How Are You Spending Your Writing Time?

How Are You Spending Your Writing Time?

Adding hashtags to your Pinterest pins won’t make you a better writer.

Comparing your monthly Medium earnings to those of another scribe won’t result in fully developed, three-dimensional characters in your story.

Uploading dozens of images from your posts to Instagram won’t land you an assignment with a national publication.

Spending three hours scheduling a week’s worth of Tweets to promote your work won’t get you a byline in The New York Times.

Staring at your Medium stats won’t complete your novel.

Posting links of your work to Facebook won’t nab you an agent.

Trying to mold your piece to fit what you think maybepossiblyhopefully Curators are looking for won’t get you a publishing deal.

You spend so much of your time analyzing the numbers, staring at the data, and promoting the links that you’ve failed to do the only important thing to benefit your career: Write.

Yes, marketing and promotion and audience engagement is part of the work. No agent will sign an author who doesn’t already have a platform of readers, so it’s important to focus some time on social media. Some time.

But let’s be honest: How much of the time you spend doing that other stuff is truly for the sake of the work? How much of it is actually a form of procrastination? How much of it is a way to avoid the difficult challenge of staring at a blank screen, putting words on the page, hitting “publish” on the Medium post or “send” on the query email?

How much of it is rooted in fear?

There is no way to avoid it. You must sit and you must write and you must be vulnerable and you must prepare for — and accept — rejection.

If you want to be a writer with strong skills and assignments and impressive bylines and a completed novel and an agent and publishing deal, hashtags and stats and links won’t get you there.

You must stop wasting time.

“Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
— Stephen King

Sit.

Focus.

Keep your head down.

Add words to the screen.

Word…

…after word…

…after word.

There is no other way.

A version of this post first appeared in A Few Words

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