The Write Substance: Routines

Writers love to write. Readers love to read what writers write. One cannot exist without the other, right?

Many times, writers will feel that one of these two jobs is much harder than the other. Sure, there are those who can crank out a book a month and never break a sweat, but then there are writers who aren’t absolutely insane. I mean no offense to the aforementioned writers who can publish a dozen books a year, of course. But writers – particularly new ones – need to remember that those writers are not the norm. In fact, those writers are experts at their craft, whether they sell a million copies or not. They sit down every day and write like their lives depend on it. And maybe they do. Maybe that’s what feeds their families, and pays their bills.

And that’s what I wanted to talk about today. The Write Substance is a little side project I’ve been considering for a while now in the hopes that it might inspire other writers (and readers…and me) in this modern world where writing a novel is seen as less and less of an accomplishment. There are millions of books and millions of authors out there who ensure that there is never a shortage of reading material. So how can a new author break through the masses and earn some notoriety without relying on big-name publishers and literary agents whom we never get a chance to Wow with out amazing stories? Is it even possible to become a renowned author if you’re not in a big-name pocket?

It’s easy to lose hope.

First things first: You need to write. If you’ve finished your first book (or almost finished your first book), and you’re excited about the journey ahead of you, then congratulations! Oftentimes, you want to focus all your energy on promoting that book and seeing how it does before you get too invested in another book, but I have to disagree. Keep the routine you had when you were finishing up that book. If you didn’t have a proper routine, then you are a superhero and that’s awesome. But I still encourage you to try a routine. If a lack of sales gets you down, you’ll need that time set aside for your story. Get immersed with the characters you love – or make some new ones! Remind yourself why you love to do this, and why you want so badly to make it in this painfully competitive business.

It can be very difficult if you’re in a rut – and if you’re in one now as you’re reading this, then I want you to get out your calendar or phone or other scheduling device/tool and pen (not pencil) in an hour of writing time every day going forward. And if you want to make excuses for why you’re not writing on any particular day, then you’re doing it wrong. Work on your next book. Give yourself a brand that readers can come to recognize.

Whatever you do, don’t stop writing. That pen/pencil/typewriter/keyboard is your lifeline, and whether you make an impressive income with your writing or not, your books are part of your legacy. They will be here until the end of civilization as we know it – long after we are (hopefully civilization doesn’t end before we do!).

Writing is a business, yes, and you should put a significant amount of effort into getting your name heard, your stories read. But never put the business before the product. Write, and when you’re sick of writing, write some more. Don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish, and if you’re writing to “make it big” or to get rich, then maybe this advice isn’t for you. But if you write because you love to write, and you want to share your stories and creations with the world, then put your primary focus on creating. Get that planned sequel ready to go out. Outline your entire series. Make character reference sheets. Download this cool story-building app I randomly found one day, and just fill it out with everything you have.

Most of all, love what you do. And if you love what you do, then why shouldn’t you love doing it every single day?

Keep at it!

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