I Had Promised Myself That I Would Do No Writing

December 6, 2014

I had promised myself that I would do no writing. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Coming from a writer. Some writers have to force themselves to sit down and write. Others have to force themselves not to.

For thirty days following my book’s release, I had intended to do no writing. For months now I have done nearly no writing. Only blog posts and interviews; tweets and requests for reviews. I wanted to complete my media kit and compose press releases; I wanted to post my already-written stories on a multitude of sharing sites, and register my book with the hundreds that offer free promos to authors. I wanted to be able to look back on my launch and know that whatever came of it, I had done what I could to ensure its success.

I didn’t quite make it. I broke down last Saturday – in a very big way. I didn’t even edit, or return to completing one of my several works in progress; I began a new novel. The first day I wrote three thousand words, the day after that, four thousand more. Yesterday I did nothing else and added seven thousand words to the project; in seven days I’ve written twenty-seven thousand words in a book that a week ago I hadn’t even conceived. Today I wrote most of a four-thousand word short story, plus a thousand-word blog post, plus this little one here – I simply don’t want to stop. I don’t want to stop.

I had forgotten how easy it was, how smoothly the words could flow and fly off my fingers, how frustrating it could be to be hampered not by my mind but by the slow speed of my typing and the ability of my back to tolerate being hunched for long hours over a computer. I had forgotten how good it feels to do it, to relax and fall into it, what it means to be working at writing instead of working at promoting my writing.

I forced myself to forget. I didn’t want to remember. I needed to be promoting; I didn’t need to be writing. But now I wonder if maybe I did.

27 thoughts on “I Had Promised Myself That I Would Do No Writing

  1. elainemansfield

    I struggle with this, too. My blog keeps me writing every week and I also take a writing class to keep writing no matter how many things I could do to promote. Now, six months after the release of Leaning into Love, I focus on writing mixed with on-going promotion. The balance feels better than it has for a year. Lots of my promotional work now is writing and submitting articles to various places–some impossible places such as The Sun (because there must be hope) and some less impossible places or even places where I’m invited to submit. Writing is good.

    I just ordered ‘On Hearing of My Mother’s Death Six Years after It Happened’ (so glad it’s in paperback since I prefer a book in hand to Kindle). Looking forward to it.

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    Reply
    1. lorilschafer Post author

      Lately I’ve been trying to take the same approach – setting aside a certain number of hours a day for writing, and letting the balance go to promotion. It’s tough, though – I have so many ideas for promotion, but I just don’t have the time to implement them all. It’s very frustrating, especially when I sometimes feel as though I could potentially be successful if only I were two people – full-time promoter and full-time writer. But I guess you have to take what you can get.

      Thanks for buying my paperback. I’ve sold way more eBooks than hard copies but I think I appreciate the paperback sales more since I spent so much time formatting it :)

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  2. Pingback: Sharing work, Monday, December 15, 2014 | The Write Edge Writing Workshop

  3. D.G.Kaye

    Wow Lori, you’re on a tear! My life is so chaotic right now that I am barely squeezing in time for blogs, social media and jotting down notes here and there for things I want to write in my next book which is half finished. I also have to allot time for completing my media kit and it’s so constricting to limit myself to only doing partial things and abandoning the best part, writing. It’s hard when we have to do all these things by ourselves. It’s definitely discipline involved to allocate time for all these things and put the writing on hold.

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    1. lorilschafer Post author

      That’s exactly where I’ve been the last several months – the amount of “administration” is incredible, isn’t it? The irony is, since dislocating my shoulder last week, I’ve voluntarily gone back to doing some of that stuff because typing is so hard with only one hand. But it is fortunate that I got all those words down when I did because editing isn’t so bad :)

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  4. Charli Mills

    What a thirsty writer you are! :-) Get those fingers flying and dive into that story! And, Lori, I can say you have done an admirable job of deliberate promotion of your memoir and other works. A writer must write! :-)

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  5. elainemansfield

    Gives me hope. Thanks for that last paragraph. My first book was published in late September and it’s been non-stop promotion, talks, readings, you know. Looks like I’ll get snowed in this week in upstate NY. Maybe that will change the focus so something new can arise.

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  6. Anjali

    Wow! That sure is some writing! I don’t think I could ever get those many words out and I am worse at promoting – that is whenever I might need to do it – lol! That’s why self-publishing scares the hell out of me. I am seriously in awe of you Lori – well done! :))

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. lorilschafer Post author

      Totally different for you, being primarily a poet – your job is to make as few words as possible, not as many! But self-promotion is, unfortunately, one of the necessary evils of self-publishing. :(

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  7. mandy

    That’s wonderful, Lori. I’ve heard from some authors that when they finish a book they shut down and can’t write. I think this is a very good sign that the words are flowing so easily–it only makes sense: A writer HAS to write! :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. lorilschafer Post author

      That’s definitely not my way – the backlog of projects just keeps growing in my head! I thought maybe after such a long hiatus, it might be difficult to get back into it, but I’m glad I was wrong. :)

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