Five Things I Learned as a "Professional" Writer

I was recently fortunate enough to have three days where the kids were in daycare, and I was home from work. DH and I decided that we didn’t want the girls to completely get out of their routine over the holiday season, and he was fine with me spending these days getting some house stuff done and writing.

So, for three days, I got to spend most of my time writing. Here’s what I learned:

1. Errands Take Longer Than You Think – Among the things I needed to do during these three days were a variety of errands. I was home, so I agreed to do them all. Having no idea how long it can take to go to the bank, buy cat food, and get dinner fixings, I set out to get them done in less than an hour so I could start writing. Only to find the bank doesn’t open until nine. The pet store at ten. I learned really fast getting everything out of the way right after dropping the girls off was about as likely as finding a unicorn in my driveway holding a million dollars.

2. It’s Lonely – I am an introvert by nature, but being home alone all day really tests that. I found myself keeping iTunes on at all times, and eventually reaching out to others through Twitter. Sad, I know. But there it is.


3. Distractions Abound – The internet is normally not much of a distraction for me, but then, I only have an hour a day to write. Easy enough to turn off distractions for that amount of time. A whole day? Suddenly, a whole lot harder.

4. Timers Need Not Apply – My first two days, I foolishly listened to advice that recommended setting timers for productivity and break time (50 minutes or so of writing followed by 10 minutes of doing stuff). This was hugely detrimental to me as I could sometimes write well over 50 minutes, and 10 minutes was sometimes too long and other times not long enough of a break period.

5. The Joy of “The Zone” – When you have carved out an hour a day to write, you guard that hour jealously and write during it no matter what. But when you have a whole day?  There is this magical zone, and once in it, you can do amazing things. No children to pull you out of it, no spouse talking about important things. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish. Or how much you can cut.


How about you?  You ever have a day or three just to write?  How did it work for you?



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6 thoughts on “Five Things I Learned as a "Professional" Writer

  1. This is great. I try to do this on the weekends. I know I never get a full day so I try to break it up with other stuff and I don’t aim for 100% productivity because that’s impossible. So when I aim for it I just feel depressed and push harder which makes it worse.

    I do love those days where I feel like I’ve got a groove and I’m not just pulling teeth for hours on end.

    I think this might be why half days are sort of the best for me to really dedicate to focus on the writing outside of weekends.

  2. I write whenever I can, but currently my weekends are when I have the most time to do so. This takes effort to get things taken care of beforehand, but it’s worth it. I’ll devote 8 to 10 hours or more to writing each day if I can.

    Listening to music helps me stay in the mood and focused. I’ll match what l’m listening to with what I’m writing.

    Having a routine and schedule is really helpful. Writing can be like any other job, you need to stick with it and keep going every day.

  3. We always need to find what works for ourselves. I can’t write at home, nor in a hotel room. I like someplace with space where I can zone out.

    I love the zone but it’s treacherous because it’s seductive and addictive. Still, I never wanna give it up.


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