Friday, December 7, 2018

Style Over Habit

Do you sometimes change your work habits, or is it better to keep things consistent?

As folks retire and frontlists free up for a host of reasons, we authors maximize our value in the supply chain by writing enough books with our names on them to create demand. To accomplish that feat takes volume, which we can't produce on our own, so we need the industry, far more than it needs us.

That's the author's market position in publishing.

How badly does the marketplace need another book from me, and how quickly am I able to produce it is the only value criteria that applies to me. It is my only contribution to the supply chain as an author. Now that I've tied my author's output to the fortunes of Bronzeville Books, I'm fairly certain I'll have to go beyond a daily word count metric to stay on goal. This is a matter of style, as in life, play, and work style. 

Here are a handful of work style principles that help me:

Write to keep the workbench clear. It's easy to get caught between left and right brain functions. Honor the present moment with focus, otherwise, my next writing session may be an editing session and I'll waste time creating usable output. Good writing is, now and forever, good business.

Be practical, always. Consider there are numerous book project milestones that need a final manuscript deliverable that doesn't involve the quality of the prose. Respect all linked processes with clear decision making. Sometimes you're writing for your fans, and sometimes for the folks who need to write the back cover synopsis.

On research, once I've begun chapter 1, without existing context in the work in progress, it isn't research, it's trivia. If I'm researching trivia while I should be writing, my output must not be very interesting. Go back and read until it gets boring, and cut, then keep going.

On business, protect your brand before you protect your wallet, but never sacrifice your wallet to save your brand.

On money, good after bad is acceptable only if the learning experience is worth it.

On life, and work, don't be afraid to open the spigot and let the water run clear. The good lies just beyond the bad, in anything.

What's in your work style? Share in the comments below.


For those interested in the works to which I frequently refer, check out these titles at your local bookseller, your local library, or online where you enjoy purchasing your print and e-books. As always, thanks for your support and encouragement.


1 comment:

Susan C Shea said...

"On research, once I've begun chapter 1, without existing context in the work in progress, it isn't research, it's trivia." Ouch, that hits close to home right now! I've done enough research to write, but am finding I don't know where to stop. Just one more tidbit, just one more poster slogan. No, no, no. I have to remember your advice, Danny. Thanks.