You Asked Me! #4

Three questions done, two to go! If you’re here for the first time, for the past few Wednesdays, I’ve been answering writing-related questions that were posed to me on my Facebook page some weeks ago. Today I’ll be addressing the fourth question, which is actually several questions sneakily squished together by my friend Wendy. :) She asked. . .

QA #4

Alrighty, then! I’ll tackle these one at a time:

1. No.

2. Okay, okay, I’ll go back to number 1 and answer it properly! :) The truth is, however, that I don’t have a rigorous writing schedule unless I have a very large project (such as a book) with a solid deadline. In that case, I will break down how many chapters, words or pages I need to write every day (not counting weekends) in order to be finished, say, one week before deadline (you always need to include wiggle room in case of emergencies). Then I can usually figure out how many hours a day that comes out to and, if necessary, map out a specific daily writing schedule.

In general, though, because pretty much all my writing at this point is for regular freelance gigs, my church’s newsletter and social media updates, my blog, etc. I just automatically slot out the time I need on a given day to get it done on time. A lot of it is just intuitive. I’m a procrastinator by nature but I’ve got meeting deadlines down to an inexplicable science!

2. (The real one) As I just mentioned, I don’t necessarily have a consistent writing regime like some writers do (e.g. from 5 to 7 a.m. every day or all day Thursday, etc.) Then again, sometimes it seems like I’m writing all the time. If it’s not an article, it’s an email or a blog post or a book proposal idea or a Facebook update or an editorial. . .You get the picture. My schedule isn’t structured but writing is what I do. Unless I’m reading, of course!

As far as when I started writing for publishing, I’d have to go back about 20 years. I was still working at Home BUILDER Magazine when I got my first freelance gig from ChristianWeek (I think the editor was giving me a chance because she knew my father—but, hey, I’m not too proud to accept hand-outs!) That helped get the ball rolling and I gradually began to pick up more assignments.

3. Where do I write my best work? The boring but true answer is at my desk in my home office (which I actually prefer to call a studio since I’ve got a corner dedicated to my creative pursuits, complete with a separate work table). Some of my best ideas come when I’m away from my desk—while running errands, cooking, lying in bed, sitting in church, etc.—and I’ll scribble down notes as soon as I can, but I generally need to be at my desk to concentrate on putting the words together. Contrary to the popular stereotype of writers sitting in coffee shops, that’s just not my, er, cup of tea. ;)

Next up is a really great question sent to me by Carey, a friend of a friend. Any of you who are interested in writing for publication will probably want to tune in when I answer this one:

I’m looking into making this a career. I realize that I wouldn’t be able to quit my current job until I’m established but I would like to know how to get things I’ve written published and make money that way. You know maybe be the next Danielle Steele minus the filth that she writes. Haha!

I hear ya, Carey! But I need to ask you to wait an extra week for me to get to this one. I’ll be out of town all of next week and don’t think I’ll get a chance to work on this. Also, I want to make sure I give your question some extra thought to provide the best help and resources I can. Thanks for understanding!

See you all again soon. :)

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