Monday, March 25, 2013

What is "writing"?

This is a question for all us struggling writers who jam it in among our other life commitments, and waste far too much time in guilt over time spent NOT writing.  I'm here to say, anything you have to do for your book is writing.  I mean, I know hunting up a cover artist isn't writing.  But it's part of the job, and if you have only so much time, you need to take time from holding a pen and go do it.

So here's a list of things I have realized need to count, so I stop beating myself up over not doing any "writing" while dealing with them:
--the whole cover thing.  Finding artists, drawing my own, whatever it takes.  It's not a book without a cover, and the job must be done.
--revisions.  We've already discussed this.  Revising IS writing, and if you don't believe me, go back to your freshman comp class and try again.
--formatting.  Like the cover, it has to be done, and done right.  So you have to allow yourself the time.
--blogging.  Duh.  It's not your novel, but it's writing.
--marketing.  See covers and formatting.  It's nice if you can do this without impinging on writing time.  But if it needs doing. . . DO it.
--making coffee.  None of the above happens without coffee.

What doesn't count:
--cruising around
--checking sales
--reading the news
--looking at cute kitten videos
--doing laundry
--grocery shopping
--housework of any sort
--anything (aside from making coffee) that isn't involved with either stringing words together or getting them into a condition to be shared with the world.

Dang.  I'm gonna miss those kittens.


  1. This was funny. I try to call organizing my day, listing my tasks or thinking about dinner writing, but I know, I KNOW.... it's not. Writing is writing. Speaking of which, back to it.

  2. And I can't believe I just gave away my writing time for tomorrow. But meeting with friends is important. And they are my editors, so maybe I can guilt them into some action. . . (Hi Lisa!).

  3. Great post, pleased you are doing the A to Z Challenge, I am Yvonne one of Arlee Bird's Ambassador's to help out. hope your preparations are going to plan and look forward to reading your posts.


  4. Hi Yvonne. I'm pretty late starting the plan, and the reading, so we'll see how it goes!

    Julie, I forgot to mention that making lists of tasks IS writing if they are writing tasks you're listing (if you follow me).

  5. You raised some great points! Unfortunately, life does get in the way in terms of grocery shopping and laundry, but I do hope to be disciplined and write a bit every day!
    Just stopping by to say hi! I signed up for the A to Z blog challenge for the first time!

    1. Hi! This is my first shot at the Challenge, too. I've only been blogging just over a year, since my book came out. I do struggle, all the time, with the other demands, most of which feel more "real" than writing.

  6. I love your posts - they are indeed writing, because you get a chance to develop your style and try out new ones!

    I'd take issue with the Goodreads, though... ok, there's cruising and cruising, but it's also part of networking... as we both know to our benefit as writers!

    I'm such a nerd that I still keep a timesheet (it helps make me take time off!) My 'Writing' time is divided into authoring (includes major editing), publishing (which includes formatting, proof reading & my illustrations), marketing & promotion (including blogging), and management (e.g. checking sales, getting that tax number...). Authoring is not the biggest chunk. But blog posts dont get into that unless they are short stories. Just another way of doing things :)

    Jemima at Jemima's blog

    1. Timesheet, huh? Well, sometimes I am not too far from that--I have designated times and amounts for different tasks.

      I see your point about Goodreads, too. But while some of what I do there is networking, and I do think it's important to keep it up, much of what I do there is pure entertainment. I can't afford to let myself count that as writing time in any case, or it might be all I did! (Well, Goodreads and the forums at, my other on-line hangout).


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