I’m a little selective these days with the articles I read about writing. There’s a lot out there, and a lot of it gives the same advice over and over, often with catch-alls that aren’t suitable for every writer. That said, I stumbled upon a great article from Hugh Howey, author of Wool, concerning the mentality you need to have to be a truly successful writer, and I highly recommend you check it out.
Howey’s advice is particularly important for me right now because my weekly work schedule just jumped onto a nuclear-powered treadmill, with some Satanic demon-lord cackling at me and telling me that sleep is for the weak. As of two weeks ago, I’ve taken the regular schedule of a high school teacher – which is more work than most people think – and added on teaching four nights a week at Algonquin College. This is not a Herculean task to balance (at least not yet) but between actual teaching hours and things like prep and marking, my writing hours have taken a significant hit.
At this point, it would be very easy to say, “I have precious few free hours. Some of that will be housework, etc, and I should dedicate most of the rest to relaxation and socializing, lest I lose my mind.” But whenever I’m feeling tired or lazy, I think back to the advice I heard from one Jay Odjick, on a long-ago episode of Planet X Podcast: “Are you a fucking writer? Yeah? Then fucking write. Quit fucking crying, quit fucking bitching, get in there … get on that keyboard and write, mother fucker.”
Luckily for me, I finished the first draft of Convoy (my current novel WIP) before the madness began, so the bulk of my work is now revisions. During the week I’m editing either between my two jobs, or for about thirty minutes after I finally get home, before I let my brain relax and go to bed. The weekend is specifically for new word creation, which right now will be a series of short stories that have been on the back-burner for a while; no way am I waiting until the end of April (when the semester is done at Algonquin) to get to these. I’ve also started my first collaborative project with a poet friend of mine: a series of robot-related poems, and the work so far has been even more fun than I was expecting.
Two weeks in, and I seem to be balancing the new schedule pretty well. Of course, in a week we’ll be starting a new semester at the high school level, which means brand new preps balanced with midterm marks at Algonquin. If one of my subsequent posts is a series of unintelligible syllabic nonsense (more so than usual) don’t be too surprised.