JaLind Rossetti

This Writer’s Life

This Writer's Life--Part 1: Time Management

It’s starting to feel a little more natural to stand up and introduce myself as “Lisa Harris, romance novelist writing under the pseudonym JaLind Rossetti.”

After all, I did complete my book last year–a 100,000+-word first draft. I have lots of author friends now, and am attending regular meetings of writers’ groups. I’ve signed up (and am loving) a nine-month program sponsored by the Romance Writers of America, diligently working through draft #2 of my novel.

But do I feel like a real writer? Have I completely embraced that label? Not quite. And why should I expect to? I’ve heard that almost all writers (even successful, best-selling authors) suffer from some degree of impostor syndrome. We all feel like frauds.

There, I’ve said it.

But I really want to walk the walk and talk the talk. So here’s a small peek at my current writer’s life, Part 1.

As an official septuagenarian this year, I’m not getting any younger. If I plan to have a romance novel out there for my adoring fans (we’ll find each other someday), I have to write. Often.

So I have my “writing space,” an office I share with my husband and two black cats. I work on a laptop, which gives me the flexibility to leave that space and move to a quieter spot if needed. I try to keep my desk clear of clutter (I really do try). I keep my vision board where I can see it (ok, it still says “2023;” I’ll update it before the year is over). My desk has small pieces of art in my favorite colors: purple, pink, orange, blue, along with a collection of heart-shaped rocks and shells. I can plug into soothing alpha wave music when I need it. My Fitbit reminds me to walk at least 250 steps per hour. 

Writing Schedule–My Quest for Consistency

Months ago, I asked a successful cozy mystery writer for the one piece of advice she would give to us newbies. Her response: schedule the same block of time to write each day, and don’t deviate.

I can do that, I thought.

Sure I can (wink wink). I intend to write something six days a week–either part of the actual novel re-write, a blog, an assignment. Something. Just writing. I block off the hours on my planning calendar. My phone reminds me to write at various hours Monday through Friday (I know better than to “schedule” writing on the weekends; it happens when it happens).

And on most days, I do write. But not at the intended hours, and certainly not what I set out to accomplish. For the time being, I have to live with that. I’m not a full-time author, my livelihood doesn’t depend on selling novels.

However, I have experienced success in my writing process. And those accomplishments (small though they may be) have come in one of three ways:

#1) Sitting down with nothing else on my schedule and setting a word-count goal. I’m going to write 500 words today. Maybe 600. This is feasible and rewarding. But sometimes the cats, the laundry, the doorbell get in the way. On to…

#2) Leaving home and driving to my favorite co-working space (Hera Hub Temecula), where I have no distractions. I can type to my heart’s content for three full hours. It is heaven! But other times I need accountability, which leads to…

#3) Writing sprints, where I write in person or online with others, declaring a writing goal and doing my best not to embarrass myself when the allotted time is over.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve managed to patch together enough writing time to work through:

  • my main characters’ emotional wounds (what drives their beliefs and reactions to everything that happens to them)
  • my main characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts (GMCs, as it turns out, are very important in every story)
  • my Opening Scene (which I keep tweaking, even though we’re advised not to)
  • the all-important Meet Cute (where my lovers meet for the first time)
  • my heroine’s worst nightmare scene (the “All Is Lost”)
  • the beginning stab at the overall book structure (aka, plot points or “beats”)

Guess I’m not doing so bad!

How do you carve out time to accomplish your dreams? Reach out to me here:

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