I’m wondering: Why does everything, in the name of writing, take so much time? And why does time go so quickly except when you want it to? These are age-old questions that will have no answers, but they do have a purpose for this blog post. I’ve been thinking a lot lately how everything to do with writing and publishing takes hours, months, years, lifetimes. Really, if you let it bog you down, you can get frustrated and want to give up. How is this for an inspirational post? Just hold on…
I have so many projects I want to do from writing more children’s books in my American Civil War Adventure series to publishing more books for authors through Editor-911 Books to revising and finishing countless (I mean countless) nonfiction and fiction manuscripts to editing for other writers to teaching writing classes. (And this is just my professional writing life; I sort of kind of have a personal life, too. Winks.) And none of these projects or tasks take a short amount of time. Almost every one of them is a long project, and the one thing I don’t have a lot of is…you guessed it…time.
In Hamilton the musical, which many of you have probably seen now thanks to a pandemic and Disney+, Aaron Burr asks/sings/laments (pick your favorite), “Why do you write like your running out of time?” My guess is because Alexander knew that writing took a lot of time, and he never felt like he had enough of it. (And back then, whew, writing by candlelight with a quill and ink? My, oh, my.)
So I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath and give myself pep talks. “Listen, self, every time you work on anything to do with your books or your publishing company or your editing clients, you are one step closer to living the dream life that you want to live. If you just sit around and complain that everything takes so much time or never start anything because you won’t have time to finish it that day, you’ll be stuck. And if there’s one thing you can’t stand is feeling stuck!” (Side note: My sassy self is currently pouting in the corner after this lecture.)
But isn’t that the worst feeling when you are miserable in some situation and you can’t figure a way to change anything? Writing gives me hope. Publishing gives me hope. Helping other writers gives me hope. And hope is what keeps me going.
Part of the problem is I listen to podcasts–they are both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part is they are a free way to learn a lot about the indie publishing industry and listen to people who are successful and/or making mistakes, but learning from them, every single day. I am even coaching an author or two about the indie publishing movement right now–thanks to everything I’ve learned.
But the curse part is so many of these authors on the podcasts are working full time as an author or have no children or live by themselves with no pets even. So when I listen to them talk about writing 3000 to 5000 words a day or putting out four books in a year, I have to remind myself that their life is not my life, and there’s certain things in my life I would obviously not want to give up, especially being a mom to Katie. (Okay, I suppose our dog Sudsi is one of those things; and no, she’s not MAKING me add this in.)
I’ve felt frustrated lately in spite of telling myself again and again that every step forward is a step toward my goals whether it’s a teeny tiny step or a huge leap. I tell myself that I’m in this for the marathon and not the sprint. And I tell myself, “At least you are not stuck.”
But I will also tell you that I still wish everything to do with writing did not take SO MUCH TIME. I know it’s a common complaint for most writers and something we all deal with, but it still helps to type it out and know that someone on the other end of these words can commiserate with me. Please commiserate with me–I’m begging you.
If you’re feeling like me, let me know in the comments. But also remember, just do anything, one thing, something today to move yourself forward, even if it’s cleaning off a spot in your house to set your laptop to start your new novel tomorrow.
What am I going to do? Well, I’m about to publish another book for my author friend Fred Olds and write some curriculum for my American Civil War Adventure series–plus figure out how to go “wide” with indie publishing print books and finish up republishing a YA sweet romance. Goodness, no wonder I feel overwhelmed. Let’s get back to that first and small step…
Margo L. Dill is an author, teacher, editor, mom, daughter, friend, dog walker and reader. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her daugther and dog. Her class about novel writing started yesterday, but you can actually still join if you want because that would be one step toward reaching a goal you can do today. She is the author of the just released prequel for her American Civil War Adventure series titled, Anna and the Baking Championship, perfect for middle-grade readers and only 99 cents for the ebook!
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