It’s time for Romance Writers’ Weekly! This week’s questions are from Jo Richardson. Don’t know her? Go check her out here.
- How often do you write?
Short answer: As often as I can.
Long answer: Depends on your definition of writing. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t write something. But it might be reports for work, it might be papers for school, or it might be fiction. It depends. If we’re talking only fiction, I shoot for every day, but I’ve been known to take time off from it, too. Sometimes, my fiction gets put on the back burner for a little while while I sort out my life
2. Do you think it’s important to your craft to write as much as you can, and as often as you can?
Yes, with the caveat that everyone has the right to a break. If you’re burning out, recharging your batteries might be a good thing. Also, I sometimes think that people who try to put out vast quantities of writing often suffer from what I’ve called “first draft syndrome.” If quality is suffering because the goal is quantity, I don’t see how that will improve your skills as a writer.
Writing, like most things, is about balance. There must be a balance between quality and quantity. It’s important to write books, but it’s also important that those books are well-written and thoroughly researched. Otherwise, books go to print that aren’t ready. And I think it’s more important to put out a quality product than to be fast and put out a bunch of them.
Then again, I’m a relatively slow writer (it can take me three months to two years to finish a manuscript, and I’m pretty thrilled with myself if I complete a full manuscript and a novella per year). So you can take my issues with quantity with a grain of salt. I’m not a “let’s get this mother cranked out so I can get started on the next one” kind of author. I want to love my books, and love takes time.
3. What is your opinion on the saying “if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer”?
Short answer: I think it’s bullshit.
Long answer: I’m a speech pathologist every day of my life. But I don’t practice every single day. I take days off. When I got sick a couple of years ago, I took six weeks off from work. It didn’t make me less of a speech pathologist. I didn’t somehow misplace my degree, experience and credentials during surgery. And, weird, when I came back to work, I remembered how to do my job.
I’m also a writer every day of my life. If I take a day off, I’m still a writer. Dedication to craft can take many forms. I recognize when I’m burning out–and if I’m burning out, I’m not producing quality material.
Sometimes real life infringes on all aspects of one’s professional life. Sometimes, you’ll need a break from writing, sometimes you’ll need a break from the day job, and sometimes, you’ll need a break from your kids. It’s okay to take a break. It’s okay to recognize burn out and do something about it.
I don’t believe that there is one way to be successful, and only one road to publication. I’m not that author who feels that only Big Six pubbed books are work while; I don’t think only literary fiction is worthwhile. I think a “real” writer is one who takes her craft seriously, who actively tries to improve, and who is actively pursuing publication (but that doesn’t mean that she has to be querying at this very moment; it means that the intent to query is there as a serious goal).
Well, that’s it for me. Why not see what Mishka Jenkins has to say?