Life is crazy and hectic for most of us. With all those distractions, how does an aspiring author find time to write?
Award-winning and #1 international bestselling author Kevin J. Anderson is one of the most prolific authors in the business. He shares his tips on how to find the time to write, and how to make the most of that time.
In National Novel Writing Month, participants challenge themselves to write a novel in a month, a goal which I applaud. When I say, “But what do you do with the other two weeks in the month?” I often get booed. I have written an average of five books a year for the past 25 years, and I have given countless lectures on writing productivity. This book distills all my secrets. – Kevin J. Anderson
Back in the heyday of pulp fiction magazines, when freelancers struggled to pay the bills by writing stories for half a cent per word (at most), they had to produce, produce, produce. Their motto was "Be prolific or starve." Armed only with manual typewriters and carbon paper, the most popular and productive writers managed to crank out entire novels in only a few days, stories and novelettes in a single sitting.
Today, with an arsenal of writing tools that includes word processors, email, scanners, internet research, lightning-fast printers, digital recorders, and voice-recognition software, it must be easy for modern authors to be even more prolific than their "prehistoric" predecessors. Right?
Life is crazy and hectic for most of us. We're surrounded with personal and family obligations, jobs, fitness programs, virtual mountains of email, not to mention videogames, TV, smartphones, social networking, and millions of things to check out on the web.
With all those distractions, how does an aspiring author find time to write?
And when you do find the time, how do you make the most of it?
That's what I'll show with this book. You don't have to be manically productive (though some of us consider that to be fun), but you will learn ways to get more writing out of every available moment.
Being a Full-Time Writer
I'm not a typical writer, I admit that. I might be at the far end of the bell curve regarding the time and energy I spend on writing. This is a conversation that runs through my head:
Writing isn't a hobby. Writing is a passion.
Writing is a way of life.
Writing is the thing that comes to mind first when you ask yourself, "What am I doing today?"
Writing is always in the back of your mind—when you're watching football games with the family, or sitting in a meeting at work, or waiting to be served at a restaurant, or fidgeting in the dentist's office. The voice inside keeps whispering louder and louder, "I could be writing right now!"
When you glimpse interesting people in a crowd, when you experience an unusual event, when you see a spectacular landscape, your immediate reaction is, "How can I use this in my writing?"
If those statements ring true—if you smile and say, "Hey, that's me!"—then this book is for you.*
*Standard disclaimer: There's nothing wrong with dabbling, either. It's enjoyable and often therapeutic to unleash your creative impulse. Don't worry if you can't write all the time—you'll still find parts of Million Dollar Productivity useful.
Comic writer/artist Howard Tayler says, "Being a full-time writer is great. You only have to work half days—and you get to decide which twelve hours that is."
I am a full-time writer, 24/7—birthdays and holidays included, 365 days a year. Most of my full-time writer friends have a similar schedule. They center their lives around researching, writing, editing, publishing, and promoting what they write. It's not an easy job.
What does it mean to be a writer, one hundred percent? Every aspect of life has something to do with writing, or how you can apply it to your writing. It's how you frame the things you do in a way that they have some bearing on writing. Obsessive? Okay, maybe a little.
I have written adult books, non-fiction, young adult books, even children's pop-up books. I have worked in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, mainstream thrillers, mysteries, horror, comedy, urban fantasy, even historicals. I have done comic books, articles, short stories, and novels so thick that whole forests tremble when my publisher contacts the printing plant for the first press run.
I have been a waiter in a restaurant, a bartender, a caretaker for white lab rats used in medical research, a farm worker, a technical writer and editor, and a co-owner of a beauty salon. I love to climb mountains or hike long wilderness trails.
I am the co-producer on a major film, as well as a public speaker, a workshop presenter, a published photographer, a graphic designer, a record producer, president of a small company, and with my wife Rebecca Moesta, the publisher of WordFire Press.
And I generally write five or more novels a year. I've learned how to get the most out of every possible minute I have available to write, and I'll share some of the techniques I've learned.