by Anna Bell
I was reading the lovely Novelicious interview with Anouska Knight last week. In it, Anouska mentioned how hardcore writers often work through the night. It made me think – what makes an author hardcore?
I’ve never been a night owl when it comes to work. When I was at university I could pull an all-nighter if it involved alcohol and dancing yet not when it came to writing an essay. I was always that person that had to go to bed before midnight and get up at stupid o’clock in the morning to write it instead. Even now I’d much rather work on a novel at 5am than midnight. My mind is much fresher and I don’t get resentful and experience bed envy because everyone else in the house is soundly sleeping when I’m trying to work. So I need to be hardcore author in other ways.
Some of my friends have the misconception that it’s lovely to be an author as your work fits around your life, but I often think my life fits around my work. Take for instance my maternity leave. I had a baby three weeks ago. I stopped working on my new novel two days before I went into labour, and I was sent edits for my previous novel last Friday. This all meant I had a three week break from work. I spent the weekend with a baby attached to me feeding supported with one hand and tapping on the keyboard with the other. I don’t know many of my friends that do more than their ten keep-in-touch days for their maternity leave so I’m guessing that makes me hardcore?
Since having my first child, I’ve learnt to power write. My first born was a terrible sleeper and his cat naps have turned me into a word racer. Who needs anyone else on social media to race against when you’ve got the unknown alarm in the guise of a child who might wake at any moment? To effectively utilise my time, I’ve learnt to daydream and plot books when building Duplo towers and playing cars, in the hope that as soon as my fingers hit the keys I’ll know what to say. I’m as productive in 90 minutes now as I used to be in a whole day.
Most authors I know are juggling multiple projects too. It’s not a case of ‘waiting for the words to come’ like many people who aren’t writers assume. With deadlines and edits that go back and forth from publishers like a ping pong ball, it’s inevitable that authors are working on two books at the same time at some points. Then there are all those background ideas that are festering.
Modern writers are also pretty hardcore as they aren’t just writing lots of books, they have to do all the added extras. Maintaining their author platforms with social media, writing guest posts for blogs, doing promotion and marketing. It’s not just about writing a great book anymore, it’s about getting that book out to the public in every form you can.
So whilst I don’t write through the night, I can see that I am pretty hardcore – in the same way that I think you have to be if you want to make it in the writing business. What hardcore things do you do?