A Writer’s List

Before I start, if you’re here for the Photo Flash pic, I posted it early. You can click here: Photo Flash

One of my favorite scenes in the movie “Love Actually” shows the ideal writing life. Colin Firth’s character has left the busy city to sit at a lakeside and write (on a typewriter even). He also has a beautiful housekeeper who strips down to her underwear so she can jump in and save all the papers that have blown into the lake:

Love Actually

This is your life, right?

I bow to you if it is.

The reality is most writers have a full time job that sucks away both time and energy for writing. Some have spouses and possibly children they want to spend time with. When I was trying to write with children under the age of five at home all the time, I scrounged for time at night and Sunday afternoons to get it done. Sheer determination kept me going, but there were many nights where exhaustion made the creative process difficult to say the least.

I was only scratching the surface of what’s expected of a writer now, which goes far beyond getting words down on a page, revising them, polishing them and submitting them.

Expectations of a Modern Writer:

1. Read– OK. This has always been an expectation. You want to read good stuff so you can write good stuff. I read a lot more before I became a writer. There simply wasn’t enough time to do both when I had babies in the house. I had to choose.

2. Blog– Agents and editors want to see your blog. I have mixed feelings about this. A good story is a good story, but you need to have a good story and a good social media platform now. One of the earliest advice books I read said to include the writer’s groups that you participate in in a cover letter, but not too many. If it looks like all you do is sit at a coffee shop and talk, they’re not going to think you’re a very good writer and not going to read your manuscript. It seems like that advice should be applied to blogging, but I don’t think it is. Which brings me to the next several expectations:

3. Have a Facebook page.

4. Have a twitter account and use it frequently.

5. Follow the top ten agents and editors on your list on their twitter feeds, Facebook pages, blogs, etc.

6. If you’re lucky enough to have publications, you must promote them through blog hops, giveaways, interviews, review requests and so on.

7. Participate in author and reader forums.

8. Oh, yeah. And keep up with your writing.

I’m sure I’ve left some things off the list. And obviously I don’t do everything on the list. I find it overwhelming. I know people out there who manage it all, and I wonder what their day to day schedule is like.

But I feel I should start adding more slowly. I can’t dig my feet in and let the modern world pass me by. I’m going to start with the basic one: I’m going to start with reading. I need to suck it up and set aside time to lose myself in some good books. I will pick a night or morning and devote it to reading.

So please post book recommendations in the comments below. No horror, but other than that I’m game for anything. Do you guys manage everything on my list? Do you even think it’s all necessary? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

3 thoughts on “A Writer’s List

  1. I agree that it’s important to have some of these things, but I have heard that since everyone is doing them now, they’ve lost some of their “oomp”. Either way, it’s definitely not a bad thing to have a social media presence. And I agree that it’s difficult to tackle them all!

    Not sure what books I could recommend. I’m currently reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (yes, I’m behind. Should have read that already.) If you looking for something hilarious, I’d go for it.

  2. I really mostly read classic literature and biographies, so you probably wouldn’t want my recommendations. Sometimes my daughter talks me into a sci/fi fantasy novel. I did read all the Hunger Games books. My daughter is currently reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner if you want to look that up. She says it’s great. I do facebook, a blog, of course, read extensively and blog hops, which I enjoy, but I don’t tweet. I don’t really use my cell phone much and I don’t want that much communication. Facebook is already an encroachment on my writing time. That would be my advice; to not get so involved in social media that you don’t write.

  3. I love Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy! I hope you enjoy it, Holly.

    I read anything but horror, Shari. So any suggestion is welcome :)