One thing new writers hear a lot is about how they need to be "professional," but no one's ever really sure what that means. To some it involves not drinking at conventions--I'll believe this when my editors stop shoving drinks in my hands at cons. To others it means keeping your distance and not sharing personal stuff--uh...yeah, I'm pretty much all personal stuff. The thing is everyone has their own definition of what it means to be a professional in this crazy world of publishing, and sometimes you won't even know what yours is until you don't have a choice.
There are some...challenges in my life right now (See? Personal stuff!), and it's affecting all facets of my world including writing. It doesn't seem to matter how gung ho I am about working. When I open that file (and there will be several files this month), I freeze. My heart gets lodged somewhere on the north end of my gullet and my chest hurts and... (Yay, Panic Attacks!) Let's just say what would normally take me one work day is now taking at least 2-3.
But you know what?
I'm an author. This is my job. And damn it to hell and back, I am going to act like a fucking professional and do it.
What that means, for me:
- I will drag my ass out of bed, no matter how much I'd rather lie there for hours.
- I will continue to cover my posts at my group blogs. I'd already minimized how many places I was blogging in preparation for writing insanity, so that's only a few posts a month.
- I will keep my own blogs updated, even if it's just with videos or cute cat pictures. There will be posts on time.
- I will organize my time to get my projects done. (I have four books to work on this month. FOUR! I don't have time to slack off and fuck around.)
- I will stay in contact with my editors so they are aware of what's going on with the manuscripts they're waiting on.
- I will continue to fucking work even though it's hard and I don't want to...every day.
On the flip side, I'm going to step away from social media when I need to (and focus on work instead). I'm not going to take on any new projects because I'm already buried.
For me, being a professional is doing what needs to be done, no matter what. And right now, I really need to be editing because that's the J.O.B.
There you have it. Want to be a professional author? Don't treat it like a hobby. It's what you have to do, not just what you want to do.