Posts Tagged ‘freelance writing’


4 a.m. is my prime time

A few years ago when I had to crank out a lot more words to make a living than I do now, I would sometimes get up at 2:30 a.m. to get them done by 10 or 11. That was no fun if I didn’t manage to go to sleep before 11 p.m. or so. Why did I do that? Deadlines and procrastination, or at least I thought.

I do procrastinate a number of things, believe me. But I think the odd hours were less from procrastination than from them being something my body prefers. Years and years ago I worked the midnight shift as an auditor at a hotel. I did that for the better part of 7 years, so I was used to working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. at minimum. Double shifts were occasional, and for about a year I worked all of the shifts as an assistant shift manager. I preferred the midnight shift.

I guess I still do, because if I get up between 2:30 and 5 a.m., I can get a lot more accomplished than I can during the same amount of hours spent working in the afternoon. Late evening/night is also fairly productive for me. But from about 11 a.m. until dinnertime, I can write fiction, but if I try to look at a spreadsheet or non-fiction topics I need to cover, I discover that I need to clip my toenails or dust the baseboards. I can write fiction all afternoon, but that feels like play most of the time. (Editing, for the record, is probably an early morning job. First drafts are different.)

I woke at 4 this morning because of storms, and felt that “get it done” feeling I rarely feel later in the day. I guess it’s time to stop fighting my natural rhythms. I’m fortunate that I work from home and am able to do that.

Now I just need to find that magical time of day that makes scrubbing the tub and washing dishes easier. I’m think it’s in some alternate Hogwarts-like universe that doesn’t register on my plain old 24-hour clock. I do not think this time period exists in my realm of being.

A recommendation that has nothing to do with writing: This is something I rarely do, but I’m excited. I became a fan of Mike Eldred many years ago. He has an amazing tenor voice, and has had a wonderful career. He’s a huge talent whom I could listen to all the time. Apparently, he’ll be releasing a new album sometime this year. Go to his video page and play “The Eagle and the Hawk.” You will be blown away by his voice and what he brings to the song. If you like his voice, and you like broadway music, his album ME is fantastic. It’s one of my go-to playlists and has been for years, along with Howard McGillin’s album (McGillin is the longest-running Phantom on Broadway, in case you don’t know). I can’t wait for his new release. Go support the arts and buy one of his older ones!


Welcome to Having Written

This blog is about me being accountable to myself and my goals. Recently, I realized that in the day-to-day making a living that we all have to do I’ve let my bigger goals slip away a bit. This will be my chronicle of struggles, failures and successes.

I make a living as a freelance writer, often writing article after article on the same topic for a variety of small business people and entreprenuers, with some corporate work sprinkled in.

I don’t consider myelf a beginning writer, though in many ways I’m still very much in the back of the line when it comes to fiction. I have a pretty full non-fiction portfolio. My first interview was with a high-powered New York CEO, and I’ve been shortlisted in a writing competition. I wrote a column for a high-end hobbyist magazine for a year–my first real writing gig. But my dream has always been to see my story on a bookstore shelf, and that’s just not going to happen unless I make it happen.

A brief publishing history: Some of my poems (at least some of them very bad) were first published in the early 1990s, my first non-fiction piece was published in 2000 and my first piece of fiction was published in 2003. I’ve appeared online and in print. I’ve made a living writing for almost the last 2 years, and supplemented my meager wages with part-time freelancing for about 8 years before that, though the pay and the projects were spread out quite a bit at first.

I’ve never submitted enough and have often gone great stretches of time without submitting anything at all. Time for that to change.

I have a novel in the first revision phase. It’s been in that phase for a long time now. I’m not ashamed to admit exactly how long–I simply don’t remember. That’s a long time. At least 2 years, maybe a smidge more.

I have several poems and short stories languishing on this computer (and some are scattered between two other machines) that I need to polish up and send out, or file away in the “it was good practice but don’t embarrass yourself by showing it to anyone” folder. And I need to get the novel through the first revision so I can start on revision number two, as I’m not kidding myself that one will be anywhere near enough.

My goals are these:

  1. Submit at least once a week. More is better, but one is the absolute minimum. The submission can be fiction or poetry, and it can be new or something that’s been rejected before. But before Monday morning of each week, a new submission needs to go out. 
  2. Structure the novel revision. I think the first baby step of this is to decide that I won’t fix everything in one revision. Just like I had to virtually beat myself about the head and shoulders to plow through the first draft without stopping and tinkering, I have to commit to plow through revision #1 with the understanding that I will be going back again. It’s all right to miss things the first time around.


Those are my initial goals. Posting and podcasting here about this process will help keep me on track, and I hope will help a beginner or two make similar goals and carry them out.