Author Friday – Lissa Matthews

Today starts the new blog series I told y’all about a while ago. Authors talking about how they do what they do. We’re calling it Author Friday and for the first few Fridays, you’ll be stuck with me while Brandy and I fill up the calendar with more authors.

As for how I do what I do?

My answer? Structure. That’s what I’ve learned about myself. I started this year off trying new techniques of organization between writing, the business work of writing, and family life. These different techniques have each gone through revision after revision after revision. I start off thinking one way and then everything goes to Hell in a handbasket when life interrupts and I get off course and off track and end up froding. (froding = off the beaten path or when the Garmin can’t find the road you know you’re on).

My current plan is writing Monday thru Friday and handling business on Saturday and  Sunday. Business meaning revisions, edits, blog posts, website updates, contacting winners from contests, catching up on emails that require something more than just a yes or no response. I also use this time to try and connect with Brandy to plan out the work I need from her throughout the next week and how things went the week before.

This way of doing things seems to be working better for me than anything else I’ve tried. It’s easy for me to get caught up in all that needs to be done and not getting to any of it because I don’t know where to start. I’m a big believer in routine. I need it. I crave it. I need to know what is expected of me and when. I need to know what’s going on and when so I can plan around it. But, just because I need and crave it, doesn’t mean I get it. Life isn’t structured like that on a normal basis, no matter how hard I try. I am finding though that I need to try harder.

If I get done with writing by four, I can exercise and get dinner going, depending on the menu item for the night otherwise, dinner is usually started in the slow cooker. Yeah, I’ve been doing that lately, too. Menus. It helps, not only with grocery shopping but with that whole structure thing. Cookbooks, magazines, food blogs. All for different dinner ideas and they help me keep on course with this whole not eating out challenge we do in our house from time to time.

Family life takes place after dinner. Or during dinner. We’ll talk, watch a show or a movie. My son is about to start baseball for the spring and my husband will be playing softball so life will need to once again be adjusted for those things, but…they also mean I need to be done with work beforehand because I’ve found that after about 8pm at night, I’m done for and don’t want to work anymore. I get up at 6am and am going from the time I get out of bed to the time I go back to bed. I’m exhausted. We all have our different thresholds for how much we can take and I’m trying to make sure I don’t stress mine too much. I’m not getting any younger and I know I need to take better care of myself if I hope to keep going for years to come.

As for writing, many of you have heard me say it time and again, but for me it’s writing sprints or timed writing, however you want to put it. I set the timer for 20 minutes and I write, usually between 2500 and 3000 words a day. If I don’t use a timer, I flounder and I flit and I don’t get half of what I need written done. I can and have written more, like 6000-8000 a day, but those are times where afterward, I’m brain dead. I read about authors who write 10000 words a day everyday, but then end up cutting almost half of what they’ve written. I don’t understand that. I rarely ever cut more than a few hundred words and am usually adding more to what’s been written. But, that works for them. And see, that’s the whole idea behind the Author Friday series. We all work differently. We all work at a different pace. We all write books of varying length and content. What works for one isn’t going to work for someone else, but we might be able to learn something and it’s always fun to see how others do what we do or how they do what we love.

I hope you as readers enjoy the series and I hope authors will enjoy it as well. If you have an author you’d like to learn about regarding their process, leave a comment and I’ll contact them to see if they’d like to participate. It can’t hurt to ask…

For now, have a great weekend.


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