Time to Write

Posted On Aug 4 2014 by
Photo Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons and David Turnbull (a writer)

When I was 13, I wanted to be a writer. I was the kid who wrote the short story about a werewolf for extra credit in English. I still got a C- for the semester, but the teacher liked my story and read it to the class.

Life happened.

When I was 30, I tried to be a writer. I wrote a cool novel about a guy who can release people to pursue their dreams just by looking into their eyes. There was a serial killer involved.

Life happened.

When I was 45, I said I’m gonna try this again. I cleaned up a mystery I’d worked on somwhere in the middle of all that, pushed aside the other three books, and went to a writer’s conference.


Yeah. Life happend. And it will always happen. It has taken me 17 years to realize that you don’t pursue your dream by testing the waters every few years to see if you’re ready. It’s like being ready to have kids. You will. Never. Be. Ready.

My parter, Gina Conroy (aka Super G), has a website called Writer…Interrupted. Aptly named. Gina is the mother of two, though it sounds like five or six sometimes, especially on days when I need input and can’t get a hold of her. She’s traditionally published one book, an excellent mystery entitled Digging Up Death. One would think she’s on her way. It can only get easier, right?

Wrong. She still had two kids to take care of. And the royalties from that first book are almost enough to keep the fish fed. She still has to convince herself every day that this dream is worth chasing.

So how do you go from the occasional writer to a career focused author? Especially when the career doesn’t pay a nickel for the first few years. I’m going to start this Monday series with the advice I gave to my friend from church, Mark, who sent me a message the other day stating his desire to write.

Say you are a writer and make a plan. I’ve laid out my plan to write six novels a year, self-publish but keep my traditional options open, and to write a weekly serial novel with Gina (#AngelWarz). Yours may be: Write and edit one novel and two short stories between August 4th, 2014 and August 4th, 2015. No, don’t wait until January 1st or some other round date. Do it now.

Your plan might change. Your writing might be terrible (all writing is terrible until readers love it). Your husband might want to know why the refrigerator has been empty for two weeks. Press on. Adapt. But don’t wait for something called a “muse” or until you have time. Here’s a bucket full of time. Knock yourself out.

If you sat down and wrote out your plan, I’d love to hear it. Telling someone else about it helps to make it real. Nothing is off the table. Let’s hear about the rest of your life.

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Last Updated on: August 4th, 2014 at 8:48 am, by Ron

Written by Ron

Just about everything I believe has been shaped by the written word. But books don't force a belief; they stir the imagination so that you, the reader, eventually draw your own conclusions. We grow richer in spirit when we read, deeper in our understanding of the universe and our role in it. That's why I read. That's why I write. To offer you a bit of myself. Come along on my journey, won't you? There's plenty of room.

6 responses to “Time to Write

  1. Hehe – as the kids say.

    I’m a slave to Pride’s Children until it’s done. Period. Funny thing is, every day when I can write a few more words, detail the plot complexities of the next scene (within the markers I’ve set up for the whole estimated 450,000 word trilogy), I am happy. For that time, I am alone in a universe elsewhere – and I am its god. Supreme power comes to those who write.

    I have maybe ten regular readers who read the new scene every Tuesday on my blog – and for now that is enough. I haven’t missed a week – and October still looks good (planned date for publishing Book 1).

    I have speeded myself up, within my constraints. I have gotten better at achieving what I’m aiming at – it surprises me sometimes now how quickly I am satisfied I have dug deep enough to torture my beta reader (compared to fourteen years ago when I started PC). I still get sucked in whenever I go back to read old scenes, and, since I writing the book I want to read, that is eminently fulfilling.

    I don’t know how long it will take me to finish, to publish, to do the audiobooks (oh, yeah – ‘read by author’). Where else am I going to have this much fun and learn this many new skills?

    That’s the plan – and I wish you great success with your path, though I cannot follow it. Mine will do for me.

    • Everyone will have a different path, Alicia, that’s certain. But isn’t it fun to be focused on a goal that so few others even have the courage to attempt? Stay the course and we’ll have no regrets.

  2. Great post! I´m on the same page. I always wanted to write but never found the courage to do it. I focused on a engineering career that never prospered… But now I´ve changed paths and I started this goal of writing my first novel 2 months ago more or less. I felt so unsecure so many times, but this has been the longest time I had ever been so encouraged and inspired to do it. I live a lonely life, no significant other, nor kids. And I came to the conclusion that that´s something I have to take advantage of! instead of worrying why am I so lonely, maybe I should focus on all the things I can achieve because I can!
    It´s not easy, and I´m still struggling a lot. But before, I was ashamed to call myself a writer, or tell people I had decided to become one, now I am not, because I truly believe in myself…

    • Another writer trapped in an engineer’s body! We really need to stay in touch. I don’t regret the path I chose, though. It’s provided my family with a nice home and they’ve never had to worry about anything. But now I see a chance to make a change. It will be a long, slow change, but moving forward fills me with excitement. Thanks for the reply. I hope to hear more from you.

  3. Yet another inspiring post. Thank you, Ron.

    The day to write is today, and tomorrow. I am fortunate in that I am a freelance editor in my day job, which makes it easy to work in my writing time every day, since I tackle my projects in blocks. This was partly by design: there was no way in my former career as an academic I could have kept the balance. It was a bit like a spell that split my soul into one too many pieces. So I made a bold change to my life and I am not looking back.

    I won’t list my writing goals because they are evolving (I also like an element of surprise), but suffice it to say my advice to any writer who finds that life takes away your writing time is: have a look at how you spend your time, physically and mentally. What can you change to make your stories come more to the center of your world? Make a plan, one with steps and opportunities for you to change them, and if necessary make it radical. This way you will learn whether or not you are truly a writer at heart – a good lesson before you decide to commit your life to it. (Caution: I do not necessarily mean you must abandon your family and career, but that you must do whatever it takes to reorder your life so that storytelling is at the heart of it. Ron, I think of you stealing away your writing times all throughout the day – that is a great example.)

    • Right. We think nothing of an addiction like facebook or video games eating up our time. Your passion should replace your addiction. It’s not work if it’s something you love. We have to lose this mindset that we deserve two hours of TV time every night or time to “chill.” You chill by making use of what little time you have. That’s the life I want.