When I wrote my first novel I thought it was a bit of a hobby - to tap away at my novels in my free time - but having just signed a deal for more novels, I realise it will become more of a time-consuming occupation. Added to which, I am completely addicted to writing now!
With the prospect of a few more books on the horizon I have finally decided that I need to look upon writing as my profession. I am not expecting to give up the day job of course, but just - heck, I need a more comfortable chair to sit in whilst I write.
So, here are a ten things I have decided to do to make me feel like a professional writer.
1. It is OK, no - more than that, a necessity to buy books. If I'm expecting the publishing industry to support me, then I should support it. No more feeling guilty over my bulging bookcase. No more hiding the Amazon receipts from my husband. Besides, books for a writer are food. We can't be productive without them.
2. Allow time to read those books - preferably not at 3am when you are propping your eyelids open with matchsticks. My TBR pile is threatening to topple over and bury me.
3. Posh pens and nice pencils, and nifty red highlighters for editing are essential, as are box files to keep the drafts that you might need to refer to again. Stationery is one of a writer's little joys.It is amazing how cheerful I get at the sight of a nice sharp pencil.
4. A good shredder. Need I say more?
6. Visits to museums and galleries and historic houses should be part of a regular schedule and not crammed in only when desperately needed for a bit of research. Otherwise where will a sense of history or new inspiration come from?
7. Limit networking. Blogging, tweeting, facebooking are promotional tools, but I spend far too much time looking at everyone else's posts in awe, and it wastes time, so I've decided to do a little less but try to make what I do more useful. Is this useful, I worry?
8. Write a little more every day. This is probably a lot harder than going out to the store for furniture, but I reckon I must give it a go as this is probably the only real key to being a pro. And I need to get a lot more organised with labelling, backing up and storing files. I lose count of the number of times I've wasted twenty minutes looking for a missing chunk of text.
10. Watching TV in the day is not being a slob, it is research. (As long as it is something like Michael Wood's The Story of Britain or The Tudors and not The Simpsons.)And it is also OK to sit and do nothing with a dreamy look on my face because I am actually thinking. Thinking really means I am in another century in my head, please do not disturb!