When Writing Feels Like Work


It’s been a little while since my last blog post. Okay, I’ve shamefully neglected my blog recently. Before you start blog-shaming me, let me tell you that I have the best reason in the world. I’ve been busy putting the finishing touches to my second manuscript, The Sign of the Scorpion. Those of you who have published a book before, know how demanding this can be. As you work towards a launch date, the pace picks up a bit just like when you’re reading a book and the end draws near. There are so many last-minute, nitty-gritty things to work out that sometimes you feel like throwing in the towel. Just kidding. I’ve gone into this with my eyes wide open. I knew there was going to be a steep learning curve and oh, has it been steep! I’m willing to put up with the difficulties involved as long as I get a beautiful book at the end of all.

I’ve also been working on my third book, The Hour of the Oryx. When you’re writing a series, you can’t sit back and relax. You’ve got to keep the momentum going. Of course, you should take breaks in between (see my blog post A Break in Between Books) so you don’t push yourself to the limit and cause more harm than good. The Hour of the Oryx is coming along nicely but it will need some more editing before I get it where I want it to be. I’ve finished the first draft and am making my third pass over it. After another two more passes, I’ll be ready to send it to a professional editor for fine-tuning. During that time, I’m hoping to start the draft for the fourth book in the series, God willing.

I’ve also written a guest blog which I hope to share at some point down the road. In the midst of all this, I’ve been busy as a bee working on my social media presence. As an author, forging crucial connections and making ourselves visible are important strategies for marketing. If we don’t build an audience and engage our fans, we might as well lock our book in a drawer and throw away the key. The only way for the world to know of our work is to share it with them. This is especially true for self-published authors. A word of warning here. In our enthusiasm, we have to be careful not to overdo it. Our friends will soon get tired of us shoving our book(s) in their faces at every turn. We’ve got to strike a balance, and this works pretty much by instinct.

Fortunately, being on social media poses no hardship. It’s fun stuff. The danger is getting sucked into spending more time there than we can afford. Yes, we’ve got to post, comment and like a lot but that’s the price we’ve got to pay for commandeering the eyes and ears of our friends. Another word of warning. When our posts get many likes and comments, it can go to our head and we end up getting addicted to that fuzzy feeling of pleasure. It keeps us going back for more and more. This is what we have to be wary of.

Authors and writers have to put things into perspective. Many of our friends who seem to live on social media, don’t have manuscripts, blogs and articles waiting in the wings. As authors and writers, we do. That’s why we’ve got to stick with a time limit and beware of the siren-call of social media. So far, I’m only on Facebook and Instagram but I’m thinking of venturing into Twitter next. Maybe after my second book comes out, God willing. I’’ll see how that works out.

Writing has always been an enjoyable pastime for me, especially fiction. Keeping up with a blog poses more of a challenge because it’s mostly writing about mundane matters. It’s very different from writing a book where you become engrossed with your plot, characters and dialogue. When you feel compelled to crank out a certain quota within X amount of time, it begins to feel like work. I want to enjoy writing my blog. I don’t want it to feel like work. The very idea is antithesis to me. The trick is to find enjoyable things to write about. Here’s hoping my next blog will show up pretty soon!

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Zeenatul Zaman