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Sunday, April 11, 2021


Writing in the Cracks of Life


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

When do you write? Early in the morning? Late at night or in the cracks of life? For me, it often depends on what I have that needs to be written. If I'm writing on a book, then I will often figure out how many words I need to write in order to meet the deadline. Often I will add a few days of cushion into this process because interruptions and unexpected things always happen. If I'm on a book deadline, then I will write for an extended period of time (several hours). It doesn't matter if it is in the morning, afternoon or late at night. For some of my deadlines when I had a full-time job at an office, I've written all night long to meet a writing deadline.
 
While it is nice to have a big block of time to write, I also have written in small portions of time or in the cracks of life. Maybe I will have a few minutes in the morning to write a few paragraphs. Or I will have some time in the late afternoon to write a few more paragraphs on a piece. In general, I scratch out a few phrases as an outline first, then I write from that outline and in my mind I have an idea where I'm going with the piece and how it will come together.
 
After years of tackling these questions as a writer, I believe some of the issue is mindset. If you tell yourself that you are a morning person and can only write in the morning, then you will be challenged to write late at night. If you are a night owl and tell yourself that you don't think well in the mornings, then you will find it hard to write in the mornings. My counsel is not to play these sort of mind games with yourself. If you can write, then you can write whenever you have the opportunity to write.  I have no preconceived notions and that is a key part of my writing mindset.
 
Another element is to learn when you do your best creative work. For some people it is early in the morning. For other people they need to be at a coffee shop with people around them (sort of like writing in a newsroom of a newspaper). Sometimes I write on my Alpha Smart (especially when I travel). Admittedly for a year I have not been in hotel rooms or airplanes with a world-wide pandemic. But this situation is beginning to change as I'm starting to traveling again.
 
For my small deadlines (like these weekly articles about The Writing Life), then I write in cracks of time. Do you have a system or method or manner about your writing? Let me know in the comments below.
 

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Sunday, April 04, 2021


The Importance of Consistent Action


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin


Early on a Saturday morning before the sun had risen, I was working on my social media posts for next month (May). Why? It's part of my consistent pattern of collecting then posting content for my social media feeds on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Through the years I've posted thousands of entries. It takes consistent action to get results. No everyone reads every one of your posts on social. Sometimes someone will email me about an interview I've posted—like they are hearing it for the first time—when I recorded this interview months earlier but I'm consistently putting it into my social media posts. It's all about taking consistent action.
 
Often in these articles, I've written about the importance of taking consistent action with your writing life. You may not see the results immediately (or ever) but the fact you are consistent will pay off.
 
Recently I was one of the speakers at a virtual writing conference. One of the people attending the event was a writer in Nigeria.  He learned about the event from one of my tweets on Twitter. Which tweet? I have no idea but the fact I was posting consistently paid off and this writer saw my words and took action and attending the event. Because of the time difference, many oif the sessions were in the middle of the night in Nigeria but this writer saw the importance of attending the event—and he came because of one of my social media posts.
 
I am writing consistently—like the hundreds of entries in this blog on The Writing Life. Like clockwork, I write something new every week. Are you consistently blogging or writing for something else? Besides these blog articles, I regularly write for several other blogs. Sometimes I write an original article. Other times I repurpose and rewrite older articles and use them. Each article includes links to resources where people can subscribe to my email list, buy my books or other strategic ties. Sometimes from these consistent efforts, people buy my books. Yet not everyone buys my books from these articles. I know someone has to hear about your book 8 to 12 times before they buy it. These articles might be one of those exposure times. It's not always about book sales but consistent action will pay off in other areas of your writing life—even if you can't see the results.
 
Often in these articles, I've written about the importance of reading for writers. While I love to read, several years ago I began to write reviews on the books that I read (or if I hear the audiobook version) I've done it so often, writing a review only takes me a few minutes. I've written over 1,100 reviews on Amazon and over 700 reviews on Goodreads.  While that is a large amount of reviews, it didn't happen overnight but through consistent action.
 
What consistent actions are you taking with your writing life? Let me know in the comments below.
 

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