11.11.13

1500 today, dragging each word kicking and screaming from the mental rock as if they were diamonds. The story is starting to take on a life of its own, which can be frightening and liberating. Not sure which, yet.

This morning, I read an essay by Dani Shapiro called Habit. I felt a number of mental tumblers click into place for me. At its most basic, here's the takeaway: writing is your job and you need to treat it as such. You show up even when you don't feel like it because it pays the mortgage.

But her essay was more than that for me. 

I'm often asked how I write, how I can do it day after day, how this whole creativity thing works. Well, it has definite similarities to any job: you get up, you check your to do list, you do your work, take a lunch, work some more. Except writers do this in their pajamas, get paid for staring into space for hours on end, and can never turn the office off, since it resides in our brain.

Still, it's good for writers to think of their art in terms of an actual job. If you go to an office, you wouldn't take time off during the day to vacuum, do laundry, make extended phone calls to besties, text, read, watch TV, etc. So why are you doing that to your writer day?

I'm as guilty of this as anyone, trust me. Add in Facebook, and Twitter (today I couldn't seem to get off of it, which, to be honest, was rather a fun change of pace) and all the other distractions (minion necklace, anyone?) and I see how sometimes, some days, I don't treat my job with the care and respect it deserves.

I'm going to start looking at modified bankers hours for writing, and work from that perspective for a while. I've been approaching my day for a very long time as -- so long as I get X (1000) words done a day, I'm fine. I'm wondering if perhaps I should try a more disciplined path -- work from x - x o'clock and see what happens. I started this earlier in the month, planning to knock off at 3:30 in order to handle other things. It's going well, but I'm ready to take it a step further. We'll see how that goes. 

Happy Veteran's Day to all those amazing men and women who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe and free!

Sweet dreams! 

JT Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.