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03/12/2008: "#114: Opening Up Shop"

Music: The Bar-Kays
Mood: optimistic

As a result of both my experiences at Potlatch 17 and a near-death experience, I have reassessed my approach to my writing. Specifically, I realized that I need to treat writing once again as an actual job in the sense that I devote at least 20 hours a week. My goal is to write for at least an hour every day, but that is only exercise. The only way that I can truly make writing into a thriving career for myself is to put in serious hours at it.

I have done this before. Last year at this time, I was getting up early every morning (considering I don't get home from work until 1-3 AM) and writing most of the morning and afternoon until it was time to go to work. This discipline produced a book. Since I finished the book last June, I have not written with that level of commitment and intensity. I did manage to get the book edited (which is currently being read- but not edited- by my friend who is a professional editor), but it was more of a haphazard schedule.

I see not only the need to get into a disciplined writing schedule, but to also have things to work on. One of the things that I saw at Potlatch (and I knew already) is that to break into the biz, it helps if you get some work published first in the SF magazines. I have a couple of interesting short story ideas, including one I want to work on when I finish this. I have also become a founding member of a writer's group made of folks from the Seattle area who met at Potlatch. I want to bring a rough draft of this story to the writer's group and read what other prople have sent me so far. I am also working on getting the book published. I see that in addition to researching agents, I need to actually get the manuscript professionally edited. I have been reluctant to pay for it, but it sounds like a worthwhile investment.

So I have a plan here, but it's going to take time to do everything. Like anything worth doing, I need to budget my time and commit to finishing it. I want to be a writer and this is what I have to do in order to become one, or in the words of an inspirational quote I came across last weekend: "Mean it and you will make it."

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