Monday 19 April 2021

Hurdles VI - A Personal Insight into Writing by Joanne Johnson


  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could concentrate on writing full time?  Retirement from a nine to five job seemed to offer that opportunity. But things inevitably get in the way.

    First of all, of course, is day-to-day living. There are meals to prepare, bathrooms to clean and furniture to dust. (I used to have ornaments, but that was way too much dusting.) We all have hobbies. Mine is singing with a group. That involves practicing music, attending (Zoom) rehearsals and supporting my ‘riser buddies’. No group runs itself and being the type of person I am, there are board meetings, newsletters to write, member concerns to look after and in my case, minutes to compile and distribute. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it.

    After all that, I sit down to write. Ideas come to me and the stories get written. My method is to write in a straight line. Wherever my characters take me, I follow. That works for me. And I have published some books and short stories. Job done, right?

    Wrong! The book is written, but it needs editing. A boring but necessary job before it can go to a professional editor or to be released. The editing usually takes longer than the initial draft, because every comma, every unnecessary adjective, every question left hanging must be scrutinized. Does the character grow? What does the kitchen look like? How many times can the word awesome be used?  Time does not fly.

    The book is on Amazon. Hurray, I can relax and start the next story. Wrong again! Who will buy the book? How will they find it? After I give copies to all my family, who will know I wrote it?  Marketing hell looms. In these Covid times, there can’t be a physical launch or a reading at the local library. There are lots of ways to publicize, but aside from Amazon and Facebook, they all cost money. Money I don’t have because I haven’t sold any books yet. 

    A website…that’s what I need. Websites are easy these days. Sign up, pick a template and put in some content. Do you know what that takes? Time. Time that is not spent writing. 

    I have read that writers write because they have to. I do write and maybe the reasons that I give are not impediments but excuses. So tomorrow, I will spend time actually writing. Oh, wait! Tomorrow I have to go shopping, and work in the yard, and…and…!

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