Just a few days ago I learned that my eBook, What If? A Collection of Short Fiction by J. Paul Cooper, has been added to the catalogue at the City Library in Melbourne, Australia. That’s the way my writing career has progressed, one small step at a time.
One of the full-time writers I admire and consider a role model, sets a standard of 2,000 words a day when working on a novel. If he finishes the word count by 11 Am, then he has rest of the day to pursue other activities. If it takes until 11 PM to finish writing the two thousand words, that’s when he stops.
For many part-time writers this may not be practical. If you’ve finished a day at work, had supper and driven your child to soccer practice, getting enough sleep to work and pay the bills, is probably more important than how many words you write. It doesn’t mean you should stop writing, but you have to accept it’s going to be a long process that requires patience.
The greatest challenge for any writer is continuing to work on a project, even when it feels as if you are making very little progress. It’s like taking one step at a time, climbing up a mountainside. Logically, you know that if you keep taking one more step you’ll reach the summit, but it isn’t easy. I like how motivational speaker John Assaraf approaches the issue, “Are you interested, or are you committed? If you’re interested, you’ll do what’s convenient, if you’re committed, you’ll do whatever it takes.”
I’ve had numerous short stories, articles and essays published over twenty years writing part-time. Although I haven’t made much money, what I have gained is credibility. I can submit a screenplay to a producer or a manuscript to an editor, knowing I have a track record that proves I can write.
If you’re discouraged with slow progress, don’t be too hard on yourself. As long as you are writing, even if the amount of time you have to write is very limited, you are a writer! It’s your gift, it’s who you are, and no one can take that away from you.
Copyright © 2017 by J. Paul Cooper