter with broken ankles. Every time I go for a head shot and try to kill the pages, they get right back up again.

So what’s the deal? I think the pages are feeding off my fear that killing the pages will hurt the timeline of my novel. My fear is keeping these damn pages alive. No matter what I do, I can’t figure out a way to cut the pages and make it work.

There is only one solution. Completely rewriting that whole section of the book and altering the timeline. *Slams head on desk*

Why does revising have to be so painful? I have no problem cutting pages, but when it means completely revamping my timeline, scheme, and maybe even my character development, it causes me serious anxiety problems. Not because I am so devoted to the original work as it stands. That isn’t it at all. It is because I am lazy and a total face lift of that part of my novel feels like so much work.

Yet it must be done. Crap.

C. L. Parson

EDITING

I fucking love editing!

 

Why Write?

7 Dec

Old Manual Typewriter

When I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and my insides turn to jelly from the pressure of responsibility, I ask myself this question. Why write? After all, it isn’t the most lucrative career. Much like actors or musicians, only a handful writers break through to become super stars. The rest, who are just as talented, lead lives of mediocrity and midlist, never quite reaching best-seller status. If this were all about money, I would have chosen a career where I could make big bucks. I could have been an accountant, a doctor, a rocket scientist… a contender (come on, you knew it was coming). But instead, I have been working for five years now on an English degree. English majors are not known for their big paychecks. So obviously it isn’t just about the money.

Though I think of writing as my passion and my preferred career path, I still work an average 40-hour-a-week office job. GASP! It isn’t my dream, but it pays the bills. Though it isn’t about the money, I have mouths to feed at home. I can be a starving writer, but I won’t allow my family to starve. Many people would accept the careers they fell into, regardless of whether or not they are passionate about what they do. They wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, and go to bed. Wash, rinse, and repeat ad infinitum. However, I am not like many people. No matter what I am doing, I continue to fight until I reach full-time writer status, the career I love. At work, I have a post it on my computer. It says, “I am a writer. I write books.” I have this to remind myself not to get too comfortable because there are bigger and better things ahead of me. I just have to get there. Why struggle and bust my ass for something that is never guaranteed? Because it is my passion and when one has a passion, one is willing to shed blood, sweat, and tears for it. My passion is writing books that I want to read. It is as simple as that.

Lastly, I think I write because I have an overwhelming desire to communicate with the masses. Though I write fiction, I try to include real world issues and ideas. Though there may be magic, ghosts, and dark entities, they are just mediums through which I deliver the bigger picture. I strongly believe that art should make a person cry, laugh, nod, or shake his head. As long as it causes a reaction, it is art.

That is why I write; because I have something to say, something that I am passionate about, and I want to get a rise out of you. That is the only pay I need.

C. L. Parson

Numbers Game

2 Oct

This post goes hand in hand with my post “Making Time”. Once I made the time for my writing, an amazing thing happened. My writing actually got somewhere. Color me surprised. And I actually was!

For each hour I wrote, my word count went up. A word count goal to a writer is like heroine to a junkie. Picture me, disheveled, sitting in my car and eagerly scratching at a note pad. Every five minutes, I pick up the note pad and begin to count the words I wrote. Shy of my goal, I grab my pen and feverishly scratch at the pad once more. Finally, I reach my goal. I throw my arms in the air, “Success!” I am sated until the next day when my fix is due.

Word count goals can also be my downfall. If I set them too high, I am doomed to fail every time. I have to be realistic. It is much more satisfying to set a modest goal and succeed than to set a ridiculous goal and fail.

Another risk I face is the temptation to stop and count my words every other minute. This can halt any real progress I am making, and my poor muse ends up with a serious case of whiplash. Instead, I try to guesstimate as I write. I know I write somewhere around 250-300 words per page. It is a lot easier to keep a page count straight in my head without having to stop writing. At the end of my session, I know about how much I wrote.

That doesn’t mean I don’t count each word after my session. Hell yeah, I do! But, at least I have the willpower and the grits to wait until my writing session is finished to count. Most of the time, I find myself within 20-50 words of the figure I ball-parked.

But the ultimate ecstasy is reserved for when I add a day’s word count to the word count total for my novel. At that point, angels sing from the heavens, the lion lays down with the lamb, and everything is right with the world. I go about my day, a stupid grin on my face. If I glowed any more, I would be radioactive. I may get strange looks from passersby, but it doesn’t matter. On these days, I’m the victor fit to wear the title “Writer”.

This is what I look like when I meet my word count goal.

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