So, you wanna be a writer.
Maybe you want to be a full time writer. Maybe it's just a hobby for you. Or maybe you just want to write your memoirs and preserve your family history for generations to come. No matter the type of writer you want to be -- full time, part time, fiction, nonfiction -- there is one thing you must do before all else.
You need to write.
Obvious, huh? But, not everyone realizes the obvious. In this day and age, everyone talks about building platforms, social media, queries and such. None of that matters if you don't have a finished product.
As for me, I've been pretty lucky. I've published a few fantasy books, been included in several anthologies, and my latest novel, Copper Girl, book one of the Copper Legacy series, was released two months ago. But there are quite a few other things I want to accomplish. Here's a list, in no particular order of importance:
Finish the rest of the Copper Legacy series
Re-release my fantasy series
Complete my historical fantasy and shop for agents
Okay, the above list encompasses twelve (!!!) books! Holy crap!
Now, it's not such a daunting task; four are complete, and five are in varying stages of completion. Still, that means I have to find the time to complete those five books, start (and finish) three more, shop for agents and publishers, and somehow promote my existing work. Add that to my day job, caring for my husband and children, and those pesky little tasks like eating and sleeping, and my little list takes on an aspect not unlike Mount Everest.
What's a writer to do?
Me, I made a schedule. I fired up Excel and laid everything out, from soup to nuts. I started with three columns -- one for each major project -- and listed completion timeframes for each. For instance, in 2013 I will have the first draft of book three of the Copper Legacy series, Copper Veins, completed by July, and the first draft for book four, Copper Princess, completed by December. With regard to my fantasy series, I have a rewrite due in December. The outline for my historical fantasy is due by June, and its first draft by December.
Okay, so that's three first drafts, one outline, and one rewrite between now and December. And you know what? I can do that. Now, are those the only things I need to complete to remain on track? Not by a long shot. Will I make all of my due dates? Hopefully, but I did schedule things a bit more tightly than necessary to account for little things like life getting in the way. For instance, I scheduled the first draft of Copper Princess for December 2013, but it won't be released until May 2016.
Still, unless I write the books (any by write I mean write, edit, revise, re-edit, re-revise, etc), I can't acquire an agent, or submit my work to publishers. Make no mistake, while all this is going on I'll still be promoting, building my platform, and generally being a nuisance across all aspects of social media. But you know what? The writing comes first.
Jennifer Allis Provost spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior. Her novel, The Chronicles of Parthalan, is available now, and Copper Girl was released in June from Spence City. You can learn more about Jennifer at her website.