Writing Through Chaos #writingadvice #TaraLain

Hi all — 

I just hit 50,000 words on a new book.

I will admit, this book will need more editing and revision than most of my books do after first draft, but i should explain. I’ve spent the last two months living in a hotel with my honey and a dog, the house i thought i was going to buy proving to be an impossible money pit and out of reach financially. That took a month to determine. Then everything i own was delivered by the van lines and had to be put in storage — while we kept living in a hotel. Then we thought we’d rent a house, but that was more than difficult at this time of year. Instead, we ended up putting in an offer on a different house — but that required another 30 day escrow. Meanwhile, our lender was wacko and asked for documentation in dribs and drabs, between 5 and 15 documents per day in a seemingly never ending process. During this, i’ve been doing my day job from a tiny desk and a plastic box, on my cell phone with my husband trying to do his work from his cell phone while the dog barks at every person who walks down the hall.

And i wrote 50,000 words. Not at my usual pace, but still writing. How?

That’s a question many writers ask me. How do you keep writing — during distraction? When life happens? When all you want to do is scream and sleep from frustration? During chaos?

The answer i guess is  that’s when a writer’s discipline shows. The discipline is best established when crap has not hit the fan — during everyday life.

  • Figure out how many words you want to write per week. Make it doable. I suggest doing NanoWriMo a couple times to push yourself and learn what you can do. Divide that total by 7. Or 6 if you need a day off. LOL.
  • Establish a minimum number of words per day that is your bottom line and you won’t go lower. For me that’s 1000 words.Whereas i like to do 2,000 or more ( i work full time at another job 3 days a week and i write for that job too!) i tell myself i need to do 1,000. Have i missed that any days during this weird patch in my life? Yes. (Like on the day i drove 12 hours from southern California to southern Oregon) But most days i’ve made it.
  • If you miss your minimum words one day, try to make them up the next.
  • Realize there’s only one kind of “muse” — the feeling of butt in chair and fingers on keys. Writing is its own inspiration.
  • The only way to write a book — is to write a book.
  • Starting is easy. Finishing is hard. Force yourself to the end. Completion is the key to success. Do it once and you can do it again and again.
  • As a friend of mine used to tell me, remember it’s not a hobby, it’s a job.

Writing is hard but also immensely fun. When life is in chaos, writing can be the one thing that helps establish order — and gives joy. I’m still not in my house, though i hope to be this week. Meanwhile, I’ll make that 50,000 words grow, hopefully into something worthwhile. Wish me luck!  : )

How to Write a Lot of Words. #amwriting

Hi and Happy New Year! You may know that in addition to writing 5 or 6 novels a year, I still have a day job. I’m a partner in a marketing communications agency. I work 3 full days in my company and then have 4 full days to write. Of course, that makes 7 days, so you can tell there aren’t a lot of days off. I have to note that i don’t have kids, so my life isn’t as complicated as many peoples. Still, a lot of writers ask me how i write so many books a year.

The answer of, course, is one word at a time.

I set a word goal for the day and for the week. The goal is pretty much the same every week with very few exceptions (during the holidays, i actually took full days off, but that’s rare.) I set a minimum of 1000 words a day. Then i shoot for 10,000 words a week. To write 10K a week, i have to write 2k words on 3 of the days, at least. Usually, i do 1000 on my day job days and 2k on the other days with one day i can fall back to 1k if i want to. If i write extra words on one day, i can either go for a higher total, or take time off on one day.

Ten thousand words a week is 520,000 words a year. That’s a bunch of books. (My husband just told me to add that blogs don’t count!  LOL)

Ten thousand words  a week means you can write and polish a full length novel in 2 months or less depending on how smoothly you write. A novella can be achieved in a month.

To a new writer, 1000 words a day sounds hard, but it’s not when you practice. Here’s what i recommend.

  • Forget the idea that you need inspiration or that you can get writer’s block. Sit down and write something. If it’s bad, you can change it later. Just count the damned words! LOL.
  • Learn to write a hundred words or so at a time. You don’t need big blocks of time. Between work assignments, slip in a hundred words in the cracks. Soon you’ll have a thousand.
  • Get a laptop that supports this approach and makes it easy to write in spurts, ie, you don’t have to restart every time you open the thing.
  • Get a planner or something like that. Get some “am writing” stickers. (I get mine from Rabbit Stickers on Etsy) Post one on every day and feel the thrill when you write 1000 words completed.
  • Don’t go to bed until you write the words.
  • If you have to miss a day, make it up the next day, but don’t do that often.

Does this make writing a job? You bet your butt-in-chair it does. If you want to publish books and make money doing it, you must make it a job. You can be a hobbyist writer, but don’t kid yourself. Writing is hard! If you love writing anyway, you’re a pro. Might as well get paid to be one.

I wish you a joyous, action-packed, writing filled 2018! Hugs! BTW, my new book, Bleu Balls, releases in a few days! And there’s a series sale for all the Balls books! Check it out.

How This Author Get’s It All Done

DSC02846Hi–

I recently had some folks ask me about my daily schedule and life so i jotted it down. Here’s what it looks like:

Like many writers, I work full-time at another job as well. In fact, I own my job. I’m a partner in a small ad/PR firm which I helped found many years ago. Unlike many writers, I don’t hate my day job. Quite the contrary. I think both professions feed each other. If you know what my day job is, you understand better why I’m such a passionate participant in social media and why I actually enjoy blogging. I have promotional and marketing instincts and training, so I do more promo than many authors. I’m also a fairly prolific author. My first book came out in January of 2011 and I’m now writing book 23. I’m also a huge believer in reasonably healthy living, so exercise and a balanced diet have to come in there somewhere. I’m married to the love of my life, have a house, a family and a my soul-dog.2013-01-18 12.30.53

It’s a balancing act.

5-6AM — Get up, check and answer email and social media for my author life. If time permits, do some writing.

6:30 — Take off out the door with my dog for a mile and a half walk which includes a stop for wheat grass juice and veggie juice and ends with a trip to the coffee shop for tea and dog treats. (Alternatively, do a complete Pilates and Yoga routine.)

7:45 – 9:00 — Check and answer business emails and Tara Lain emails, make soft-boiled eggs for breakfast, shower and make the 1 minute commute to my home office

9 – about 12ish — Work my butt off doing strategic planning, program development and copy writing for clients

12 – 1ish — Lunch — often raw veggies with tahini sauce, some raw nuts, and a piece of string cheese. Write on my WIP

1-3ish — More client work

3-3:30ish — WIP and social media

3:30 – 5 — Clients, conference calls, etc.

5-6 — WIP and social media including blogging

6-7 — Dinner and some TV

7 – 9:30 — A mix of family time, TV, and writing.

9:30 — head for bed, read and sleep

On Fridays, I have more writing time and, of course, big chunks of the weekend are devoted to creating books. I also blog almost every day. Because I work at home, I generally see emails come in for both my lives and can respond to something urgent very quickly, so I’m extremely lucky.

The secret to getting it all done to me is being able and willing to do small bits at a time. I don’t have to have hours to write. Got 15 minutes? Pull up the WIP and go to work. I figure if i write 1000 words a day, i’ve created 365,000 words a year. That’s a bunch of books. Of course, many days i don’t reach 1000 and many more days i do 2,000 or more words. I’m also a big believer in spending one-third of my writer time doing promo of some kind, so i plan for that every day.  As Nike says, just do it. Doing, doing, done. : )