I am a writer, a Professional Writer. I produce written content for a variety of clients, to be used in a variety of media- blogs, newsletters, websites, articles, social media and so on. I am fortunate to be able to claim a modest income from a skill which I am very good at, doing something I love to do- write. However, during the quiet time in the first week of January, a question formed in my mind- what about me as a writer, as an author? What am I doing about that?
The question then resolved into – how do I show respect to my writer self? More importantly to my creative, Author self. See, I compete in Nanowrimo every year, and have completed, or won, 14 years in a row. A huge accomplishment, and yet I only have one novel published, for sale, and that was back in 2012. What have I done since? Why haven’t I published book ?
I say more importantly, because I see my Professional Writing Self and my Author self as two distinct entities, and I don’t think I have been showing either of them the right amount of respect. But what exactly do I mean by this?
I write 4 blogs a month for a client of mine, yet I only write 1 blog a month for myself. I help people source content, and plan for a blogging year, while I have perhaps 2 or 3 planned out in advance. Looking at my Social Media profile, I have an RSS feed driving content, but as someone pointed out to me the other day, it is all impersonal. Sure, it is relevant to social media and content media, but it is not me, there is no ME in there, what I am doing.
And for my Author self, I noticed the banner for my Facebook page hadn’t changed in just as many years as when I published my novel. And while I finished my 2016 Nanowrimo novel on the weekend, where I was writing, and how much I was doing at a time, made it feel like I was only casually being a writer. Writing on the couch is a bad idea, so I need a new location to actually write. And not on the main computer, but with my laptop. So far it is the camp chair, in a corner of the lounge. Not ideal.
As the New Year, and the first week of January idled along, I started looking into NEW THINGS I could be doing in the year. As with everyone else, New Year new me. One of the suggestions I found in my searchings was a Writer’s Journal. I am not much of a journal writer, sitting down and writing hand written entries for posterity, or for working stuff out in my head. I have tried the Daily Pages and the Artist’s Way a few times, and crashed and burned each and every time. So this journaling about writing, it will probably be the same.
But so far, no it hasn’t. So, focusing purely on me as a writer for this journal, it allows me to be a little bit more open, since I don’t mind talking about the trials and tribulations of being a writer. I have worked out some plot holes in my creative stuff. Plus I have figured out a few blog ideas, including this one, and some other things I can implement, such as building an Author’s Platform.
While writing in a semi-stream of consciousness way, I put asterisks in the margins, so when I reach the end I go back and find the things I have highlighted and make a dot point list of important notes garnered from my session. The funny thing is, I put the journal away, and I forget the notes. So now I need a way to have the notes handy. I am thinking post-it notes, or clean off my whiteboard and put them there.
This year, 2017, is going to be a year where I acknowledge and respect my writer self more than I do, both the Professional Writer, and the Author. I will give my author time to write, and not on the couch. I will give my Wonderdog time to write and plan, for the business and himself. I will invest time into the space of being a writer, the conversation of being a writer, the process of being a writer.
I am not one for resolutions, but this is the closest I have come in a long time. Wish me luck!