Thursday, November 16, 2006


Being a writer these days is the career equivalent of ADD.

Years ago, in the days of typewriters (note to newbies: a typewriter was a device like a computer, but without a monitor, memory, or Minesweeper) writers could sit down at their desk and just write. Then, when they finished writing, they could write their next book.

These days, not so much. Temptations and other work-related activities abound for the writer. There are dozens of opportunities to slack-off without even getting out of your chair.

  • Writing blogs
  • Checking for replies on blogs
  • Checking for replies to your replies on blogs
  • Computer games
  • Checking email
  • MySpace
  • Surfing the net
  • Message boards
  • Checking Amazon

And then there are the other requirements of the job:

  • Booksignings
  • Touring
  • Interviews
  • Conventions, conferences, and festivals
  • Library and school talks
  • Stock signings
  • Newsletters
  • Mailings
  • Websites
  • Blurbing

And, of course:

  • Other job
  • Family
  • Recreation

After finishing my 500 bookstore tour on August 22, I've managed to write 25 blog entries, visit 104 additional bookstores (I'm up to 608), do 19 events, and 7 interviews.

Writing? Who has time for writing?

Even when I do manage to sit down to write, the siren song of the internet calls, begging me to stop mid-sentence and research something, or check the blogosphere for mentions of my name, or catch up on my email.

So, in order to meet my 4000 word a day quota, I've had to get tough.

First, I don't automatically say yes to every speaking invitation I receive.

Second, I only turn on the internet when I take my breaks, every 1000 words.

Third, I keep working until I get my quota, even if that means I don't sleep.

When you're a writer, it's easy to forget the writing part. What are some of the things you do to stay on task?