On Keeping Your Writing Habits


I attended a fantastic event over the weekend, the Heart of Dixie's annual luncheon. Heart of Dixie is the RWA chapter for the Huntsville, Alabama area. It was a very fun day, full of lots of amazing authors and readers. And I am thrilled to announce that I've been asked to come back next year and be their keynote speaker. It's my first romance oriented keynote, and I'm already planning out what I may want to cover.

I got to meet the incredibly prolific Lora Leigh. Prolific, as in she used to write 12-14 books a year, and now has backed off to between 6-8. That's a lot of books. Makes me feel positively anemic by comparison.

My table at the luncheon was filled with both readers and aspiring writers, so the conversation flitted from topic to topic, but eventual landed on my writing habits. I had asked Lora Leigh if she is able to work on multiple books at once or if she's a one and at time girl, and she answered she was one at a time. I'm like that too. I find it difficult to juggle too many projects at once.

I shared my process with my table, how I feel I must write 1000 words a day. I really should have said in order to meet my own writing goals, I must average 1000 words a day. Because that's much closer to the truth. To say I write a 1000 words a day is disingenuous. Life gets in the way. Edits come in and need handling. You get sick, pets die, family members need your attention. You get up in the morning and just plain don't feel like working, and instead pour a cup of tea and grab a nice juicy historical romance and lose yourself in that world. 

I want to write every day. I really do. But the truth of the matter is, I don't.

In all honestly, I haven't been writing. For a while now.

It's not that I haven't been WORKING, quite the opposite. I loved this great piece on what life is like as a published author. It's very true, and exactly what's been happeneing here at Chez Ellison: The tour to handle, all the PR and interviews and blogs, revisions on Edge of Black, touchups to another project, the website to redo, a short story to plot, my previous shorts to put on sale, bios to update, books to read, research to be done, ideas to ponder, closets to straighten, Rita dresses to shop for, and a few other rather important things that shall not be named as of yet going on. I'm utterly exhausted come 6pm, and ready to turn off the computer and veg out in front of the TV.

But as far as creating? As in new ideas, new words on the page creating? 


The longer I go like this, the more nervous I get. It happens about twice a year - usually right around release time. I know myself well enough to know that the habit of writing is almost more important than the writing itself. And when I finally sit back down to the page, it's going to be a rough few days. But the words will come, the daily counts will start adding back up, and by mid-July, I'll have a chunk of work behind me. 

But it's these in-between moments, when I've just finished a book and am about to start another, that I start getting hard on myself. Nora Roberts takes a day off between books. So does Allison Brennan. And if I want to emulate the people I greatly respect, I need to start cutting back on the in-between books downtime. I've taken almost a month this time, and while it's been lovely, I'm getting really antsy. I think I've finally decided that it's time to offload some of my writerly duties to someone else. And we all know how great I am at giving up control. 

So wish me luck this week as I attempt to let go. And get my writing habit back on track.