Happy Friday Y'all!
Two quick things to shout out: First, you can still *Sign Up* to be a part of my COVER REVEAL happening (3/12/12). Click the link to find out all about it. Also, if you missed my guest post at Adventures in Children's Publishing Wednesday, you may want to hop over and check it out. I actually GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO BE STUBBORN. Yep, you heard me. This post is for anyone who's ever struggled to find the balance between being open to critique and suggestion while still holding tight to the core of your story. Or if you just want to come show me some love =)
Speaking of guest posts, I have one here for you today. Natalie C. Markey is a complete doll that I've known for almost a year and a half now. She is a master juggler--no, not the circus kind, but a variety of writing projects along with her Mommy hat. She has an EXCELLENT online class she teaches . . . but I'll let her tell you about it.
Have a great weekend everyone . . . Natalie, take it away!
Why you should be a flexibly, trained writer
By Author Natalie C. Markey
No one ever said that being a writer was easy. If someone told you that, then I’m willing to bet they aren’t a writer or they aren’t anymore. It takes unresolved discipline, a large serving of want and a great amount of will power. The only way to manage this life is to constantly keep training and stay flexible.
That may sound like a recipe for marathon training but writing is very similar to a marathon. Discipline, want, will power, training and flexibility. Writing has them all. Now add a job and family into that mix and you get chaos. We all have busy lives and it’s easy to say, “Oh I can write that chapter tomorrow.” This is where your training and flexibility will come into play.
After some years in the publications and communications fields, I now write from home working on freelance contracts, non-fiction and fiction books. I do this all while caring for my 19-month-old daughter and making sure a healthy meal is on the table each night when my husband comes home from work. I then have to fit in my workout time and carve out some fun for myself. I will say that my “fun” is normally brainstorming new projects. Yep, I’m a writing nerd and proud of it! But I manage this by constantly training and staying flexible.
My writing is training. Reading a craft book is training. Understanding that you can always grow and get better is training. Joining a writing group is training. There are many ways you can fine-tune your craft. Being a mom to a very active toddler is always training me in the act of patience.
Now I mentioned that it’s easy to want to put writing off. I mean it’s not like you’re at an office with a boss looking over your work. If you have deadlines, your agent/publisher is not standing there watching you. It’s tempting to slack and get caught up in life. Your training can help conquer such temptation but then this is also where that flexibility comes in. You need to know when it’s OK to not write that planned one thousand words.
I’m talking about more than taking care of a family crisis. I’ve seen how easy it is to fall behind when a loved one is sick but we are human and to me at least— family comes first. I will say my iPAD made it possible to write from the hospital more so than I would’ve…but back to my point! There are times when writers should be flexible to take a break. It’s OK to breathe. Avoid burnout. For me, my breaks usually involve an hour or two of playing with Little People animal play sets with my daughter. Her energy always revives me when I feel drained. It also reminds me of why I write.
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I used to sit in my closet (in a basket of stuffed animals) as a child in hopes of going to Narnia. Unfortunately I didn’t have a wardrobe. But once I learned that a writer created Narnia, I knew that I wanted to take other readers on journeys to incredible worlds.
I do write fiction. I have built worlds and I’m revising and making them better. Though I am a seasoned freelance writer and a published non-fiction author I know that through my training I will get there. I will remain flexible as to take care of me and avoid the dreaded writer’s burnout. And most of all I will maintain my passion and always remember why I write.
A special thanks to Rachel for having me as a guest. She is one woman that I know must be disciplined and flexible to accomplish what she does. You go girl!
Part of training and maintaining flexibility is taking time to be a student. Sign up for an online writing class. If you are a writing mom like, whether you work from home or work long into the night after your day job, then my workshop next month might help you in your training. Back by popular demand is Writing Moms: You can have it all without losing your mind, presented by Who Dares Wins Publishing Write It Forward Workshops. Learn more here.
Natalie C. Markey is a seasoned freelance writer including popular columns like The Mortal Instruments Examiner and Special Needs Dog Care Examiner. She is the author of “Caring for Your Special Needs Dogs.” Follow her on Twitter, Pen to Publish blog, and her website.