Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. No, you read that correctly. For much of my writing life those have been words I have lived by.
Lots of my days begin with good intentions. Today I’ll vacuum, dust, fertilize the plants, spend thirty minutes on the elliptical, do laundry, and then spend several hours writing. That doesn’t work for me. If writing takes last place in my day, it’s not ‘gonna’ happen. Putting off the domestic tasks until I’ve finished writing for the day works best for me. The dust will still be there; it’s not going anywhere.
A good writing day for me is to have breakfast, straighten the kitchen, check e-mail and Facebook, and then start writing. If the writing flows, the next time I look at the clock, three to four hours have passed. If it’s not a good writing day, the least little interruption, such as a red-tailed hawk flying through the pines on the back property, can stop my writing in its tracks. When this happens, I find something else to do that is connected with writing.
That something else can be research to make my writing more authentic. For Shiloh and the Cave, I spent a lot of time talking with Colorado State University students about the layout of the campus, what the main floors and dorm rooms look like, and who monitors non-residents who enter the buildings.
For Finding Alan, I sought out interesting locations in Seattle. An author friend, J.D. Hylton, told me about the historical Smith Tower. I called the docent there and learned several interesting facts about the building that I could use, sparingly of course, to add believability to the story, such as the glass blocks in the sidewalk in front of the building. Below these glass blocks are an underground city. I loved learning this and touched on it in the story. And, I used the building to house the office of the attorney in the story.
Or, if I don’t need to do more research, I work on marketing or just plain connecting with readers or friends. Friends are a writer’s most important asset. If people like and respect you and your heart, they are more likely to buy your books and pass the word along to their friends.
So won't you join me and put of until tomorrow that which you shouldn't do today?
Jonna Turner is an award-winning author of five mystery-suspense novels, short stories, motivational radio scripts for Art Linkletter’s The ART of Positive Thinking, and feature articles for newspapers and magazines. A former Memphian, she lives on the northern edge of the Palmer Divide in Colorado with her husband, a retired FedEx pilot.